Beyond Images - Briefing 12 Perspectives on the Arab-Israeli Conflict 

ISRAELI FAMILIES DEVASTATED: The human reality of terrorism

London - updated 2 May 2004
Beyond Images Ref: 12

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  • It is all too easy to reduce the human anguish which Israel has experienced in the last three years of the intifada to statistics.

  • But behind the statistics lies terrible human suffering. Many Palestinian attacks have killed not only individuals but many members of families at the same time. Here are some harrowing examples:-

  • Family Hatuel - 5 killed: On 2 May 2004 gunmen from Islamic Jihad and from a faction of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement attacked a vehicle being driven by Tali Hatuel (34 years old, and 8 months pregnant) towards the Gaza Strip settlement of Gush Katif. She and her four daughters Hila (11), Merav (9) Roni (7) and Merav (2) were shot dead: according to Israeli investigators, the gunmen approached the crashed vehicle after the initial attack and shot the survivors at close range.

  • Family Schijveschuurder - 5 killed: On 9 August 2001 19 Israelis were killed and 130 injured when a suicide bomber blew up the Sbarro pizza house in central Jerusalem . Among the victims: husband and wife Mordechai and Tzira Schijveschuurder and three of their children, Ra'aya (14), Avraham (4) and Hemda (2).

  • Family Ben-Shalom - 3 killed: On 25 August 2001 Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the car of the Ben-Shalom family as they were returning from Jerusalem on Saturday night to the town of Modi'in . Yaniv Ben-Shalom (27) and his wife Sharon (26) were killed, and their children, aged 2 and 1, lightly injured. Sharon 's brother Doron (20) died the next day.

  • Family Nehmad - 8 killed: On 2 March 2002 11 Israelis were killed and over 50 were wounded by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem , as they were leaving a Sabbath bar-mitzvah gathering. The bomber detonated his bomb next to a group of women waiting with their baby carriages for their husbands to leave a nearby synagogue. The victims included 8 members of the Nehmad family from Rishon Lezion: Shlomo and his wife Gafnit, their daughters Shiraz (7) and Liran (3); and their nieces and nephews Shaul (15), Lidor (12), Oriah (18 months), and Avraham (17) who died of his wounds three months later.

  • Family Gavish - 4 killed: A Hamas infiltrator entered the settlement of Elon Moreh on 28 March 2002 , killing 4 members of the Gavish family - David and Rachel Gavish, their son Avraham (20) and Rachel's father.

  • Family Koren - 3 killed: A Hamas suicide bomber killed 15 people and injured over 40 when he blew up the Matza restaurant in Haifa on March 31 2002 . Among the victims were Shimon Koren (55) and his sons Ran (18) and Gal (15).

  • Family Ron - 3 killed: The same Matza restaurant bombing also claimed the lives of three members of the Ron family - Aviel Ron (50), his daughter Anat (21), and son Ofer (18).

  • Family Shabo - 4 killed: A terrorist infiltrated the settlement of Itamar on 20 June 2002 , killing 4 members of the Shabo family in their home - Rachel Shabo (40) and three of her sons Neria (16), Tzvika (12) and Avishai (5). Two other Shabo family children were injured, in an attack claimed by both the PFLP and the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

  • Family Shilon - 3 killed: On July 16 2002 nine people were killed and 20 injured when terrorists (dressed as Israeli army soldiers) attacked a bus just outside the town of Emmanuel . They exploded a charge next to the bus and then shot passengers as they tried to escape. Four Palestinian groups claimed responsibility. Among the victims were three generations of the Shilon family - Gal Shilon (32), his 8 month daughter Sarah Tiferet, and her grandmother Zilpa Kashi (65).

  • Family Dikstein - 3 killed: On July 26 2002 , Yosef Dikstein (45), his wife Hannah (42), and their son Shevu'el (9) were killed when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on their car south of Hebron .

  •   Family Ohayon - 3 killed : on November 10 2002 , a terrorist infiltrated Kibbutz Metzer in central Israel , broke into the Ohayon family home, and shot dead Rachel Ohayon (34) and her two sons Noam (5) and Matan (4) while she was reading them a bedtime story. The Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility (See Briefing Images Briefing 22 Kibbutz Metzer)

  • Family Almog - 5 killed: On 4 October 2003 a female suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad killed 20 people at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa . Among the victims were five members of the Almog family: Moshe Almog (43) and his son Tomer (9), grandparents Ze'ev Almog (71) and Ruth Almog (70), and another grandson Assaf (10).

  • Family Zer-Aviv - 5 killed: the Maxim restaurant attack also claimed the lives of five members of the Zer-Aviv family from Kibbutz Yagur: Betzalel (30) and his wife Keren (29), their two children Liran (4) and Noyah (1) and grandmother Bruriah (59).

  • On 9 September 2003 Dr David Applebaum , head of the Emergency Unit at Sha'are Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem was killed in a Hamas suicide attack on the Café Hillel, together with his daughter Nava, on the night before her wedding.

  • Husbands and wives have been shot dead in front of their children.

  • Brothers and sisters have lost their lives together.

  • Babies have been killed together with their young mothers.

  • Grandparents and grandchildren have died together.

  • Fathers and mothers have arrived at the scene of attacks to find their children dying from their wounds.


  • The devastation of Israeli families by Palestinian terror has left a deep legacy of anguish and bitterness.

  • Close-knit Israeli communities, medical teams, rabbis and social workers are doing their best to support surviving family members (often themselves terribly injured) to recover from these desperate events.

  • Israel continues to demand that the Palestinians take genuine steps to end the terror. In the light of atrocities of the sort described above, this demand is not hard to understand. Until the Palestinians take such steps, Israel will not have any confidence that the Palestinians can be partners in building in a more peaceful, secure future.