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Hundreds of people pay tribute to Habstom Zarhum

Hundreds of people pay tribute to Habstom Zarhum


ISRAEL – Close to 2000 Eritreans and Israelis gathered on Wednesday evening, at Levinsky Park, South of Tel Aviv, to pay tribute to Habtom Zarhum, an Eritrean shot dead in Beersheva, on October 18. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, represented by Fr David Neuhaus, offered its condolences and support to the kins of the young man.


On October 18, Habstom Zarhum, a 29-year-old asylum seeker, was waiting for his bus at Beersheva Bus Station. It was then that a man, after having stabbed a soldier, picks up his weapon and starts shooting at the crowd, wounding many of them. Police intervened, killed the assailant, but in the all-out confusion a security agent shot at Habstom by mistake, taking him for an accomplice in the attack. Wounded, lying on the ground, the young man was attacked, insulted and hit by a raging crowd. Evacuated then by an ambulance, he succumbed to his injuries.

On Wednesday a mourning crowd gathered at Levinsky Park to pay tribute to him. His Christian Eritrean brothers lit up candles shaping a cross on the soil, others brought wreaths of flowers.

Several religious figures spoke in front of the assembly. Father Semreab of the Orthodox Eritrean Church addressed the Eritreans in Tigrigna language, urging them to remain firm in their faith, despite the turmoil. After him, Fr Medhin of the Catholic Gueze Church, then Fr David Neuhaus, who is in charge of the Migrants Pastoral of the Latin Patriarchate.

Fr David Neuhaus prayed in Hebrew together with the crowd, “these sad people should continue to hope”, asking the Lord to allow each and everyone to continue to live without falling into despair. He implored God to “purify the hearts of those who across one evening showed so much hatred”. Reminding that hatred and violence do not carry fruit, he exhorted each to keep “an open heart, full of love, for it could help us get out of this situation”.

“In the name of the Catholic Church and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, I send my condolences and express my support to all kins of Habstom Zarhum as well as to families of those killed over the last days”

Habstom Zarhum is one more victim of the cycle of violence, which has been tearing up the Holy Land for the past three weeks. Fifty victims were killed from both sides, Israelis & Palestinians.


Calixte Des Lauriers