The massacre in Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant
The massacre in Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant
Eight children killed in a terror attack during summer vacation
When the terrorist entered the Sbarro restaurant in midtown Jerusalem,
he knew – he saw – that it was filled with families and children. The
result:15 dead and dozens injured.
It was nearly 2 o’clock in the afternoon on August 9,2001.Dozens of
people – parents,babies,young children,teenagers – filled the Italian
restaurant on King George Street in the heart of Jerusalem on a warm
summer day. The terrorist entered the restaurant carrying a bag filled
with a large explosive device – at least ten kilograms of explosives –
packed with screws, nails and bolts. The terrorist looked around, saw
the happy crowd, saw the faces of the children and young girls, and
detonated the bomb.
That the device exploded in a closed area made the outcome more
ghastly. All those present in the restaurant were hurt: 15 were killed
and 130 wounded. Even those who had witnessed previous explosions
said they had never seen such a terrible sight.
“The brain simply cannot absorb what the eyes see, ”said the owner
of a nearby shop. “Children and old people were strewn injured
among mangled bodies and amputated limbs. A woman ran out
searching for her baby that had been in a stroller.The stroller flew
out into the street,a nd she found it – but it was empty.”
Among the dead and injured were seven members of a single family
– the Schijveschuurder family from the community of Neriya. Five of
them were killed: the father, mother and three of their children,
Ra'aya, 14, Avraham Yitzhak, 4, and Hemda, 2
daughters – Leah, 11, and Haya, 8 – were very seriously wounded.
“The last time I saw my brother Avraham Yitzhak,” recalled Haya
Schijveschuurder from her hospital bed, “he was lying on a stretcher
in an ambulance. He had a bandage on his face. He was four years
old. Now our parents are not alive either. But soon the Messiah will
come and all the people that have died, and all the people killed in
wars and terror attacks, will come back to life.
“We were hungry, so Mommy said we could go to a restaurant to
eat.In that restaurant, you have to pay first and only afterwards you
sit down to eat. When we were at the cash register, we suddenly
heard an explosion. I ran out as fast as I could. I didn’t look at anything.
I just ran out.A medic, I don’t know his name, took me to
an ambulance and that is where I saw Avraham Yitzhak for the last
“I said to him, ‘Avraham Yitzhak.’ But he didn’t say anything. After
that they took me on a stretcher to the hospital, and I had to have
an operation to remove the screws that entered my liver and leg. I
saw a sign on the door that said ‘Operating Room’ and started to cry.
After that I didn’t see anything.
“In my house, they are sitting ‘shiva’ right now. My brothers came here
with their torn shirts. I asked them ‘Why are your shirts torn?’ but
they didn’t want to tell me that my parents were dead. My brothers
were not with us in the restaurant. They found me first. After that,
they found out that my sister and my brother were dead.
“My little sister was always happy. I remember her so well. She used to
laugh all day long. On the day of the terror attack she was very happy.
Daddy went to the bank, and we went into the restaurant and asked if
we could order first and pay later, after Daddy came. They said no –
so we went to wait for him at the bank. When he came out, we
returned to the restaurant, and that’s when the explosion occurred. I
loved that restaurant very much. It had very, very good pizza.”
The doctors would not allow Haya to participate in the funerals of her
parents and siblings.Her 11-year-old sister Leah was brought to the
cemetery on a stretcher.
Tamara Mesengiser (Simshilashvili), 8.5,
immigrated to Israel in late 2000
from Tbilisi, Georgia, and lived with her family in Jerusalem’s Pisgat
Ze’ev neighborhood. Tamara had only been in the Pisgat Ze’ev elemen-tary
school for a few months, but was already considered an excellent
pupil. On the day of the attack, she went to have lunch with her
mother Lily at the restaurant.Both were killed in the explosion.
Malka Roth, 15, and Michal Raziel, 16,
were not only
neighbors, they were also best friends. “They were together all the
time, ”related Malka’s father.“ They went to the Ezra youth movement
together,they went out to eat together in town–and always to Sbarro.”
On the day of the attack, Malka’s parents got a call from Ezra telling
them that Malka had not arrived for the staff meeting she was scheduled
to participate in. Her parents began to worry. Her mother began
calling the hospitals, but Malka’s name was not on the lists of the
wounded. Only later did her parents discover that Malka had arranged
to meet her best friend Michal for lunch at Sbarro. They identified
Malka’s body at the Abu Kabir Forensic Medicine Institute in Tel Aviv.
Malka was filled with joie de vivre and was liked by all her friends. She
was poised to start 11th grade at Horev School in Jerusalem.
Michal Raziel, studied at Ohr Torah Stone in Ramot, Jerusalem and –
like Malka – a counselor in the Ezra movement. Michal was sensitive
and caring and loved by her classmates. Her parents searched for her
for hours,fearing the worst. Only in the evening did her mother hear
of her daughter’s death from her sister, a nurse at the Shaarei Zedek
hospital, were Michal was brought, and where she was pronounced
Yocheved Shoshan, 10,
came to the restaurant together with her
mother and four sisters. When the food was ready, Yocheved and her
sister Miriam Sarah, 15, got up to bring the trays. At exactly that
moment the explosion hit.Yocheved was killed instantly. Her sister was
hospitalized in very serious condition. When she awoke in the hospital’s
intensive care unit, the first question she asked was “Where is my sister
Yocheved? How is she?”
No one dared tell her the terrible truth.
Tehila Maoz, 19,
born in Jerusalem, completed her studies at the
Geva High School and was about to join the army. She used the days
until then to earn money, working as a cashier at the Sbarro restaurant.
That is where the suicide terrorist found her. Tehila, who came from a
religious family, was very sociable and especially close to her family.
She had planned to take her older brother’s three children to the zoo
the day after the terror attack. That plan, like all her other plans and
dreams, was destroyed in one horrific moment by the terrorist’s bomb.
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