DESPITE being seriously wounded in a terror attack and bleeding heavily, a brave father-of-12 rabbi turned his car around and fired four bullets at a teenage Palestinian attacker.
In his final moments of consciousness, Rabbi Achiad Ettinger’s intention was to halt the gunman’s killing spree. But the attacker returned fire and mortally wounded him.
Doctors fought valiantly to save him . . . but he died in hospital the following day.
The rabbi — head of the Oz v’Emunah yeshiva in the Neve Sha’anan area of south Tel Aviv — had been shot at the wheel of his car on Sunday, moments after the crazed attacker had fatally knifed a 19-year-old soldier, Staff Sergeant Gal Keidan, outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
The killer stole the dead soldier’s rifle and fired at passing cars nearby, hitting Rabbi Ettinger in the head and neck.
A massive manhunt was then launched for the double killer, 19-year-old Omar Abu Laila, who escaped in a car abandoned by a terrified motorist. Laila was shot dead by soldiers two days later.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Rabbi Ettinger’s children — aged from one to 20 – at the funeral in the West Bank settlement of Eli: “Your father was a hero in his life and a hero in his death.
“In his death, he didn’t do what most people would have in that situation. He didn’t run away, but strove to confront the terrorist.
“He fired bullets at the murderer and paid for it with his life.”
Rabbi Avraham Schiller, the rabbi of Eli, called him a “hero and fighter” for the Jewish people.
CONDOLENCE: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pays a shiva call to Rabbi Ettinger’s family|
“In your heroism, you became an emissary for the entire nation of Israel,” he said. “Everyone will learn from your actions, both civilians and soldiers.”
One of Rabbi Ettinger’s daughters, Efrat, struggled to speak through her tears as she eulogised her father.
“How is it that you who brought so much life to the world are no longer here to live with us?” she cried.
“This cursed terrorist thought he was stopping life, but he does not know how much life you left here, how much power you gave to us which will raise us together with the Jewish people.”
His daughter talked of how dedicated the rabbi had been to his yeshiva and to its surrounding poverty-stricken area.
“My father, you are a hero, a true hero,” she said. “Until death, you were there for everyone — you were strong in mind and body, and you used this for everyone.”
A recording of two of Rabbi Ettinger’s children speaking about their father after his death was played at the funeral.
“Daddy, you were a hero,” said seven-year-old daughter Hadas. “You shot the terrorist and you saved many people. You were a wonderful father. We miss you.”
And young son Ahiya said: “You very much loved helping people.”
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