Thousands of mourners from across Israel took part in the levayah of the Salomons – Yosef Hy”d, 70, and his two children Chaya Hy”d, 46, and Elad Hy”d, 36, who were brutally stabbed to death in their home as they sat at the table and waited for guests to arrive for the Friday night meal, which was also intended to mark the birth of a grandson.
Tovah Salomon, tblc”t, Yosef’s wife and the mother of Chaya and Elad, who was recovering from wounds inflicted during the unspeakable attack, after treatment at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, did not attend the levayah. She underwent surgery on Shabbos.
The levayah began at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Cemetery in Modi’in, Yosef’s hometown and where two of the three surviving children live.
In his hesped, Elad Mayor Rabbi Yisrael Porush asked: “What can you say to a mother who protects her children from the angel of death dancing a floor below her? How can you console five orphaned children?”
After the terrorist broke into the Salomons’ home and began stabbing her husband, father-in-law, and sister-in-law, Elad’s wife Michal rushed her children to an upstairs bedroom for safety. The door didn’t have a lock, so she held onto the doorknob and pressed against the door to hold it shut, in case the terrorist would follow them.
“I know from his wounds and from what I was told [by investigators] that he fought back,” she said.
“I think as soon as the [attack] began, Elad and I had an unspoken agreement,” she told Channel 2 in an interview. “He saw me and I understood my job was to take the children away and his was to fight to delay the terrorist,” saving the children.
“I started hearing screaming and shouting,” Michal recounted. “I held the door with all my strength because it couldn’t be locked. I lost my sense of time but did not let go of the doorknob.
“I called the police and told them what’s happening, while the children were around me.”
In her hesped, Michal Salomon recalled: “Thirteen years ago, we met in Neve Tzur. I met a quiet, calm and steady man. I felt certain in my decision to spend our lives together. You were a perfect husband, we couldn’t have asked for any more. You were excited by our kids. You cared about them. You played with them like a kid yourself.
“Now you are not here for me and it scares me.”
She thanked everyone for their support in the terrible tragedy. “I want to say thank you to everyone here,” she said. “In the last two days, I have received so much strength from people I don’t know. You don’t know how much you have helped me.”
Yosef’s daughter Orit was maspid her father.
“Dad, you were always a man who gave everything and made us all happy and made us feel like everything was okay but now, nothing is okay,” she said. “Now you can rest, we will look after Mom.”
The rabbi of Chalamish, Yonatan Glass, was unable to attend, but a statement was read out on his behalf.
“Only someone with no remnant of humanity could raise their hand against Yossi and his hofamily,” the statement read. “Yossi, who made everyone he came across happy. The Salomon family household was based on making other people happy.”
Tamar Hofi, a family friend who lives opposite the Salomons:”Tovah had a difficult childhood. She had always said that Yosef was her compensation. How will she return home after this tragedy?”
She noted that the terrorist had in all likelihood passed by her house first on the night of the attack, but seeing that no one was home, moved on to the Salomons.
“This family has a bris milah this week. How will they rejoice?” asked Hofi.
Chaya Salomon Hy”d was a teacher beloved by her students.
Chaya, 46, worked as a teacher at the all-girls state-religious school Noam HaMeiri in Lod for 18 years, chiefly as the homeroom teacher of first and second grade students. Last week, she won the title “Lod’s Excelling Teacher” and was honored at a small ceremony held for her at the school.
“She educated an entire generation of students and was an incredible teacher,” Oranit Altshuler, the vice principal at the school, told Ynet.
“Chaya knew how to let each of her students express themselves, she always knew where each of them were, she’d write personal notes for each of them in their report card. It was very important to her to have the girls reach academic accomplishments. But more than that, she cared about instilling values, good character, friendship between the students. If something happened in class, it was important to her to talk about it and resolve it. She wanted the students to respect one another. She was devoted to the girls.”
“When her class needed something, she’d do everything to make it happen,” Altshuler said.
Altshuler learned of the attack at the end of Shabbos. “My son is a team commander in the army, and when Shabbos ended he got a message saying he had to get ready and leave. We realized it was because there was a terror attack, and when I asked him he said it was in Chalamish,” she said.
Altshuler still did not yet know that Chaya, her brother Elad and father Yosef, were the victims. “I sent her a message, saying I understood she had a difficult Shabbos and that I hoped everything was okay. A minute later I saw I had an unanswered call from Chaya’s best friend, and then I realized,” she said.
Although it was summer vacation, students from all grades arrived at the school where she taught with their parents. They met with the pedagogical staff as well as with municipal psychologists.
“Every teacher and professional sat with a group of students and talked to them, told them what happened, asked what they knew. They drew and wrote Chaya touching and lovely letters,” Altshuler said.
Among the 10,000 people expected to attend the levayah, were friends and neighbors from Modiin and nearby towns. The Modiin municipality provided shuttle buses from several locations in the city.
Official Israel paid its respects as well. At the Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed “deep sorrow over the murder of three family members in the community of Chalamish. This was an act of terrorism committed by a beast incited by wild hatred.
“The security forces are doing their utmost to maintain security and, to this end, will take all necessary measures.”
Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) and MKs Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) were at the levayah representing the state.