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Ohio Community Rallies Behind Mother of Two Children Slain by Father

The Jewish community of Columbus, Ohio, has set up a fund to help the mother of two children slain in Israel by their father pay for their funerals.

The bodies of Sara and Yishai Levy, 10 and 11, will be brought to Columbus from Israel for burial. The mother has been identified as Karen Levy, a teacher at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus and a Texas native, the Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday.

Israeli media are under a gag order preventing them from identifying the family.

Sara and Yishai, who were dual American-Israeli citizens, were stabbed to death by their father on June 11, hours after arriving in Israel to spend summer vacation with him.

The Jewish Federation of Columbus reportedly made the legal arrangements to have the bodies brought back to Ohio for burial and arranged for grief counseling for the children’s family, school friends and neighbors, Gordon Hecker, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, told the Columbus Dispatch.

“We’re all grieving. Our entire community is grieving,” Rabbi Avi Goldstein of Beth Jacob Congregation, where Karen Levy and her children were members, told the Dispatch. “The Jewish community is one big family, and we come together for each other at all times and especially at a time like this.”

The Levys’ father, reportedly named Avi, contacted police late June 11 to tell them what he had done at his home in the moshav of Yashresh in central Israel, about three miles south of Ramle. He reportedly told police he killed the children in order to take revenge on his ex-wife for divorcing him.

Under the reported terms of the couple’s 3-year-old divorce agreement, the children were required to visit their father in Israel twice a year.

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