Seven years after Boaz Shabo lost his wife and three of his seven children in a terrorist attack, he and his second wife are the proud parents of new-born triplets.
The babies, two boys and a girl, are currently hospitalized in the preemie ward of Tel HaShomer Hospital.
The murderous attack occurred in June 2002 – ending a tragic week in which no fewer than 38 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists, including 19 on a bus outside the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem and seven in a French Hill bus stop bombing.
"Never give in to despair. There is always a light at the top, even if it might involve a hard climb."
On Thursday evening, June 20, 2002, a Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the Shomron (Samaria) town of Itamar and began shooting in all directions. He then ran to the Shabo family house, which he entered and began his murderous spree. Soldiers and Border Guard police encircled the house, and the exchange of fire continued even after some soldiers bravely entered the house. They forced the terrorist upstairs while they rescued the four surviving children inside, two of whom were hurt. The terrorist was shot and killed when he jumped from the second floor - but not before the house caught fire when a bullet hit a gas canister. The house was largely destroyed.
Boaz’s wife Rachel, 40, and three of their seven children - Neriah, 15, Tzvikah, 12 and Avishai, 5 - were murdered in the attack. Itamar resident and emergency team member Yossi Tuito was also murdered when he arrived at the home in an effort to help.
Boaz and his remaining four children moved to nearby Kedumim shortly after the attack. He explained that his relatives lived there, and “in any event, we had no house to return to…”
Nearly two years ago, Boaz remarried, and Hila and her five children joined Boaz and two of his; his two elder children are now married and have, between them, four children of their own.
Born on the Sukkot Holiday
The triplets were born on last Sunday, the second day of the Sukkot holiday, and are expected to be released from the hospital within 2-3 weeks.
“We knew that we could expect twins,” Boaz later said, “but when they turned out to be triplets, it was a total surprise – something so symbolic that only G-d can understand or explain it. Though it’s impossible to forget those who were killed, this is a very joyous occasion for all of us.”
The Ultimate Condolence Call; Volunteering in Sderot
Boaz has been in the news more than once since the tragedy. He paid a condolence call to David Hatuel in May 2004 when the latter lost his entire family – his pregnant wife and four daughters – in a terrorist shooting attack in Gush Katif. Relatives said that Boaz seemed to be the only one who could offer him consolation at the time.
In addition, during the rocket onslaught on the Negev city of Sderot, Boaz – a truck driver who has been a volunteer medic with Magen David Adom for over 20 years – volunteered to fill in for medics there.
Asked by Arutz-7’s Benny Toker how he was able to rehabilitate himself and his family, Boaz said, “The way to rebuild is by getting married again… There cannot be a 100% recovery from something like what happened to us; we are always shadowed by the loss of a mother and three children. But with love and with faith, a decision like this brings much joy… Our house is now full of children and life.”
It's also a message to our enemies, he said: "They should know that they will not be able to defeat us. As the Torah says, the more they oppress us, the more we will prosper."
Asked how he will now be able to start dealing with three little babies, Boaz said, “It won’t be easy – but a lot of things have not been easy over the past few years. I tried to look at everything from the positive, optimistic side, and put the difficulties aside; I think that 50% of the problems are psychological. If a person says that it will be hard, then it will be hard. But if you decide to try to get up in the morning with a smile, and know you are headed in the right direction, then it will be much easier for you. You can’t let the obstacles stop you; put them aside.”
“I just want to emphasize," Boaz said in closing, "that everyone must know: Never give in to despair. There is always a light at the top, even if it might involve a hard climb. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, at which can be found light, happiness, faith, and all of our goals.”