The small settlement of Otniel has seen more than its fair share of deadly terror attacks; last Friday, another tragedy was added to its history, as Michael Mark was killed and his wife Chavi seriously wounded.

The settlement of Otniel rests just south of Hebron. Since 1994, 11 residents from its 140 families have been murdered in terror attacks. The latest was Michael Mark, who was gunned down last week.

The settlement’s first encounter with terrorism was in 1994 with the murder of the local yeshiva’s rabbi Ami Olami. The incident sent shock waves through the fledgling settlement. Rabbi Benny Kalmazon, a friend to Olami and a relative of Mark’s, described the general feeling at the time. “We couldn’t understand how something like this could happen, and why of all people it should happen to Rabbi Olami, who gave himself to developing the settlement,” he said. “We almost broke it up, but then we decided to move forward.”

All 11 Otniel terror victims
All 11 Otniel terror victims


Despite persevering, Otniel’s sorrow would only grow. In December 2000, Eliyahu Ben-Ami was murdered on his way to Hebron. His daughter Yesca grew up to marry Mark’s son. She spoke at her father-in-law’s funeral on Friday, saying: “I lost one father 16 years ago. I got a father that truly made me feel like a daughter, but now I’ve lost him, as well.”

In 2002, Avi Sabag was murdered on the same road as Olami and Ben-Ami. Later that year, two terrorists disguised as soldiers entered the local yeshiva, shot and killed Gabriel Hoter, Tzvika Zeiman, Yehuda Bamberger and Noam Apter. It was revealed that the four victims died heroically, locking a door that would have led the terrorists to where the other students had already convened for dinner.

In 2005, it was Aviad Mantzur who was shot to death while waiting to catch a ride near Beit Hagai. A few years passed, during which the residents of Otniel tried to recuperate, only to be faced with another tragedy in 2011 when Dan Merzbach was accidentally killed by friendly fire by the IDF, on his way to the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Five years had passed since then, when on January 2016, a terrorist infiltrated the settlement and made his way to the house of Dafna Meir, who was murdered on her own doorstep. And now it is Michael Mark, whose wife Chava was also wounded during the attack.

On Thursday, the Marks received the family of another terror victim—Hallel Ariel, who one week prior was murdered in her bed by a 17-year-old Palestinian terrorist. The Ariels had finished their own Shiva to visit the Marks at theirs, offering them words of comfort and prayers for the recovery of their mother.

As reported by Ynetnews