Israel Vows 'to Build' on Fogel Murder Anniv.

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israelis have experienced many horrific terror attacks over the years, but some linger in the memory more than others.

The Fogel family murder is one of them. It's a story of faith and courage in the midst of hatred and terrorism.

Sunday marked two years on the Hebrew calendar since two Arab teenagers breached the security fence around the Samarian Jewish community of Itamar to brutally slay five members of the Fogel family.

Itamar is a community that Palestinian Arabs don't want included in any final deal with Israel.

Late on a Friday evening when the family had retired for the night, Amjad Awad and his cousin, Hakim Awad, entered the Fogel home through a window. Once inside, they slashed and stabbed to death Rabbi Udi Fogel and his wife, Ruth, and three of their six children: Yoav, 11, Elad, 4 and three-month-old Hadas.

During the investigation, trial, and sentencing, neither of the young men showed remorse. In fact they said they made no distinction between adults and children. They added they would have murdered the three surviving siblings had they found them.

On Sunday, friends and family, joined by Knesset members, senior IDF officers, and rabbis, gathered at a memorial service near Itamar to console and encourage one another and honor the memory of those who'd been slain.

Israel's response to terror attacks has often been to build something new.

Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika told attendees when the residents of Awarta hear the sound of tractors, they'll realize "am Yisrael chai," the people of Israel live.

"The construction here in Itamar in Samaria is a fitting answer," Mesika said. "Let the murderers and their friends in Awarta hear the sound of the tractors and construction equipment and they'll understand that the people of Israel live."

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz echoed Mesika's sentiments.

"The murderers wanted to sow fear and cause flight and abandonment," Katz told participants at the memorial. "The legacy of the murder victims obligates us to strengthen our commitment to the Land of Israel and to the settlement in the entire land of the Bible."

Last year, on the first anniversary of the massacre, Itamar erected a new study hall for the yeshiva (Torah seminary) where Rabbi Fogel taught, dedicating it to his and his family's memory. At this year's ceremony, residents laid a cornerstone for a new dormitory to house students studying at the yeshiva.

Two days after the murders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the family the government approved 500 new homes for Itamar, saying "they murder, we build."

Meanwhile, the three surviving children, Tamar, 14, Roi, 10, and Yishai, 4, are being raised by their maternal grandparents, Rabbi Yehuda and Tali Ben-Yishai.

"What happened was so inhumane that we have gained superhuman strength," their grandmother told Yisrael Hayom. "We know these children will be great people. They will be alright. They will not be damaged."

"They're not in trauma anymore," she continued. "Some children are afraid of what happens around them, but they're not like that."

She added that she and her husband had "gone back to being young again."

"We've been given a gift and we've gained something," their grandmother said. "The children give us a lot of strength and I don't know whether we give more to them or they give more to us."

It's hard for most people to fathom that kind of faith -- and courage. Some say it's not about forgetting, but it is about forgiving and believing the many verses describing God's promises to the Jewish people, as the prophet Ezekiel wrote thousands of years ago.

"Therefore say, thus says the Lord God, 'I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." (Ezekiel 11:17)

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CBN News
Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.