Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Victim of Bomb Attack Beats All the Odds, to Be Honored Next Week in Israel

April 18, 2012 5:06 pm 0 comments

Sbarro restaurant in Israel after bomb attack. Photo: wiki commons.

Translation by Yonatan Silverman

On Independence Day, IDF Cpl. Chaya will meet an Israeli president for the second time. In 2001 she met former president Katzav who came to express condolences after she lost her relatives in the Sbarro terrorist attack and next week she will meet president Shimon Peres.

Only this time the circumstances will be of a happier nature.  She will be receiving a citation for being an outstanding soldier.

Eleven years have passed since the terrible attack at the Jerusalem restaurant. Chaya (age 19) was then only 8 years old and was badly wounded and lost both her parents and three brothers. She and the five siblings who remained alive struggled with the state authorities for their economic rights as orphans following the incident.

However, the pain and the anger did not prevent the children in the family from contributing to the country. A year ago Chaya enlisted in the Israeli Navy. There she was integrated as a soldier in the office of the head of the weapons division. Now, it appears she has done her job well as the navy chose her as one of the outstanding soldiers who will represent the force in a ceremony on Independence Day.

Chaya’s selection is particularly impressive as only 120 soldiers receive the special citation each year from the president and Chief of Staff.

“When they informed me about this I was happy and proud,” Chaya said. “Enlisting was always my dream, despite what I went through. In the years that passed since the terror attack there was never a moment when I did not think about enlisting in the IDF. I enlisted to contribute to the country and it was clear to me that I would give everything I could.”

The difficult terror attack continues to stick with Chaya even today, but she refuses to accept any compensations from the government.

“I still live the attack, it is part of my life,” she says. “It is something that is just part of me and will always remain so, but it is not something that influences my day to day functioning, it is simply part of who I am. In the army they know my personal story but it does not cause anything special. I never asked for special treatment and I would not want anyone to treat me differently. I want them to judge me only on who I really am.”

Chaya is devoting the week before Independence Day to rehearsing the torch lighting ceremony, where she will march with those selected for this year’s citations. Between each step and each parade she tries to imagine what she will feel when she receives the certificate from the president and Chief of Staff. “I will feel proud,” she says. “And of course I will also feel that my parents are with me there and they are proud of me at the same moment. I have no doubt about that. Also my brothers will be there with me. It will be very emotional.”

“Published in “Yediot Ahronot” from an article by journalist Tzvika Brot.”

The Algemeiner newspaper delivers breaking news and insightful commentary from Israel, the Middle East and Jewish communities around the world | Host to an international Jewish interest blogger community covering Zionism, Israeli politics, Middle East security, terrorism, Jewish tradition, Jewish art, Jewish culture, Jewish music, Jewish activism, Jewish family and spirituality, interviews, profiles, features, video and much more. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’

    Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’ – There is a game that all of us have played at some time in our lives. We ask ourselves: What would my life be like if I had gone to this school instead of that one, or if I had married this girl instead of that one? In their newly published book The Ambassador, authors Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees play that game with modern Jewish history. Avner — who died earlier this year, and was a speechwriter, secretary and adviser to […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Lifestyle A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A unique group of young fashion bloggers and designers recently visited Israel to learn more about the country’s fashion industry and diverse culture. Hailing from the Philippines, Korea, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., the 10 participants toured the country and met with top Israeli fashion designers throughout last week. “It was an amazing experience,” said Meissene Maghni from Toulouse, France — one of the participants of the program. “I’m Muslim and I really wanted to see Israel […]

    Read more →