One Israeli family suffered the ultimate tragedy on Monday when beloved husband and father Baruch Mizrahi was gunned down by Palestinian terrorists while driving his family to their Passover Seder.
The attack occurred not far from the Hebron suburb of Kiryat Arba, where the Mizrahi family was to celebrate the biblical feast.
The terrorist sprayed numerous rounds from an automatic assault rifle at passing Israeli vehicles. At least two cars were hit, both of them transporting members of the Mizrahi family. Baruch was killed by the gunfire and his pregnant wife, Hadas (pictured), suffered minor gunshot wounds and broken bones. One of the family’s five children, a nine-year-old boy, was also injured by shrapnel.
Hadas Mizrahi later recounted the harrowing incident for Israel’s Channel 2 News:
“We were driving from Modi’in to Kiryat Arba. At the Tarkumia checkpoint, we said hello to the soldiers, and kept going. After the first roundabout, a terrorist was standing at the roadside. Baruch shouted ‘A terrorist! Shooting!’ and pressed the gas pedal. Then I took a bullet. Baruch’s foot was still on the gas. The vehicle started to zigzag. I took the wheel and kept driving, away from the terrorists. …Meanwhile, the bullets were still flying by us and I told the children ‘duck down, duck down. Everything is OK.’ Once I saw that we were far away from the terrorist…I called [police hotline] 100 and informed them that there had been a terror attack.”
Meanwhile, Hadas realized that her husband had died. When soldiers arrived, she quickly instructed them, “Take the children so they won’t see their father is dead.”
Besides being an insurmountable personal tragedy, Baruch Mizrahi’s death was also a blow to the nation’s security forces. Over the past 25 years, Mizrahi had filled numerous high-ranking positions in military and police intelligence units.
“We found him while he was in the military; he was considered a genius in his field. He held knowledge that few others in Israel did,” a senior police official told Israel’s Ynet news portal.
Mizrahi’s last position was as head of the technology department in SIGINT, the intelligence division of the police investigations department.
An official police statement noted that Mizrahi had “contributed substantially to the police forces’ efforts against serious and organized crime, as well as all cyber-related crime.”
While no groups claimed credit for the attack, Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh hailed it as a great act of “resistance” that had breathed new life into the Palestinian “struggle” against Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released the following statement blaming rampant anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian Authority for such acts of terror:
“This reprehensible murder of a man who was traveling with his family to a meal for the Festival of Freedom is the result of the incitement for which the Palestinian Authority is responsible. The Palestinian Authority continues to constantly broadcast – in its official media – programs that incite against the existence of the State of Israel. Last night this incitement was translated into the murder of a father who was traveling with his family to celebrate the first night of Passover.”
Netanyahu further noted that as of Wednesday morning, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had failed to condemn the murder of Baruch Mizrahi and the targeting of his wife and small children.