Israel Lost a Hero: Remembering Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger

We mourn the death of a hero, a courageous man, Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, who in a split second despite being shot in the head and neck at the Ariel intersection, turned his car around and fired four bullets at the terrorist before he collapsed. A selfless act, and one that characterized his entire life.

Despite their feverish efforts, the doctors at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva failed to save the rabbi , and he succumbed to his wounds. He was only 47 years old. He is survived by his wife Tamar and twelve children: Moriah,21, Efrat,20, Eliashiv,19,Harel,18,Eliasaf,16,Yehuda,13, twins Tehiya and Tzofia aged 11, Benia, 9, twins Eliav and Hadas and Roni, 18 months old.

The family announced it was donating his organs to help others, and in a statement said “we are discovering that his personal qualities were on display in his final moments, as he sought to confront the terrorist and fired his weapons four times, without a thought for himself or his family.”

Rabbi Ettinger was the head of the Oz V’Emmunah yeshiva in south Tel Aviv, a place where students alternate periods of Torah study with military service. One person wrote that the yeshiva was preparing mishloach manot for the needy residents of south Tel Aviv, when the Rabbi was struck down.
In a passionate plea, Rabbi Ettinger’s wife Tamar on Tuesday called on the government to boost its deterrence and restore security and defense, in order to allow the people to settle the country out of love for the Jewish State.

She went on to thank the people of Israel and the community of Eli who are encompassing the family with love and concern. “My husband Ahiad belonged to the entire State of Israel, he had great compassion for everyone he met, especially his students,” she said. She went onto emphasize that it was important to the family to continue his work at the yeshiva, and asked that the support and resilience of the people of Israel continue.

Hundreds attended the funeral that set out from the Rabbi’s hometown of Eli, with the processions stopping near the site of Monday’s terror attack before continuing the Segula cemetery in Petah Tikva, his final resting place.

Eulogizing her father, a tearful Efrat praised him for trying to save lives. “My father you are a hero, a true hero. Until death, you were there for everyone, you were strong in mind and body and you used this for everyone,” she said. ”How is it that you who brought so much life to the world, are no longer here to live with us? This cursed terrorist thought he was stopping life, but he does not know how much life you left here, how much power you gave to us, which will raise us together with the Jewish people,” she cried.

Speaking at the funeral Education Minister Naftali Bennett described the rabbi as “a hero in life and death,” and praised his work at the yeshiva and his heroism in shooting at the terrorist even though he had been shot. “Rabbi Ahiad breathed the spirit of hope, with his strong spirit and by his own hands, he changed the reality of life in south Tel Aviv, how much light and Torah he brought there. Even in the last seconds of his great life he strived to do good. Instead of fleeing, he sprang into action and paid with his life. He gave his life as a hero of Israel.”

Rabbi Avraham Shiller, the chief rabbi of Eli called Ettinger “a hero in the fight against Ishmail.” Shiller added, “We will not fall, we will not bow down, we will not be broken.”

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