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 finished the shloshim, or, month of mourning, for the three teenaged rabbinical students who were murdered here while playing basketball, when last night, tragedy struck once 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 the sound of 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, family members who were at home, were shot with an automatic weapon after the terrorist forced himself into their house.

She had witnessed it all.

"PLEASE, abba [daddy], come home quick!" she wailed into the receiver. "They are dying."

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 to protect her.

It was futile.

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

The crying 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 bombarded with bullets in his stomach.

As Rachel lay dying, she watched her would be protector, 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 beginning to 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 Shabos' home was somehow set ablaze.

When Boaz Shabo finally arrived at the town's gate, he was met by the hamlet's rabbi. His worst nightmare was confirmed. Immediately, Boaz tore his jacket four times, as a mourning sign for each family member.

Instead of Sabbath candles being lit by his wife, this week before sundown Boaz Shabo will light four yahrtzeit (memorial) ones.

The dead will be burried a few hundred feet from Boaz's destroyed home, in which he will not even be able to observe the shiva mourning ritual.

  —   Harvey Tannenbaum

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© 2002, Harvey Tannenbaum