December 21, 2002
Rabbi Yitzchak Arama, the rabbi of the Netzer Hazani community in Gush Katif, was murdered late this morning by one or more Palestinian terrorists. He was shot in an ambush attack as he was driving with his family near the Kisufim Junction entrance to the Katif area. He got out of the car after being shot, but collapsed after a few steps and died. The killers escaped to nearby Dir el-Balah, and Israeli forces were reported to be surrounding them inside a building. The road on which the murder took place is considered to be generally well-guarded.
Rabbi Arama was a direct descendant of the 15th-century Torah-and-Rashi commentator of the same name, author of the famed Akeidat Yitzchak. The victim was said by one resident to be an “unbelievable combination of the ultimate in humility and Torah knowledge.” Forty years old and the father of six, he was rabbi of Netzer Hazani for seven years. He was the author of a commentary on Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), published in memory of 18-year-old Itamar Yefet, who was murdered in the same area by Palestinian terrorists two years ago. Rabbi Arama and his family were on their way today to celebrate the pre-wedding Sabbath of Itamar’s brother.
The Gush Katif local website, Katif.net, published the following preliminary report:
“Heavy mourning has fallen upon Moshav Netzer Hazani and on Gush Katif. Rabbi Yitzchak Arama left a wife, six children, and a large moshav seeking their father who ascended today in a storm to heaven. Rabbi Arama served as an anchor and a support for the extended Netzer Hazani family, which suffered a number of losses to terrorist attacks in the past two years, including children wounded by a mortar shell that landed in a clubhouse, and the murders of Itamar Yefet and Mrs. Ettie Fahima, may G-d avenge their blood. Rabbi Arama gave encouragement and strength, and there was no question that he and his family would take part in the pre-wedding Shabbat of Itamar’s brother in northern Israel, as these families grew so very close after the tragedy of two years ago. One single bullet hit the pure heart of Rabbi Yitzchak Arama.”
The funeral will be held this afternoon in his parents’ hometown of Herzliya.