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Israeli Rabbi With Four Children, Expecting Fifth, Stabbed To Death In Suspected Terror Attack
An Israeli flag seen in Jerusalem Center. On Monday, February 24, 2020, in Jerusalem, Israel.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On Wednesday, a 39-year-old rabbi in Israel who was the father of four children was making his way home from a kollel, a house of Jewish study, when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian man in what investigators say may have been a terror attack.

Rabbi Shai Ohayon is survived by his wife Sivan, who is expecting their fifth child, and their four children, Tohar, 13, Hillel, 11, Shiloh, 9, and Malachi, 4.

“The suspect in the stabbing, a Palestinian Arab from a village near Shechem (Nablus) who holds a work permit, was arrested by the police and questioned by the Israel Security Agency,” Israel National News reported.

“The suspect, a 46-year-old Palestinian from a town near Nablus (Shechem) in the West Bank, stabbed the victim and then calmly walked away from the scene towards Segula Junction where he was arrested by police,” the Jerusalem Post reported. “The suspect was found with a knife on him.”

Interrogators “believe it may have been a terror attack, and are looking into the possibility of the suspect receiving help in carrying out the attack,” the Post reported. The suspect, authorities say, had no criminal background.

Israel National News reports that 200 people came for the funeral, but only 40 could take part because of coronavirus restrictions.

“He was an excellent son-in-law, a good father to his children and a good husband to his wife. He was like a son to me,” Ohayon’s father-in-law Ofer Karaz said, as reported by The Times of Israel. “People loved him very much. Everyone would come to hear his Torah lessons. People would say the lessons could give those who heard them goosebumps.”

Karaz said he heard news reports about a stabbing and tried to call his son-in-law.

“I felt it was him… I called my daughter and she said [Ohayon] had talked to one of the kids earlier but had not answered since,” said Karaz. “I found out through a friend that it was him. It’s hard for me to think of him in the past tense.”

Ohayon’s friend David Yosef Mugrabi, who studied with him, said Ohayon got his rabbinic ordination “while working to support his family at the same time. He was determined, even though he didn’t have a college degree, to provide for his family with love, support and work.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted, “Our thoughts are with the Ohayon family, whose son Rabbi Shai was murdered by a despicable terrorist. We have lost a man of Torah, a font of knowledge, a father of four children. The terrorist and his accomplices must face justice. Terror must not win. May his memory be a blessing.”

Ohayon’s murder came almost exactly one year to the day after the murder of 17-year-old Rina Schnerb, killed by a bomb planted by a terrorist.

Last November, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman said of the ongoing efforts to thwart terrorists, “In the past year, we have thwarted over 450 significant terror attacks, and we have allowed Israeli citizens to have full and comfortable lives in the day-to-day without knowing what’s going on underground.”

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