The mother-in-law of comedian Paul Kaye has been killed in a rocket attack near the Gaza Strip.
Mrs Shuli Katz, a 69-year-old nurse, was visiting her sister-in-law, Leora, in Moshav Yesha when the missile fell within a yard of her on Monday.
Her son, Yariv, 40, had left her side momentarily and survived the blast. Neither had time to find cover when the siren sounded.
Mr Kaye, 42, whose alter ego Dennis Pennis hoodwinked celebrities on the red carpet, attacked Palestinians for celebrating successful terror attacks.
“To think that the Palestinians were handing out sweets in Gaza after a suicide bombing, it’s sick. The idea of people celebrating Shuli’s death is just too awful,” he said.
“I have no hate for the Palestinians. They have innocents who suffer daily, of course. It is those who fight a war against Israel I abhor.
“By proxy, they have no compassion for their own people as they know full well the retaliation that will follow. Jews and Arabs have a long history of co-existence and acceptance but Jews and Jihad can only ever bring death and more death.”
He said of his brother-in-law: “He’s in a terrible state. He was very close to his mother.”
In a bitter irony, Leora had planned to visit Mrs Katz at her home on Kibbutz Gvaram near Ashkelon. But she was too afraid to make the trip after rockets struck Ashkelon the day before so Mrs Katz decided to visit her.
Her death follows a fatal rocket attack last Friday in which Jimmy Kdoshim, 48, was killed as he worked in the garden of his home on Kibbutz Kfar Aza.
Some 40 families from the kibbutz have now said that they will leave the border community rather than live under fire.
Mr Kaye says that this is now the reality for many Israeli families. “They have all been to war. They have lived their lives in Israel and there’s an acceptance of the kind of violence around them,” he said.
Mrs Katz has four children – Ronit, 46, Yarive, 40, Yonatan, 37 and Mr Kaye’s wife, Orly, 43. Yarive and Yonatan live near Sderot, where “rockets are coming in every week. To the rest of the world it looks like sport”.
Mr Kaye said his own children, Jordan, 16, and Geffen, one, who live with him and his wife in Hendon, North London, have taken it badly, especially since his own mother died of cancer three months ago.
“Jordan is inconsolable,” he said. “He has just lost two grandmothers in the space of two months. It’s just awful at that age. He’s got his GCSEs coming up but I said he should go to Israel to be with the family. That’s more important.
“Orly is in severe shock. She [Mrs Katz] was such a gentle and beautiful lady and you just can’t imagine her having such a violent end. It was instant so at least we can thank God for that. She actually came over in December on her own to say goodbye to my mum and that was the last time I saw her.” His father, Ivor, a member of Stanmore synagogue, said: “They have taken a life but they have devastated a family. She had four children, five grandchildren and so much love and devotion from all the members of the Kibbutz.”
The family had planned to go to Israel next week to celebrate their grandmother’s 70th birthday. Mrs Katz’s husband Rafi, who died three years ago of cancer, was a leading light of the kibbutz. Mrs Katz is survived by her own mother, who is 98 and lives in Netanya.
On Wednesday evening, a Katyusha-type rocket hit a shopping centre in Ashkelon, injuring at least 10 people, three of them seriously. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command said they had launched the missile.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the President's Conference, in the presence of George Bush: "Just a few hours ago, I had the opportunity, together with the minister of defence, General Barak, to express our concerns [to George Bush] about the security of the people in the south of the state of Israel. The president came for a mission of peace. And he was really aware of the complexities, the sensitivities, the fears that so many Israelis have in the face that so many Israelis have in the face of living in the south of our country. What happened today is entirely intolerable and unacceptable. The government of Israel is committed to stop it, and we will take the necessary steps to ensure it stops."