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Family and Fellow Students Bury Kidnapped Settler Youth

June 30, 2006
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On Wednesday, Miriam Asheri pleaded for the release of her kidnapped son. On Thursday, she buried him. Eliyahu Asheri, 18, from the West Bank settlement of Itamar, was abducted Sunday by a Palestinian terrorist group called the Popular Resistance Committees. Soon after, according to Israeli officials, he was shot in the head and buried in a field near Ramallah.

“He was so gentle,” Miriam Asheri said. “It always felt so good to talk to him.”

She said Eliyahu was always speaking out for others, trying to make peace.

“Whenever there was a fight, he would always say, ‘Stop, everyone should have their place,’ ” Asheri said.

Thousands of people attended Eliyahu’s funeral on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Eliyahu was a yeshiva student in Neveh Tzuf, a West Bank settlement, and planned to join the army after completing his studies. He vanished Sunday night after trying to hitchhike.

Fellow students helped launch a search for him. Early Tuesday morning, following information from an arrested Palestinian, the Israeli army found Eliyahu’s body.

On Wednesday, one of the kidnappers showed a copy of Eliyahu’s identification card and threatened the teen would be “butchered in front of TV cameras” if Israel did not stop its operation in the Gaza Strip to save another kidnapped Israeli, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19.

Eliyahu was remembered as an especially positive and friendly youth. In photos he is seen with a bright, wide smile.

Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim, head of Eliyahu’s yeshiva, eulogized the teen as fellow students wept.

“Eliyahu, you were like my son and a brother to your fellow students. I can’t look at the empty chair you used to occupy,” Nissim said.

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