In the three weeks prior to May 19, the Israel Defense Forces reported 299 terror attacks ó not just bombings but shootings, knifings, assaults and hit-and-run car attacks ó among other incidents and foiled threats.
The number of Israeli casualties since September 2000, the outbreak of the second intifada, has reached 6,177, with 778 killed and 5,399 injured.
Here are portraits of some Israeli victims from terror attacks this month based on reports from the Israeli government and Israeli newspapers, as well as contributions from Harvey Tannenbaum, an Internet diarist in Efrat.
Roni Yisraeli, 34, looked forward to May 19, not knowing it would be the day he would die when a suicide bomber blew up his bus. Roni, a supermarket clerk, was promoted recently to night manager of the Har Nof Supersol in Jerusalem, and the promotion was scheduled to begin that day. The bombing killed seven and injured 20.
ìAbba wonít be home tonight,î Roniís 8-year-old daughter, Eden, explained to her 2-year-old sister, Shir, in front of TV cameras that came to witness the mourning. ìNow we will write only Imaís [Mommyís] name on the mail box. I drew a big picture with a television for Abba because he always watched television.î Roni narrowly avoided death six months earlier in Kiryat Yovel when he could not catch the No. 20 bus and it was bombed shortly after. He is survived by his wife and daughters.
Kiryl Shremko, 22, was killed May 19 at the Afula mall on his first day of work as the mallís security guard. At the mallís entrance, he became suspicious of a young Arab woman who turned out to be a suicide bomber. Confronted and blocked by Kiryl, she ignited the bomb, killing three and injuring 70. But Kiryl saved countless lives, as it was the eve of Lag bíOmer and the mall was crowded with 2,500 people.
Kiryl emigrated from Russia three years ago, served in the IDF and lived on Kibbutz Ramat David with other immigrant soldiers who had no families in Israel. Anita Katz of the kibbutz said, ìHe came to us two years ago, completely alone. He was like a son to me.î Zvika Levy, in charge of lone immigrant soldiers in the kibbutz movement, recommended that Kiryl work as a security guard. Zvika ran into him at the mall, by chance, right before the bombing. Kiryl joked, ìZvika, you canít go in.î Zvika recalled, ìI wanted to invite him for a drink, but he said he was on duty. After I left, I heard that an immigrant employed as a guard had been killed Ö I knew it was him. It was impossible not to like him.î
Kiryl was buried in Afula following the arrival of his parents and 12-year-old brother.
Zion David, 53, was killed May 11 in a roadside ambush near Ofra. Zion had stopped at Ofra for morning prayers and was driving to work when he was trapped in the ambush and shot in the head. Zion lived in Givat Zeev, doing earthwork on construction projects in the area. Friends described him as a quiet family man always ready to help people. His son Avraham, one of six children, was wounded in a shooting attack in 2001 near Atarot. Zion is survived by his wife, Esther, and children.
Gideon Lichterman, 27, was killed May 5 when terrorists fired at his car near Shvut Rachel in Samaria. His daughter, Moriah, 6, and a reserve soldier were seriously wounded. Gideon left the car to get help but died in the brush nearby. Gideon, originally from Haifa, served in the IDF, studied in yeshiva and dreamed of developing his small agricultural settlement of Ahiya, where he helped plant an olive grove and built an olive press. He is survived by his wife, Liat, pregnant with their second child, and Moriah.
- security guard
- Gideon Lichterman
- Harvey Tannenbaum
- Kiryl Shremko
- Anita Katz
- Zion David
- Roni Yisraeli
- Kiryat Yovel
- Givat Zeev
- Israeli government
- Israel News
- Israel Defense Forces
- Jonathan Mark
- Ramat David