JWR Wandering Jews

Jewish World Review June 12, 2002 / 2 Tamuz, 5762


Great balls of fire

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | It was to have been the perfect summer vacation.

After a grueling season as the director general of the world famous Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team, Arieh Hershkovitz, and his wife, Maazal, would finally be getting away from it all. Their destination: Greece.

A friend, Chaim, who himself had just returned from the enchanted holiday spot, was at the couple's home offering some last minute tips. The TV was blaring in the background.

With school out, and teens being teens -- whether in America or Israel -- the Hershkovitz's daughter, Hadar, 15, had a less exotic destination in mind: the mall. She was heading there with a friend, to beat the dry Middle East heat.

The stores at Lev Haair cater to the lifestyles of those who live in this posh Tel Aviv suburb, where many ambassadors to Israel make their homes. Still, despite all of the high-priced and elegant eateries in town, it was at Mifgash Hasharon Jamil felafel and shwarma stand, in the shadow of Herzliya City Hall, that one really had to wait for service.

In fact, a "walk-up" window had to be installed for the impatient and those in a hurry.

The haunt was Hadar's favorite. And with her parents busy, she and her friend decided to eat out before spending the night "hanging out."

Hadar was waiting in line, when a bearded Arab in a green shirt approached the counter and asked for a glass of water. He then calmly pushed the button that blew up his body, releasing a bomb belt of nails and other deadly materials. Before he did so, he shouted, according to witnesses, "Allahu Akbar!" (G-d is great!)

Hadar and the terrorist began to squirm on the sidewalk, as their source of life stained the pavement beneath them. Shattered glass, overturned tables and sprayed blood on potted plants can still be seen here.

The terrorist, who was reduced to a headless torso, died instantly.

When word of the bombing flashed across his TV, Arieh Hershkovitz immediately dialed his daughter's cell-phone. When there was no answer, he and his wife feared the worst, but prayed that they were wrong. When they arrived at the hospital, Hadar was already on the operating table. The soccer team soon joined them.

But no surgery was needed to be performed.

Fifteen others were injured in the attack last night, including a father and his 11 year-old son, who suffered serious eye injuries. Unexploded bomb components were found at the scene. Poor fusing and incompetence, no doubt, averted worse carnage.

Three weeks ago, a "mega-attack" was aborted at the Pi Glilot fuel and gas storage facility, which is just minutes away.

This is the 19th terrorist attack in the Tel Aviv region since Intafada II began, 20 months ago.

Hadar Hershkovitz, 15, will be buried today at Noon IST in Herzliya. The soccer ball that she loved to watch when her father's team played in Tel Aviv, will now be but a memory; replaced by the "great ball of fire" a "courageous" Arab team player scored with.

  —   Harvey Tannenbaum

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Harvey Tannenbaum resides in Efrat and is the president of Protexsia Plus. To comment, please click here.

© 2002, Harvey Tannenbaum