JWR Wandering Jews

Jewish World Review Oct. 23, 2002 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763


Two year-old Naam Chen and
her mother in hospital after
the bus bombing

"Which body
is my child?"

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | On Monday, an SUV primed with a powerful bomb slammed into a commuter bus during rush hour near the Israeli town of Pardes Channa. While most media focus on the political implications of the act -- responsibility was taken by Islamic Jihad -- and the MO of the bombing, below, we tell the stories of some of those lost. (At this writing there are still many bodies that have yet to be identified.)

Monday was the eve of Miri Tobul's wedding. As the bride and her mother exited the mikvah ritualarium, they noticed a message had been left on their cell phone. It was from Miri's sister, Sharon, a new inductee in the Israel Defense Forces.

Sharon's voice crackled with excitement. Her superiors had finally granted permission for the new G. I. Jane to be released 12 hours early in order help with the wedding preparations. She was calling from the road.

The news was more than relief for the three Tobul women. For the Tobuls', there was no Father of the Bride. Exactly a year and one day earlier, Miri's father had died. In keeping with Jewish custom, she postponed her nuptials, waiting for the very first moment after the mourning period to start her new life. Miri would thus go from mourning to mirth.

And now, her sister would be able to be at her side through the most hectic part of the process. The family would, thankfully, be united at a time when cohesiveness was of such import. Everything was finally falling into place.

Hanging up the phone, the mother and daughter decided to turn on the radio. Though they had tuned in the middle of a broadcast, they immediately knew something was amiss. The announcer's tone was mournful. In this small country, all are family.

They called Sharon's cell phone. There was no answer.

Naam Chen, 2, awoke up this morning from a coma and cried and shouted, "Abba, abba, Aifoh atah!?" (Father, father where are you!?)

The 2 year-old in ICU has been granted her first miracle: The ability to speak and analyze.

The doctors and nurses at Hillel Yafe Hospital cannot do the same.

As a reporter attempts a live interview, all that can be heard on the air are adults in the room choked up, rendered speechless as they look at the sight.

On TV, Naam's 4 year-old brother, Eden can be seen holding her hand as he peers into her tiny eyes.

The country, Jewry and all lovers of Zion pray for Naam bas Ayelet.

Ofra Burger, 56, was visiting her 83 year-old mother in Tiberias on Monday. As she bid farewell, her mother advised: "Take care and watch out!" It was based on more than maternal insecurities. Three months ago, Ofra, a high school math teacher, had flown to Los Angeles to help bury her niece, Vicky Chen, the El AL agent who was gunned down by the LAX terrorist. Today, the Chen family of Los Angeles themselves will be arriving here to pay a shiva call.

Eliezer Moskovitz's parents are wheelchair-bound. The highlight of their day is when their son comes to visit.

On Monday afternoon, Eliezer, 40, phoned from the road saying that he had successfully transferred buses and though having just completed his reserve duty, he would be right over.

Eliezer was named after his grandfather who was burned beyond recognition in Auschwitz' chambers. At this writing, Eliezer, who himself was burned in the bus beyond recognition, is, with the help of DNA tests, being pieced together for burial in Israel.

Tonight, perhaps, he will meet his grandfather in heaven.

Iris Lavie, 68, was on her way back from a day at the beach in Tiberias.

She left Libya at age 15 to live in hopes of living in safety among her co-religionists.

Iris was proud as her brother, Ben Zion Rubin, served in the Knesset for the National Religious Party in the 60s.

Iris' husband, Zion, was with her on the bus and has miraculously "survived" in the ICU.

Today, Iris' 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren will recite the Kaddish prayer in unison for the grandmother who just wanted to go swimming in Lake Kinneret.

Ilona Chanukiv, 20, was only 8 years-old when she and her parents came to the Holy Land from Azerbeijan.

Ilona, who did not see her parents often, was making the two and a half hour trek from Kiryat Shmona to Givat Olga in order to surprise them on their wedding anniversary.

Ilona's sister, Viola, who was in on the surprise, was awaiting the bus that never arrived.

There were three "national policemen" (magavnikim) and three policewomen who were assigned to "guard" and "guide" the memorial for the fallen "national police." Each day, the six would rotate their duties based upon the schedules of the others.

Ayman Saruf, 20, was a Druze soldier in the IDF. He served in the Hebron area and was transferred last week after a car accident took him off active duty there.

Liat Ben Ami, 20, was transferred from her active duty to the Hadera monument memorial two months ago.

Etti Paschov, 19, was in charge of the communications and family support for the fallen Magavnikim at the memorial site. The visiting families would come each day to say their prayers at the memorial/monument while Etti would provide comfort and support as the National Police's liason to the family.

Three weeks ago, Etti brought in two more women National policewomen to replace the policewomen who were killed by terrorists on the Megiddo bus massacre a few months ago, near the monument.

Yesterday, Hyman, Liat, Etti, and the two new policewomen (whose bodies are still unidentified) died together on bus 841. Now there are no soldiers and policewomen to guard the monument and memorial. There are only new names to add along those of the heroes.

Harvey Tannenbaum

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