30 Mar 2006

The Halevys, driving home on Thursday evening, had picked up several hitchhikers near Karnei Shomron, among them the suicide bomber dressed as a yeshiva student. Near the entrance to Kedumim the terrorist detonated his explosive device, killing all four passengers.

Mar 30, 2006 – Rafi Halevy, 63, of Kedumim, was one of four people killed  when a suicide bomber hitchhiker disguised as an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva student detonated his explosive device near the entrance to Kedumim.

Rafi Halevy and his wife Helena were returning home to Kedumim and picked up several hitchhikers at the nearby settlement of Karnei Shomron – Re'ut FeldmanShaked Lasker, and the suicide bomber disguised as a yeshiva student. A Kedumim resident, who was driving behind the Halevys, said that he noticed Rafi was driving erratically. He thinks he realized that the hitchhiker was a bomber and tried to stop him, or at least keep away from the gas station adjacent to Kedumim. The cell that claimed responsibility for the attack called itself after Hamada Shatiwi, a senior operative in the Fatah’s military wing in Nablus who was killed in an IDF operation.

Rafi met his wife when she came as a volunteer to Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzhak, where he was a counselor. They married and later moved to Kfar Gideon in the Jezreel Valley, where they worked in agriculture. They settled in Kedumim 17 years ago.

His daughter, Na'ama, related that Rafi was chief of security in Kedumim for many years and also a farmer who loved the land. "He spoke spoke Arabic and maintained good relations with the neighbors and mukhtars in the area. If a horse disappeared, the Arabs knew they could go to my father, and the horse would return. When he saw Jewish teenagers harvesting Arabs’ olives, he drove them off. My parents didn’t come here to conquer, and before they built this house here, they verified it was state land, not private land. Mom and Dad kept an open house, which was always full, and whoever was hungry or tired could find something to eat and a spot to rest."

Rabbi Daniel Shila, who formerly served in Kedumim, related: "Although Rafi was responsible for security, he made sure that the Arabs’ rights to be safe were respected." A neighbor added that over the last few years he worked in gardening. “He loved his job. They had a well kept house and a well kept garden, one of the most well kept homes in Kedumim."

Rafi and Helena Halevy were buried in Kedumim. They are survived by four children, Oded, Gilad, Neaama, and Neta, and three grandchildren, Shaun, 4, Rona, 3 and Maya, 1.