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The Schmooze

Thousands Attend Funeral of Murdered Rabbi

Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira was laid to rest on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, following his stabbing murder by a visitor to the Yeshiva in Beer Sheva where the rabbi was greeting guests just after midnight Friday morning.

Thousands attended the funeral procession of the revered Kabbalist, which began in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Meah Shearim in Jerusalem. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas eulogized Abuchatzeira, and Israelis Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar were also in attendance, as were many Haredi religious and political leaders.

Abuchatzeira, 62, was the grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (known as the Baba Sali), who was a leader of the large aliyah of Moroccan Jews in the 1950s and thought to be a miracle worker.

The rabbi was allegedly stabbed by 42-year-old Asher Dahan, who apparently had come to ask for a blessing from the Kabbalist. When Dahan came close to Abuchatzeira, he stabbed him in the chest and abdomen. The rabbi was rushed to Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, but he died on en route as paramedics tried to save him.

Dahan ran away from the scene, but he was caught by others who were at the Yeshiva who chased him and turned him over the police. He was arrested and will remain in custody until a hearing scheduled for August 10. In the meantime, Judge Amit Cohen of the Beer Sheva Magistrates’ Court has ordered that Dahan undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Ynet reports that in November 2009, a Beer Sheva youth was arrested on the suspicion that he had planned to stab Abuchatzeira. The person was stopped by a guard at the rabbi’s house. Members of the religious community in the city speculated that the attempted attack was in response to a failed blessing given by Abuchatzeira to a childless man seeking help in becoming a father, or in relation to a political squabble the rabbi was involved in concerning the election of the chairman of Beer Sheva’s religious council.

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