Thursday, October 27, 2011

Israel's Total Failure: Schijveschuurder Family Plans to Leave Israel

August 9, 2001; 1:55 PM.

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.

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.

"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."
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.

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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Juniper in the Desert said...

Have national socialists taken over Israel?? Are they intent on turning Israel into another concentration camp?? If Jews are safer out of Israel what an indictment of these abominable socialist kapos!!

Anonymous said...

reading this post leaves me bawling like a baby. I read your blog once in a while but have never posted. this leaves me with a huge hole in my heart and shows the deep deep wounds that the terrorists create. Many times we focus on the # of people killed in terrorist attacks. What is unfortunately overlooked is all those who may have physically survived but are slowly dying and losing their daily life and struggle to live because of the either physical or mental damage caused by the attacks. All agencies in Israel should be ashamed reading this. I do hope and pray that someone does reach out and provide this family with the psychological help they so desperately need.

Moshe said...

It comes at no surprise that this poor family was lost in the all the red tape.

The question is, where were the community?
Where were all the Chesed organizations etc?
Where were the people of Neria?
Is there no rav or leader who could have stepped in to take charge at those crucial moments?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Moshe: Not every community knows how to step up to bat at these crucial, when the parents and half the family are murdered -- the community and rabbis/leaders need to find the kids, ASAP.

They might not have known. And thats the first hour after the attack; what about the livayot? What about the past 10 years?!

This was probably one of the hardest blog post I ever wrote...

Anonymous said...

Something like the government saying "we know your pain and want to add to it"

yaak said...

Very sad on so many levels. Thanks for posting, Jameel.

realRightWinger said...

I heard someone say, that the family is going to hire a killer to kill the Terrorist in Jordan - because it is legal there.
I hope they succeed.
As I citizen of this country, I can honestly say, I am truly ashamed by this - I have many times thought of Yerida since this is not the Israel I made aliya to. However, due to my family and commitment to Eretz Yisrael, we have decided to stay (for now).

Gibbo said...

How can this be? How very very sad and frustrating, I feel anger and immense sadness, as a parent I cannot imagine this happening to children left all alone, I want to get on a plane and find them and hug them and ahhhhh how can this be! Que pena mas grande.....

Anonymous said...

I'm speechless...what a tragedy. Even though more than a thousand Israelis were killed at the hands of terrorists in the last 10 years, there are still no memorials such as Yad Vashem to remember their stories. I can't think of a single street in Israel that was named after one of the victims yet the Palestinians automatically name their streets after the suicide bombers. There are so many other families of victims who were totally neglected by the government. Even if they wanted to leave the country, most of them don't have a second passport and have no where to go.

David said...

This is a truly tragic story. The only way to help stop this type of madness is to have justice, in that there is the death penalty for these terrorists. What everyone has to remember is that Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael and what they stand for, far, far transcend the current corrupt rulers. With the help of G-d Yisrael in its fullness will arise. Until them keep the emunah in the process that is happening in Eretz Yisrael. "Ata takum t'rachem Tzion, K'et L'cheninah K'va Moed"

Anonymous said...

It's a tough thing. Two years ago the נפש יפה at my Seder table glossed שפוך חמתך by commenting that having the power to realize this wish, we are compelled to refrain from using it.

I think this is a fairly common conception on the Israeli left - that there is a kind of concupiscence associated with the exercise of power. They see moral grandeur in being victims, even if it means refraining from exercising the power to avert that victimhood.

I don't understand it. Why is powerlessness assumed to be the only morally tenable position?

All I can say that now, with Shalit safely out of harms way, there needs to be a little משפך המה על המאס.

keren said...

Although this is the most difficult story to read, the commentors here should be aware that there are at least 10 other familes where both parents were killed in terror attacks.

Even if the extended family do bring up the children (some times older sisters/brothers), currently there is very little help for them

NormanF said...

Those who betray orphans and widows will be punished. Ten-fold will they pay for their sins.

And every man and every family in Israel will know the horror of what they have done.

Their sin will assuredly visit them in broad daylight and they too will be orphans and widows!

Anonymous said...

"Why is powerlessness assumed to be the only morally tenable position?"

That belief is shared among most liberals nowadays, but its source is really in Christianity with the belief in "turning the other cheek".

Chana S said...

This made me cry. May Hashem give them strength. "Vehashiva shofteinu k'varishona"

How can I watch the whole program?

JoeSettler said...

English version may be coming out soon too.

Anonymous said...


Wondering......perhaps you are part of the forces against Gaza this volatile day??

Worried......oh, my heart! ):

--Ma Sands

Anonymous said...

Oh. Forgive me. I forgot for a minute, that your yesterday was Saturday.
--Ma Sands

Gee a Moron said...

a little tangential but could someone give me the correct pronounciation for Schijveschuurder ?

Anonymous said...

Is there anything any of can do now to reach out to the family? Does someone know how to reach them? It is too late to correct our mistakes in the past, but now that we have read this, is it possible to do something now, either financially, emotionally, etc????

It is one thing to arouse our emotions. Action is the main thing, though. Does anyone know their addresses? phone numbers????

Thank you

Rachel Selby said...

This is heartbreaking. Why didn't we know? I certainly don't blame them for leaving the country and I wish them happy and fulfilling lives back in Holland.

Fritzi said...


Meir said...

Unfortunately, we are all at fault here. Where were all the Tzedaka agencies, the neighbors, the friends, the rabbanim, the gedolei hador, the good-for-nothing MK's who don't answer even Emails from citizens?
The government is not the only guilty organization, even though many of its leaders are incompetent, idiot savants, and lack basic common sense of how to get things done that need to be done.
We, the members of the Jewish people, each and every one of us are to blame. When we think that "someone" is taking care of the Schijveschuurder family, then actually, "No one" is taking care of them.
May Hashem accept from each and every one of us our teshuva and forgive all of us of the grave sin of not taking care of orphans.


i think my bubby would say
"for this we need a jewish state?"

josh said...

Meir to Noam Shalit: Go back to being an anonymous father.

סחיווסחורדר לשליט: חזור להיות אב פרטי

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