Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Adar 5762 - March 6, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Beis Yisroel: The Day After
by Betzalel Kahn

Naveh Chazan didn't expect his Shabbos bar mitzvah to end this way. Relatives from all over the country had come to spend Shabbos and celebrate with him in the Yeshivas Machaneh Yisroel Shabbos Guesthouse in Jerusalem's Beis Yisroel neighborhood.

The area is an old one built on a drained swamp. It is entirely chareidi, and includes a harmonious mix of all elements of the chareidi community: the Mir Yeshiva is located there, as are chassidic institutions such as Zevhill, as well as several Sephardic schools including the Machaneh Yisrael yeshiva. The Machaneh Yisroel yeshiva is a quiet, steady influence for Torah and teshuva directed mainly to Sephardim. The neighborhood is adjacent to Meah Shearim and Geulah.

Naveh told reporters that, "It was very scary. I still don't believe that it happened after such a wonderful Shabbos. What a pity that it ended this way."

Naveh himself was not at the scene at the time of the explosion because he had gone to daven ma'ariv at a nearby shul. "I reached the guesthouse courtyard a bit later, and that's what saved me. I finished davening and suddenly heard the explosion. Someone told me that my mother was crying, so I immediately started looking for her. At the same exact time, she was running around, looking for me." Only after many long tension-filled minutes, mother and son found each other.

Almost every Shabbos, Jewish families eager to come closer to Yiddishkeit spend Shabbos in the Shabbos Guesthouse. There they experience the neighborhood's Torah and mitzvos way of life. They didn't expect it to end like this.

On the day following the horrendous terrorist attack in Jerusalem's Beis Yisroel neighborhood, the streets were filled with people. People streamed to the place where the Tanzim suicide terrorist blew himself up in a devastating attack, cutting off the lives of ten Jews, Hy"d, and wounding more than fifty others.

Hundreds of people gathered at the site of the attack throughout the day. Many recited pirkei Tehillim for the swift recovery of the scores of wounded, some of whom are still in critical condition. With a sefer Tehillim in his hand and tears in his eyes, one of those present remarked, "The Jewish people must return in teshuvoh sheleimoh. We are in desperate need of Heavenly mercy."

Throughout the night following the attack, scores of ZAKA volunteers performed their holy duties. The ZAKA volunteers, along with those of Hatzoloh Yerushalayim, were the first on the scene following the attack. ZAKA headquarters is located a mere fifty meters from the scene of the attack. On motzei Shabbos at the time of the attack, the organization's regular weekly meeting was taking place. The horrifying explosion was heard as the meeting started, and the volunteers rushed out to the scene.

Many ZAKA volunteers are also volunteers in Hatzoloh. While tending to the wounded, they donned their Hatzoloh uniforms. These were traded for ZAKA vests a few hours later.

Identification of the victims at Abu Kabir took many hours. Since the materials worn by the suicide bomber contained a large amount of shrapnel intended to magnify the destructive effects of the explosion, the bodies of the meisim, Hy"d, were in a bad state. D. N. A. tests were used to facilitate identification of the bodies.

ZAKA and Hatzoloh had some complaints about Mogen David Adom's handling of the victims. The first MDA ambulances reached the scene only about fifteen minutes following the shocking blast.


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