NEW YORK — The tearful widow and representatives of Israel, Egypt and Italy heard terrorist victim Leon Klinghoffer eulogized Monday as another Jonah who was cast into the sea and returned to land.
Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum said Klinghoffer's death was not the will of God.
"There is no justification for Leon's murder," he said. "Like Klinghoffer, Jonah, too, was cast into the sea and found his way back to dry land.".
Klinghoffer's widow, Marilyn, arrived at her husband's funeral at Manhattan's Shaaray Tefila temple escorted by her daughters, Ilsa and Lisa. She blew a kiss to the coffin before being seated.
Klinghoffer, 69, was shot by Palestinian terrorists aboard the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro on Oct. 8 off the coast of Syria, one day after the terrorists hijacked the vessel and demanded freedom for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.
Body Washed Ashore
The wheelchair-bound Kling-hoffer, on a holiday cruise with his wife, was flung into the Mediterranean Sea. His body washed ashore on the coast of Syria several days later and was flown to Rome for an autopsy.
His flag-draped casket was returned to the United States on Sunday and met by a military honor guard, family and diplomats.
Tattelbaum described Klinghoffer as a "Mr. Fixit" who continued to perform household tasks after his stroke even though it was "10 times as hard."
Tattelbaum, who has been the family rabbi for 20 years, said there were three miracles after "this Holocaust of one"--the rapid discovery of the body, Syria's quick release of the body and the apprehension of the murderers.
Seated across from Marilyn Klinghoffer in the first row were Gov. Mario Cuomo, Mayor Edward I. Koch and both New York senators, Republican Alfonse M. D'Amato and Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Also attending were Michael Newlin, acting undersecretary of state; Imbar Herzl, Israel's deputy consul general; Pierluigi Squillante, Italy's deputy consul general, and Salah Selim of the Egyptian Consulate.