The eldest daughter of the Fogel family, 12 year old Tamar, promised her relatives: "I will be strong and succeed in overcoming this. I understand the task that stands before me, and I will be a mother to my siblings". The orphaned youngster's words were quoted in the Hebrew daily Yisrael Hayom.
In their home in the town of Neve Tsuf in Samaria, Tsila and Chaim Fogel, parents of Udi, are sitting on low benches for the traditional “shiva” week of mourning alongside his three brothers and sister. There is a constant stream of comforters going in and out of the house, VIP's and ordinary citizens from all over Israel, whose hearts go out to the bereft family that lost son, daughter-in-law, and three young grandchildren in a barbaric terrorist slaughter on Friday night.
Chaim Fogel continues to retell the story of terrible hours from 3 a.m. on, when he received the horrific news, drove to Itamar, met his 12 year old granddaughter and then entered the family’s home. The authorities were forced to ask her to tell what she saw when she returned from her youth group activity to find her family’s bloodsoaked bodies at 12:30 a.m. Chaim himself had the heartbreaking task of identifying the bodies.
"We came to take the surviving grandchildren out of the Valley of Death, he said. I don’t wish on anyone in the world the sight I saw. It is horrendous, beyond description, beyond comprehension".
The grandparents recalled the last time they saw Udi, Ruti and the children, a week and a half ago on Saturday night. They celebrated the start of the month of Adar Bet in Itamar, danced, sang and laughed.
"At least they had a taste of Purim", said Udi’s mother Tzila. "I didn’t feel any premonitions. Why should I have thought that I will never see them again? I am not trying to remember if there was anything of that nature in my mind. We were happy together. We have photos of the children playing and happy".
The family is against any personal revenge or taking the law into civilian hands. Their slain children felt the same, they said, unequivocally.
The Ben Yishai home of Ruti’s parents in Jerusalem, where the surviving grandchildren are now, is also crowded with comforters. After the mourning week is over, the family will decide where the children will live. Meanwhile, they are having difficulty in explaining to the youngest child what happened to his parents. "What shall we tell them?" they said. "What does a two-year-old understand when he cries over the loss of his parents? They tell us that children heal quickly, mentally and physically. We hope so".