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Jun 28, 2004 | 9th of Tammuz, 5764 | ט׳ בתמוז תשס״ד
June 28, 2004 – Afik Zahavi, four, and Mordechai Yosepov, 49, were killed at 8:15 a.m., when a Kassam rocket fired by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip struck near a nursery school in the northern Negev town of Sderot.
The boy’s mother, Ruth, was taking him to the Lilach nursery school when the rocket hit, critically wounding her. Ten other Sderot residents were lightly hurt. These were the first fatalities in scores of Kassam attacks over the past three and a half years. Of four Kassams fired at Sderot that mornng, three hit harmlessly.
At Afik’s funeral, his father, Yitzhak, prostrated himself on the small body and wept, “I love you Afik. I will see you everywhere. Look how many people are accompanying you.” The boy’s mother remained in intensive care in Beersheba’s Soroka Hospital.
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal eulogized the boy, saying: “What can I tell you, child? You have seen nothing, you don’t know anything of war and peace. You are pure and clean. But my child, we have neighbors who are animals, murderers. We will not forget and not forgive.”
Moyal turned to the bereaved father and said: “Your son’s death will not be in vain. We will demand a price from those who sent the rocket. We won’t let this happen again.”
Minister-without-Portfolio Natan Sharansky said in his euology: “You may have dreamed of being a hero, you may have dreamed of being a soldier. But here children, as in all the Israeli nation, become soldiers and the entire country turns into a front. You fell like a soldier. They say we don’t want peace. That is not true. We want peace, but with whom? With those who send Kassams to murder our children? We will reach the murderers.”
Afik Zahavi is survived by his parents. He was buried in the Sderot Cemetery.
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