(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Thousands of Israelis accompanied Shalom Yohai Sherki, who was run down and killed by an Arab driver in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a suspected vehicular terrorist attack, to his final resting place on Thursday.
Sherki, 26, was the second of seven siblings. He attended a hesder yeshiva (a religious school that incorporates mandatory military service with Torah studies) in the southern town of Yeruham and served in the Israeli Navy. He was a youth counselor at his yeshiva and later became a tour guide for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. He attended the Herzog teachers’ college in Gush Etzion.
Sherki’s father, Uri Sherki, is a rabbi and a top lecturer of Jewish studies. He eulogized his son with immense pain, saying, “The doctors who treated you said that there was no doubt that you saved the life of the woman standing next to you. Shalom, shalom, and there is no peace. You, my dear son, have it easy. Your noble soul is rising directly through the heavens to the kingdom of peace. You had a lofty soul. You were like King David, with your red hair and beautiful eyes. You put everyone else ahead of yourself.”
Shira Klein, 20, from Yakir, who was injured in the same incident, is still hospitalized in Jerusalem in a medically induced coma.
The Israel Police and the Shin Bet security agency are investigating the incident. The evidence shows that Khaled Koutineh, 37, a resident of northern Jerusalem, was driving from the center of Jerusalem toward the French Hill neighborhood when he suddenly swerved into a bus station. He hit Sherki and Klein, who were sitting at the station, with great force and then reversed and hit a traffic light pole.
Yair Sherki, Shalom’s brother, said he is convinced the incident was a deliberate act of terrorism.
“I saw the photos from the attack. I have no doubt that this was not an accident. No gag order will change that,” he said.
Upon his release from the hospital, Koutineh denied having deliberately attacked the two victims. He was placed under arrest and his remand was extended by five days, during which he will be given a psychiatric evaluation. Koutineh’s attorney asserted that “this was a regular car accident. It was raining heavily at the time.”