A Palestinian Suicide Bomber entered the Sbarro Pizza restaurant at Jerusalem's busiest intersection (the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road) and detonated a bomb containing 5-10 kilo of explosives, nails, nuts and bolts -- 15 civilians were killed and 130 wounded.
Among those killed were the parents of the Schijveschuurder family from the Neria community: Mordechai (43), his wife Tzira (41) and 3 of their children; Ra'aya (14), Avraham Yitzhak, (4), and Hemda aged 2.
Channel 10 TV aired the regular "Makor" program in which the remaining members of the family were interviewed last week. (Only a promo is available now)
The TV program documented ten years of failure by all of Israel's systems, to adequately care of the orphaned children - social services, Bituach Leumi (Social security) and the educational system. They fell into a non-existent category and no-one seems to have had the presence of mind to work around that.
The program began with a little biographical detail about the family - olim from Holland. It then moved on to the actual terror attack itself. The three older boys, Ben Tzion (who now lives abroad), Meir and Shvuel were not present. Ben Tzion and Meir were both in the army and Shvuel (who was 16.5 at the time) was on his way back from the Klezmer festival in Tzfat.
The program documented their search for the members of their family in various hospitals, without any outside help from any State service. As Meir did not have any ID proving his connection to one of his sisters, he was not allowed to see her as she lay dying in the operating room, yet minutes later was asked to identify her body.
Meir, an 18/19 year old, ended up organizing the funerals all by himself. The Jerusalem Hevra Kadisha (Burial Society) even had the gall to demand money from him (20,000 shekels - later returned) for two additional burial plots, stating that he could only have three (he had to bury 5 members of his family).
He and his older brother took care of the younger surviving children (the youngest was 8) in the family home with no outside help. At some point the social services tried to take the two younger girls into care, but they objected. Afterwards the girls were sent to live with a distant relative in Switzerland for about a year, but were very unhappy there and came back to Israel. Later they were sent to live with another distant relative in Israel, but that didn't last long either and Meir and his wife took them in, whilst also raising their own young family.
Shvuel seems to have 'fallen between the chairs' perhaps most of all. He is obviously in need of psychological help, and clearly knows that himself, but his attempts to get that help from Bituach Leumi have been rejected.
The program ended with a 'right of reply' statement from Bituach Leumi which the presenters said they had fact checked and found to be lacking on certain points.
Apparently there is a serious problem with people who, as children, lost both parents in terror attacks. (A lady orphaned by the Ma'ale Akrabim masscare briefly mentioned similar problems, and the issue was raised regarding the Fogel family).
The system does not cater for them properly and seems to work on the premise that they will be taken care of by the extended family, but in this case there was not much extended family to help. There is an attempt ongoing to try to change the law, but it is clear that this family has already sustained far too much damage because of the system's shortcomings.
And then...comes the final blow.
The terrorists who planned the attack, go free. Translated from Channel 2.
After they realized their lost battle, the Schijveschuurder family went to the graves of their loved ones - to tell them that those responsible for their murder, are now free.
"We have every intention and desire to take what you see here, break the headstones, remove the remains buried here and take them outside the country who betrayed them," says Meir Schijveschuurder -- his parents and three siblings were killed in the attack at the Sbarro restaurant. "Because the State of Israel betrayed everyone who lies here and there are several hundred of them, only in this area [of the cemetery]."
The Schijveschuurder family, originally from Holland, is one of the families that has paid the heaviest price in the history of terrorism against the State of Israel. Two parents and three of their children were killed in the attack at the Sbarro restaurant, and two other children were seriously injured. When Meir Schijveschuurder learned this week that those who planned the attack, drove the terrorist to Sbarro, and were now released from prison, the son desecrated the monument in memory of Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv in protest. He was arrested and released.
The children tried to appeal their arguments to the Supreme Court, but were also rejected. The brothers say the High Court's ruling was predetermined before hearing any of their claims. "We will not allow terrorists to leave the country! And if they leave the boundaries of the country, the residents of the United States and United Kingdom should know that Israel betrays its population," said Shvuel angrily.
"I lost faith in everything that I felt"
Regaining his composure, Shvuel promised he would avenge the death of his family.
"Unfortunately the State of Israel has a bankrupt legal and ethical system, and they have abandoned the issue of upholding justice for the killers and murderers of my parents -- to me. A victim of a crime has the right to go to make a "price tag" for those who committed the crime and punish him, [when the system doesn't do anything]" says Shvuel.
Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised the brothers that the murderers would rot in jail until the end of their days, but that promise was broken today. "I feel like I was exploding all over again. I feel that what we built over the past 10 years and everything we've been able to constructively do with our bereavement -- I feel that everything we did in those 10 years, rebuilding our lives, is just in vain. Now I lost faith in anything, everything I felt," says Leah Schijveschuurder, the youngest sister, sadly.
The family is very hurt by the atmosphere of joy and jubilation that enveloped the nation in recent days. It would be better that the Shalit family celebrate quietly in their house -- this festival going on is so difficult for us.
As of the writing of this blog post, the orphans of the Schijveschuurder family have announced they are leaving Israel to Holland within 2 months -- during the Makor program, one point one of the daughters cut her Teudat Zehut, her ID card into pieces telling one of the children that she did not need it anymore.
The Schijveschuurder family has been betrayed by Israel; the Palestinian terrorists have won this battle. They physically slaughtered a family, their terrorists were released from prison, they gleefully watched the State ignore the remaining orphans...and cheer as the broken spirits plan to leave forever.
Postscript: Days before the terrorist release, the JPost reported:
On the eve of Tuesday’s swap for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reached out to the families of terror victims, many of whom will watch in horror as the murderers of their loved ones are set free.Meir Schijveschuurder said that to the best of his knowledge, only 200 letters were send out to families of terror victims, explaining the Shalit deal.
"I write to you with a heavy heart," Netanyahu said in an open letter to the families of terror victims. "I understand and know your pain."
Writing that he lost his brother in an operation to free hostages, Netanyahu said, "I know that you have a heavy heart, that your wounds have been opened anew these past days; that your thoughts are not at ease."
Netanyahu said the families "were in my thoughts” during the painful decision-making process and negotiations for Schalit’s return."
"The decision regarding the release of Gilad Schalit was among the most difficult I have made," he wrote. "It is difficult for me for the same reasons it is difficult for you."
The Schijveschuurder orphans did not receive any letter.
Nor were they contacted by any government official during the period before and after the Shalit deal.
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