'We will never accept terror as legitimate,' says grieving father of West Bank attack victims

British rabbi whose wife and daughters were murdered speaks out against those who justified atrocity


Rabbi Leo Dee, who's two daughters were murdered in a terror attack a few days ago, holds a press conference in Efrat, on April 10, 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** ליאו די אבא פידוע אב אפרת

The British husband and father whose wife and two daughters were murdered by Palestinian gunmen last week asked people to post pictures of the Israeli flag online to stand against those who justify terror.

Just hours before the burial of his 48-year-old wife Lucy on Tuesday, former Radlett United Synagogue rabbi Leo Dee said: “We will never blame the murder on the victims. There is no such thing as moral equivalence between terrorist and victim. The terrorist is always bad.”

His voice strained with grief, Rabbi Dee asked: “Am I and my family really a threat to world peace? We who teach kindness and love? We who value life over anything else?”

Responding to a wave of commentators who blamed the victims for their own deaths because they lived on the West Bank, he added: “Let the Israeli flag today send out a message to humanity which is: we will never accept terror as legitimate.”

His wife had succumbed to her wounds on Monday afternoon, three days after terrorists killed their daughters 20-year-old Maia and 15-year-old Rina in an attack at Hamra Junction in the West Bank as they drove from their home in the settlement of Efrat 70 miles away.

The gunman had forced the three women’s car off the road as they headed north for a family holiday in Tiberias, firing 20 bullets into their vehicle.

Condemning the “abhorrent attacks”, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “There can be no justification for the murder of Leah (Lucy’s Hebrew name) and her two daughters, Maia and Rina.

“We will continue to work with the Israeli authorities to end this senseless violence.”

His comments came after the Foreign Office’s initial statement was roundly criticised for its weak phrasing.

It read: “We are saddened to hear about the deaths of two British-Israeli citizens and the serious injuries sustained by a third individual”, and called for “‘all parties… to de-escalate tensions”.

Israel’s former ambassador to America, Michael Oren, wrote: “Shame on Britain. No mention of Palestinians or terror, no outrage. The sisters merely ‘died’ and a third person was somehow injured.”

As Rebbetzin Dee’s funeral was taking place in Kfar Etzion, near to Efrat, Palestinian security forces hunting the attackers said they had found the car that had been used by the gunmen abandoned in the West Bank city of Nablus.

In a last act of “incomprehensible generosity”, the rabbi said, his wife’s organs were donated, saving five lives.

Standing alongside their father at her funeral, the surviving children, Tali, 17, Keren, 19, and Yehuda, 14, paid tearful tribute to their mother.

“Mum, who will help me when I need? Mum, who will protect me now? You always protected me against bad things,” 17-year-old Tali said.

Keren added: “Yesterday, at Maia and Rina’s grave, I closed my eyes and prayed that you would wake up, so we wouldn’t have to go through this pain twice… I’m paralysed by the pain.”

Earlier, Rabbi Dee, who had left home on 7 April in a separate car with their other children, spoke of hearing about the murders.

He said had received a call from his sister warning there had been an attack. He had called his wife and two daughters in turn.

“Then I saw a missed call from Maia 10:52,” he said.

“I hadn’t noticed it ring and had not picked up the phone. The feeling that she called me during the attack and I wasn’t able to speak to her will come back and haunt me for a while.”

His daughter Tali then saw a photo on Instagram of the family car riddled with bullets.

He said: “I immediately turned round and drove like a lunatic to the Hamra Junction… By this point we knew that two younger girls had been killed by a terrorist …we couldn’t believe that this was our car, our family.”

His wife was airlifted to hospital but died on Monday. “There was an operation, there was reason for hope. But alas, our family of seven is now a family of four.”

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