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Peace and Conflict

Wife of Radlett's Rabbi Leo Dee dies after West Bank attack

The mother of two British-Israeli girls has died three days after her daughters were killed in an attack in the West Bank

Source: Watford Observer

The death of Lucy Dee came on April 10, a day after the funeral of her daughters Rina, 15, and Maia, 20. All were described as “idealistic, pure-hearted and kind”.

Rabbi Leo Dee told a press conference from Efrat Settlement, West Bank, that his daughters Rina and Maia were killed by 20 bullets from a Kalashnikov rifle and his wife Lucy was shot twice, on April 7.

He was formerly the senior rabbi at Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire and assistant rabbi in Hendon, north London.

Rabbi Dee said he had been informed of an attack and called his family before realising he had received a missed call from his daughter Maia.

He said at the press conference, broadcast on the BBC: “I hadn’t noticed it ring, I hadn’t picked up the phone, the feeling she called me during the attack and I wasn’t able to speak to her will come back and haunt me for a while.”

The Radlett United Synagogue told the PA news agency: “The Radlett Jewish community is devastated at the terrible news of Rebbetzen Lucy Dee’s passing, in addition to the deaths of her and Rabbi Leo Dee’s daughters, Maia and Rina.

“The community greatly admired the inspiring Dee family during their time at Radlett. Lucy and her daughters were idealistic, pure-hearted and kind.

“We and the world have been robbed of their presence, but their light can never be extinguished. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Rabbi Leo and his children, Keren, Tali and Yehudah.”

The rabbi said that he saw a photograph on Instagram of his car with a bullet hole in it, with the family’s suitcases with blood on them, and drove “like a lunatic” to the scene.

He said that he was able to identify his daughter Maia at the scene after police produced her identity card, and he then drove to the hospital where his wife had been taken.

He said: “I went numb. I didn’t cry yet, I was highly rational.

“I drove another hour and a half to the hospital.

“Lucy had had two bullets – one through the brain stem and one lodged at the top of her spine.

“There was an operation. There was reason for hope. But alas our family of seven is now a family of four.”

Rabbi Dee described his wife and daughters as “three beautiful innocent young ladies in the prime of their lives” and urged people to post images of the Israeli flag on social media in their memory.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the British Jewish community have expressed their condolences to the family.

Mr Netanyahu posted on Twitter: “On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I send my heartfelt condolences to the Dee family on the death of the mother of the family, the late Leah (Lucy), who was murdered in the severe attack in the Bekaa last Friday, along with her two daughters Maya and the late Rina.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews posted: “Our hearts go out to the Dee family at the terrible news that Lucy Dee has now also passed away after the Palestinian terror attack on Friday that killed two of her daughters, Maia and Rina. May their memories be for eternal blessing.”

Mrs Dee, 45, was seriously injured in the attack on their car near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank on Friday and on Monday, Israel’s Hadassah hospital announced that she had died, according to reports by AP.

The sisters were born in London and the family moved to Israel in 2014, according to The Telegraph.

The family lived in the Efrat settlement, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, according to the settlement’s mayor, Oded Revivi.

The three family members were among six people caught up in the attack carried out by Palestinian assailants.

The family was in one of three cars on their way to Tiberias in the Galilee for a family holiday.

In footage from the funeral on Sunday, broadcast on Sky News, Rabbi Dee said: “Maia and Rina, you have loved us, you have inspired us, and in turn we will love you forever.

“May your souls be bound in the bond of eternal life.

“And may we, and no-one else in the world, ever know so much sorrow.”