Rockets and terror attacks rain sorrow on Israelis

By Rolene Marks

The image is seared in my mind. A radiant, vivacious mother poses proudly with her two beautiful daughters. There is no mistaking the family resemblance and you can feel the love and pride radiating out of their smiles. Lucy Dee, and her two daughters, Maia (20) and Rina (15) were traveling to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) when Palestinian terrorists caused their car to swerve and crash – some say they were rammed, others their car was shot at. The terrorists then shot them at close range, killing Maia and Rina and critically injuring Lucy. She died several days later in hospital. Over twenty shell casings were found at the site. Their crime?

They were Jewish and Israeli.

Senseless Slaying. Lucy and her daughters Maia (20) and Rina (15) shot in their vehicle traveling to Tiberias.

The murders broke the hearts of Israelis, already reeling from a wave of terror that had already claimed 15 lives. Maia and Lucy were the third set of siblings murdered by terrorists this year.

I do not think many of us will forget the shattering images as thousands gathered in Kfar Etzion cemetery, thousands more watched the coverage as Maia, and Rina were laid to rest. Their siblings clung to the covered bodies of their sisters. The grief was palpable throughout the country.

Millions around the world continued to pray for Lucy, their mother who was in a coma fighting for her life. We prayed that the family would be spared further grief. Lucy Dee passed away the next morning.

As news of Lucy Dee’s passing broke, the heavens rumbled and the rain started to fall over Israel. G-d was crying along with all of us. The tears, like the rain, have not stopped.

It has been said that The Almighty counts the tears of women. In the last few days, He has lost count. Lucy’s final selfless act was the donation of her organs to five people whose lives have now been saved.

Israel is a country where every loss is felt very personally. We are a country that may have many divisions and squabbles but when we grieve, it is together, regardless of political leanings, whether one is religious or secular or whatever divides us.

Summoning what I can only describe as superhuman strength, Rabbi Leo Dee, the grief-stricken father and husband addressed the global media and in his speech, appealed that “If you feel that it was wrong to shoot dead at close range 3 beautiful innocent young ladies in the prime of their lives please post a picture of you with an Israeli flag or just post a picture of an Israeli flag & share on social media.” April the 10th was designated #DeesDay, and Israeli flags proudly lit up social media platforms all around the world.

Terror strikes indiscriminately and following the brutal murders of Lucy, Maia and Rina, an Italian citizen was killed and several injured when a terrorist rammed his car into them the following Saturday night. Alessandro Parini, a 35-year-old lawyer from Rome was killed. Once again, Israelis united to mourn his death – and stand in solidarity with Italy. The victims of these senseless murders were honoured at protests that night and Israelis laid flowers and lit candles at a makeshift memorial for Parini at the site of his murder. His coffin, draped in an Italian flag was sent back to Italy days later with a solemn ceremony of honour.

Tourists Targeted. Italian tourist Alessandro Parini, a 35-year-old lawyer from Rome was killed when a terrorist rammed the car he had stollen into tourists on Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade.

If murdering our citizens with guns and cars was not enough, Iranian-sponsored proxies rained rockets down on Israel over the Passover weekend. Terror groups in the south of Lebanon fired 34 rockets into Israel, the highest escalation since the Second Lebanon war in 2006. The iron Dome intercepted the majority but a few managed to strike a chicken coup, land near a children’s playground and wounded several when shrapnel fell on cars. Iranian terror groups in Gaza fired 44 at Israel’s southern citizens, hitting a house and 6 rockets were fired from Syria. The IDF struck in all three areas in response.

These terror groups fired rockets towards Israeli civilians using the excuse that “the Al Aqsa is under threat”. In a carefully coordinated campaign, terror organisations cited “resistance against the Israeli attack on Al Aqsa”.

What happened inside the Mosque? Groups of masked Palestinian hooligans entered the holy site, armed with fireworks and rocks which they threw at police, disrupted peaceful prayer and desecrated the sanctity of the site. Police were forced to enter and quell them. This is the same tactic used in recent years to draw attention back to the Palestinian “cause” as the world turns further away from them. Incite, clash and attack. Rinse and repeat.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshipers had prayed at the Al Aqsa peacefully for three weeks during Ramadan but was it a coincidence these disruptions occurred during the start of Passover and Easter? I think not. If anyone cannot see that the clashes on Al Aqsa, designed for maximum media impact (it worked) along with terror attacks and rockets wasn’t carefully coordinated by Iran, then they really are naïve. This had Iran’s grubby fingerprints all over it.

The response from the international community and mainstream media was outrage at the audacity of Israel to dare safeguard the safety of worshipers at Al Aqsa. Glaringly missing was the condemnation of brutal terror attacks of Jews and Christians the same weekend. British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, admonished after his initial letter of condemnation, rewrote it to condemn the heinous acts.

Condemning Palestinian Terrorism. UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s letter to British national Rabbi Leo Dee condemning terrorism faced by Israel and expressing condolences over the “brutal” murder of his wife and daughters. (Getty Images)

Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, no stranger to appalling antisemitic invective, tweeted this:

This has resulted in a renewed call for the UN Secretary General, to fire her.

Next week Israel will mark Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day. Every Israeli is acutely aware of the price paid by so many, both in the armed forces and victims of terror, for our freedom to live in our ancient and historical homeland. There is not a single family that has not been touched in some way by the icy grip of loss.

Next week Israelis will join to mourn. We will grieve for those we have lost and brutal theft of futures that were rich with promise. We cry endless tears as the sirens will wail and we will remain locked in our private thoughts and unique memories. We will stand silent and resolute.

And just like that, at 20h00 on Tuesday evening, as we ring in Independence Day, the mood of the country will change to that of celebration. This year Israel celebrates 75 years of modern independence in our ancient homeland. As many Israelis contemplate the Israel that we hope to have, we will have Lucy, Maia, Rina, Alessandro and all the victims of terror and brave soldiers who fell in our hearts. We live, not just for us but for them as well. May the memories of all we have lost be eternally bless

In full: Exclusive interview with father and husband of British-Israelis killed in West Bank, Rabbi Leo Dee.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).