The heartbroken rabbi whose British-Israeli wife and two daughters were killed in a brutal West Bank drive-by shooting has revealed the pride he has in his family.
Rabbi Leo Dee also praised the UK government for standing ‘unequivocally against terror’ after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly condemned the ‘senseless violence’.
Mr Dee’s daughters Rina and Maia, aged 15 and 20, were killed by 20 bullets from a Kalashnikov rifle and his wife Lucy was shot twice as they drove up the Jordan Valley for a Passover holiday on Lake Galilee on April 7.
Mrs Dee was airlifted to hospital but succumbed to her injuries three days later. Mr Dee tragically described how their ‘family of seven is now a family of four’.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Dee – formerly the senior rabbi at Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire and assistant rabbi in Hendon, north London – said: ‘I’m extremely proud of all of them.’
Rabbi Leo Dee (pictured), whose British-Israeli wife and two daughters were killed in a brutal West Bank drive-by shooting, has revealed the pride he has in his family
Mother Lucy Dee left, died as a result of her injuries following the drive-by shooting, three days after her daughters Rina (centre) and Maia (right) were killed in the attack
Rabbi Leo Dee also praised the UK government for standing ‘unequivocally against terror’ after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly condemned the ‘senseless violence’
Mr Dee had been driving ahead of his wife and two daughters in a separate car with two of his children.
Tragically, suspected Palestinian gunmen shot down the car which had Mrs Dee and her two daughters in it. After forcing the car off the road, the terrorists stopped and continued to fire at them.
Mr Dee described the pain of attempting to contact the three but he was unable to get hold of them. The rabbi’s son then saw a photo of the car in which the pair suddenly spotted their suitcases covered in blood.
Despite Lucy being airlifted to a hospital in Jerusalem, she never regained consciousness and died on April 10.
She donated her organs after her death and has already saved five lives, including an Arab – something Mr Dee said was ‘significant to us because Lucy was very much into peaceful relations with our neighbours and I think she would have been very proud that she saved the life of an Arab’.
Mr Dee described his wife as an ‘exceptional human being’, adding: ‘She was a community builder, she was someone who gave and that was really her defining feature.
‘The kids picked up from that and they’ve learnt to give.
‘She [Lucy] would stay up all night talking to girls, particularly girls who were struggling in the group and she would try and help them through their difficulties. She was just busy, busy the whole time. I’m extremely proud of all of them.’
Family members mourn next to the bodies of Maya and Rina during their funeral in the Israeli settlement of Kfar Etzion in the West Bank
Israeli medics and policemen check a damaged car at the scene of the April 7 shooting attack
British sisters Maia (left) and Rina (right) were murdered in a West Bank drive-by shooting on Friday
Following the shocking attack – which came amid rising violence in the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli factions – Foreign Secretary James Cleverly publicly called for the brutality to end.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘Tragic news that Leah Dee has also died following the abhorrent attacks in the West Bank. There can be no justification for the murder of Leah and her two daughters, Maia and Rina. We will continue to work with the Israeli authorities to end this senseless violence.’
Rabbi Dee praised Mr Cleverly for condemning the attack – something he labelled as the ‘Cleverly Declaration’ – taking inspiration from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 where Britain said it would support the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine.
‘I feel that statement, saying that Britain stands unequivocally against violence and against terror, is a landmark in British history in terms of the way it’s dealt with the State of Israel,’ Mr Dee said.
He described previous condemnation of violence as ‘wishy-washy’ but hopes the change in attitude can be the ‘beginning of a new cycle of peace’.
Mr Dee admitted that he does not ‘hold any hate’ towards the attackers who killed his family, but he hopes they will be brought to justice to prevent another attack from taking place.
Friends and family members of Maia and Rina mourn during their funerals last Sunday
An aerial view shows friends and family of Maia and Rina gathering for their funeral
Relatives lean over the shrouded bodies of the sisters in grief at their funeral on Easter Sunday
Thousands of mourners have travelled far and wide to pay their respects to the three victims of the West Bank shooting – bringing food to the family Shiva, the seven-day period of mourning in Judaism.
Heartbreaking photos from the sisters’ funeral on Easter Sunday showed Mr Dee and other family members crying while leaning over the bodies wrapped in cloth – both embroidered with a Star of David.
Israel’s Prime Minister, who has strongly condemned the attack, is among those who have been to see the grieving family.
‘Now your wife and daughters will live on through you,’ Benjamin Netanyahu told Dee, the Times of Israel reports.
The shooting earlier this month came amid escalating violence in in response to clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem.
Violent scenes showed police using weapons to beat worshippers barricaded in the mosque, who retaliated by shooting fireworks and throwing stones.
Following the death of Lucy, Rina and Maia Dee, Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy and injured two others in a raid on a refugee camp near Jericho in the occupied West Bank.
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