JWR Wandering Jews

Jewish World Review June 21, 2002 / 11 Tamuz, 5762

ITAMAR DIARIST



Home turns to Hell


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | This town of multi-level stone homes in the hills near Nablus had not yet observed the shloshim, or, month of mourning, for the three teenaged rabbinical students who were murdered here while playing basketball, when last night, tragedy struck yet again.

As mothers and daughters prepared for the nearing Sabbath, reenacting a weekly ritual of baking and bonding, outside, under a full-moon sky and with winds hiding his approach, a terrorist trained by The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine infiltrated this area of 500 families.

At about 9:00 pm, Boaz Shabo was en route from Jerusalem, when his cellphone rang. It was his thirteen year-old daughter, Aviya. She was frantic.

One by one, her family members who were at home, had been shot after a terrorist forced himself into her home.

She had witnessed it all.

"PLEASE, abba [daddy], come home quick!" she wailed.

First hit, was her twelve year-old brother, Tzvika, who had been sitting, reviewing the Torah portion for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. When the terrorist took aim at Aviya's mother, Rachel, another brother, Neria, 15, tried to act as a human shield. It was futile.

Avishai, 5, the family's youngest, began shrieking, after he awoke from the commotion. The terrorist then opened fire on his tiny body.

His cries soon stopped.

Aviya was shot in the chest and leg, as she tried to escape the home that turned to Hell. David, who ran to guard his sister, was pummeled with bullets in his stomach.

As Rachel lay dying, she watched Neria gasp his last breath. As his soul departed, she cried out the words of the martyrs, "Shema Yisrael!" When she peered down at her son's now limp body, she saw their blood merge.

Tzvika's last words were: "Shalom, [goodbye], Eema [momma]. I will see you in shamayim [Heaven]."

Before she expired, Rachel had witnessed the murder of three of her children.

As the village's chief of security, Yossi Tuito, engaged in a gun battle with the terrorist -- leaving both of them dead -- the Shabo's home was somehow set ablaze.

When Boaz Shabo finally arrived at the town's gate, he was met by the hamlet's rabbi, who confirmed his worst nightmare. On the spot, he tore his jacket four times, as a mourning sign for each family member, whom he will burry a few hundred feet from his now burnt house, which he will not be able to observe the shiva mourning ritual in.

This week, instead of Sabbath candles being lit by his wife, Boaz Shabo will light four yahrtzeit (memorial) ones.

  —   Harvey Tannenbaum

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© 2002, Harvey Tannenbaum