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Death at Our Door

Binyamin Rose, Chalamish

The town of Chalamish is trying to regain some semblance of normalcy following the Friday night murders at the Salomon home during a shalom zachar celebration

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

 Mishpacha image

TRIPLE TRAGEDY Hearing a knock at the door and assuming it was a shalom zachar guest, the Salomons unwittingly invited the terrorist in (Photos: Flash 90)

Victor Vaknin, head of the community emergency team in the yishuv of Chalamish (Neve Tzuf), drives his car gingerly down the narrow, winding path along the yishuv’s perimeter. The path is carpeted on both sides with low brush that finds shade among several tall pine trees.

As Vaknin turns right, the path widens to accommodate security vehicles. On the driver’s side stands a barbed-wire fence with attached sensors. Road 450, a rural two-lane roadway that leads to other nearby Jewish and Arab villages, is visible about 25 meters below.

Vaknin parks alongside a section of the fence adjacent to a sensor, which he says is sensor number 38. The location is eerie. It’s directly opposite the yishuv’s small cemetery, which contains 17 headstones. And this was the precise spot from which an Arab terrorist jumped atop one of the fence’s slender metal pillars, scaling it to infiltrate the community and murder three Jews at their Shabbos table last Friday night.

“An IDF tracker determined this was the spot,” Vaknin says. “They use the same skills that the Indians used to track footprints.”
At maybe ten feet high, the fence doesn’t look very formidable.
“It’s been scaled before,” confirms Baruch Re’em, head of security at Chalamish. “You can climb the fence in ten seconds.”

For a terrorist incited to act and blinded by hatred, no security fence is an obstacle.
From the point of entry, it was a short walk up the hill and around the curve to the home of Yossi and Tova Salomon, who were awaiting guests for a shalom zachar for their newest grandson.

Hearing a knock at the door and assuming it was a guest, the Salomons unwittingly invited the terrorist in. Within moments, he murdered Yossi, 70, his daughter Chaya, 46, and son Elad, 35, a resident of Elad who had joined the family for Shabbos with his wife and five children. Yossi’s wife, Tova, was also stabbed, but survived the slaughter and was rushed to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem in moderate condition. A neighbor from across the street, who was on leave for Shabbos from his elite army unit, heard the commotion and incapacitated the terrorist by shooting at him through a window before he could make his way upstairs, where Elad’s wife and their children had fled. Elad gave his life by trying to fend off the terrorist to protect his family.

Within moments, the terrorist murdered Yossi, 70, his daughter Chaya, 46, and son Elad, 35, a resident of Elad who had joined the family for Shabbos with his wife and five children

As traumatic as Yossi Salomon’s death was for his family, it didn’t take long for his loss to become painfully obvious to the entire community. 

For years, Yossi, who made aliyah from Romania in the early years of Israel’s statehood, ran the 7 a.m. hashkamah minyan on Shabbos in Chalamish. He kept his early morning tradition long after he retired from a career that included managing medical warehouses for the IDF Southern Command, and working as a maintenance supervisor at Talpiot College, a girls’ academy in Holon. 

Yosef “Yogi” Rimel, who made aliyah in 1989 from St. Louis, used to sit one row behind Yossi Salomon at the hashkamah minyan. Salomon’s sponsorship of the weekly kiddush was a family tradition, handed down from Yossi’s father, who was a butcher in Beer Sheva. 

“His father always gave the kiddush on Shabbos morning there because he knew people who only had enough money to make a Friday night dinner, but didn’t have enough for Shabbos lunch,” Rimel says. 

Yossi’s chesed extended to the weekdays as well. He ran a tefillin gemach, something indispensable in a synagogue frequented by soldiers called to night patrol who are too far away from their base to retrieve their tefillin. And it didn’t make a difference what your minhag was. Rashi. Rabbeinu Tam. Yemenite. Right-handed or left-handed. “Whatever kind of Tefillin Jews put on, he had them,” Rimel said. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 670)

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