Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, who was killed by a terrorist gunman while traveling to Hebron to celebrate Passover with his family, was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
Hadas Mizrahi, the late officer’s wife who was injured in the attack, was released in time from the hospital to attend the funeral of her slain husband. Surrounded by hundreds of people who came to pay their last respects, Hadas eulogized her husband.
“Instead of growing old together and watching the seasons pass, with the shriek of a bullet, I lost the love of my life,” she said.
“The children are crying and cannot believe it,” Hadas added. “Who will teach them dedication and perseverance? Who will provide them with the personal example, which, even in your last moments, you gave them?”
“Twenty years of life and unity have ended,” she said. “My beloved, our children will still grow in the lap of love for mankind and for the country. You will still be with us. I am parting from you with my body but not my soul.”
Mizrahi’s 8-year-old son read the mourners Kaddish, the traditional prayer for the dead, in a tear filled voice.
Mizrahi served in the Israeli military for 25 years in various senior positions. In June 2011, he was drafted into the police force where he headed the technology department in the police intelligence force.
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, who attended the funeral, posthumously promoted Mizrahi from a chief superintendent to commander.
“We cannot bring Baruch back, but his contribution will remain for many years. And therefore we decided to award him with the title of commander that he deserved,” Danino said.
Hadas Mizrahi told reporters that her husband realized as they were driving that they were being attacked.
“They’re shooting, they’re shooting, there’s a terrorist,” he cried out to his wife. According to Hadas, her husband tried to accelerate away from the gunfire. “He was hit by a bullet, then I was hit, then he was hit again, and I was hit again,” she said.
Baruch immediately pressed down on the gas as bullets riddled the car. A bullet instantly killed Baruch and his body fell over onto Hadas while his foot remained on the pedal. Hadas said that was when she understood that her husband had been killed.
Hadas attributes their saved lives to the quick thinking actions of her husband. “Had the car been stationary, we all would have died,” she explained.
With a broken rib and two bullet wounds, Hadas managed to take over the wheel and sped away while alerting Israeli security authorities. Hadas recalls yelling at her children to immediately take off their seatbelts and lie on the floor of the car.
“I covered my blood with a rag,” Hadas said. “I saw that Baruch was dead. When the soldiers arrived, I told them, ‘Bandage me and take the children to the armored vehicle, so that they don’t see their father lying [there] dead.’ I will be strong for the children, because that’s what Baruch would have wanted.”
Hadas said her children did not understand that they just witnessed the death of their father. In the car, they yelled at him: “Abba [father], wake up.” One of the daughters said, “Abba, what happened, why aren’t you answering?”
The couples five children were sent to spend the Passover holiday with relatives in Hebron as planned, unaware of their father’s death. On Monday night, the children were informed by their mother of their father’s passing.
Of her husband, Hadas recalled: “We were together for 20 years. He was a wonderful father. He always found time to be with the children.” She explained that Baruch would come home early from work at least once a week and surprise the family.
Hadas said that thinking of their five children is what is giving her the strength to move forward. “I want to bring up my children so they will finish their studies, serve in the army and get married,” she said.
Hadas appealed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block any terrorist prisoner releases as part of peace efforts.
“Terrorists see they can kill us and be released without receiving appropriate punishment. This is not the solution,” she said. “So that there shouldn’t be more families like us, we must not release more terrorists,” Hadas added.
As of Wednesday evening, the IDF was still searching for the terrorist assailants. It has not yet determined whether the attack was carried out by a single or multiple gunmen.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed to track down those involved in carting out the deadly attack.
“We will not rest until we get our hands on whoever planned and executed this attack,” he said. “We will not tolerate terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens, and will act with uncompromising determination against all those involved in planning or carrying out attacks.”
While Israel mourns the brutal loss of Baruch Mizrahi, some are rejoicing at the news. The prime minister of the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip praised the shooting. Speaking in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh said the attack “brought back life to the path of resistance” against Israel. While no group has yet to claim responsibility, Haniyeh warned of more attacks.