TEL AVIV (Oct. 3)
Some 30 yachts left Haifa and Tel Aviv at dawn today, on a memorial cruise to Larnaca in Cyprus to hold a solemn service beside the Israeli yacht aboard which its owner, Haifa’s Carmel Yacht Club member Reuven Paltsur, his wife, Esther, and their friend, Avraham Avneri, were murdered in cold blood by three PLO terrorists last week on the day of Yom Kippur.
After laying wreaths on the yacht, which is still tied up at the berth in the marina where it was attacked, the Israeli yachtsmen will return to Israel, sailing in two tight parallel lines with Paltsur’s yacht at the head of the lines on its return to its home port in the Haifa marina. The yacht will be manned by the Paltsurs’ son, Yohai, who was on another yacht cruise when his parents were murdered, and friends of the slain couple.
Carmel Yacht Club Commodore Zvi Shafer said before the flotilla left: “The purpose is primarily to pay tribute to friends and members of our club who were brutally murdered in Larnaca. But it is also to show ourselves and others that we will continue sailing, and that we expect the seas to remain open to all who wish to sail on them.
“There is always an element of danger, and unhappily we are faced with the sort of opposition which means that wherever Israelis go there is always an element of danger. But we have got to learn to live with it. We don’t want to play into the hands of those who would have us bottled up inside the country.”
The yachtsmen will hold a Sabbath eve ceremony aboard their yachts Friday night, returning to Israel Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the Cypriot government has not yet agreed to release the Paltsurs’ yacht, but is is hoped that an Israeli undertaking to release the boat if it is required in Cyprus for evidence in the trial of the terrorists will enable Yohai Paltsur to bring it back home.