Seven bombing victims in one family buried
By Etgar Lefkovits
RISHON LEZION (March 4) - One by one, seven members of the same family killed Saturday night in a suicide bombing in the Jerusalem's Beit Yisrael neighborhood were laid to rest yesterday afternoon in Rishon Lezion. Mothers and infants, brothers and sisters, children and toddlers. A grandmother walking from her daughter's newly dug grave to those of her grandchildren.
First came the burials of five members of the Nehmad family from Rishon Lezion, who had come to Jerusalem for a bar mitzva celebration: Shlomo, 40; his wife, Gafnit, 32; and their daughters Shiraz, seven, and Liran, three. The couple's 15-year-old nephew, Shauli Nehmad, who was killed when he went out to bring his family some sacramental wine for the after-Shabbat prayers, was laid to rest minutes later. His brother is in very serious condition in the hospital.
Next came the funerals of the two children of Shlomo's sister, Ronit: Lidor Ilan, 12, and his 18-month-old sister, Oriah. Clutching the pillow that his son last laid his head on, Shimon Ilan sobbed, "I saw him there lying on the ground covered in blood. I cried out, 'My son, don't die, don't die.' "
The couple have one remaining child, Noi, eight, who is recovering from her wounds in the hospital.
Gafnit Nehmad, a worker at the Rishon Lezion Municipality, had had misgivings about coming to Jerusalem, but went anyway to please her family, her boss, David Rahamim, recounted yesterday. Describing her as a woman with an "eternal smile," Rahamim said that when he heard about the attack he immediately called her cellphone, but there was no answer. "I knew in my heart that something terrible had happened," he said.
A neighbor of the family identified only as Leah told Israel Radio that she remembers the couple's two girls waving good-bye and sending her kisses before making the trip to Jerusalem.
"I do not think it is possible to get up from such pain as this," Ilan Etz-Haim, a family member, said of the immense loss.
The seven members of the Nehmad family who perished in Saturday night's bombing were the most members of one family killed in a terror attack since five members of the Schijveschuurder family were killed last August in a suicide bombing at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria.
The two other victims of Saturday night's attack, Tzofia Ya'arit Eliahu, 23, and her seven-month-old son, Ya'acov Avraham Eliahu, from Jerusalem's Beit Yisrael neighborhood, were laid to rest in Moshav Noam, south of Kiryat Gat. The young mother, who was newly religious and had moved to Jerusalem in search of a more spiritual life together with her husband (who was not wounded in the attack), was on her way home down the block from the site of the attack when the bomber set off his explosives.
Her sister, Levana, who was with her, lost sight of Eliahu and the baby. "In a split second they were gone," she said. Eliahu's father-in-law, Nori, said mother and daughter were found dead amid the rubble in each others arms.
Twenty-four hours after the attack, six people remained in serious condition yesterday at Jerusalem's two Hadassah-University Hospitals, including an unconscious seven-year-old boy suffering from second-degree burns, and a 12-year-old boy suffering from severe shrapnel wounds.
ARAFAT's "al-aqsa martyrs" has taken responsability for this barbaric suicide terror attack.