Wednesday marks the tenth anniversary of the murder of Shalhevet Pass by Arab terrorists in Hevron, and in an interview with Hevron activist David Wilder, Shalhevet's father, Yitzchak Pass, says that although continuing to live just meters from where his baby was killed, he chose to deal with the pain of the tragedy “by living where it happened, to show that it won’t break us; to the contrary; it heightens our determination and increases our strength.”
Shalhevet Pass was murdered on March 26, 2001 (2 Nissan 5761), while seated in a stroller in a playground at the entrance to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood in Hevron, where she and her family lived. A terrorist Arab sniper opened fire with a high-powered rifle from the Abu Sneinah neighborhood on the hill opposite, and Shalhevet was killed instantly. The baby's mother grabbed her and ran with her, only to find that blood was running down her hands. One of the sniper's bullets penetrated the baby's head, passing through her skull, and hit her father Yitzchak, who had been pushing the stroller. He was seriously wounded minutes later by two bullets.
In the interview, Yitzchak Pass told of his family's difficult history. Some seven or eight years before Shalhevet's murder, his father-in-law, Avraham Zerbiv, a religious scribe (sofer), was attacked by terrorists wielding axes as he walked to morning prayers in the Machpela cave. He was only saved due to the medical attention and assistance he received from the late Dr. Baruch Goldstein. In addition, his younger brother, who today also lives in Hevron, was shot two weeks before Shalhevet’s terrible murder.
One reason he has chosen to remain in Hevron, says Pass, is because he realizes that “Shalhevet wasn’t our private possession, rather, essentially, someone who belonged to all Am Yisrael – the Jewish people. One of our first decisions was to write a Torah in her memory. This way, anyone who felt a part of this could be a partner, and many Jews helped us from all over the world, and thank G-d, that Torah, which her grandfather, my wife’s father wrote, is here in Hevron.”
He also hasn't hidden the murder of Shalhevet from his other children. “We tell them what happened, without hiding anything. I think that it’s important that children, as soon as they are able to comprehend, should understand the reality and know that Hevron isn’t like every other place in the world, that there are the complexities here. The children understand it, they live here and they know we’re not in Tel Aviv, that here there are soldiers and Arabs, that sometimes we get hit by rocks. Sometimes they feel the realities and complexities, but the bereavement is part of our life.”
Regardless of the past – or the future – Yitzchak Pass has no plans to flee Hevron, he said in the interview. “There is nothing, not murder, not Arabs, which can uproot us from here, because we are a stiff-necked people. Despite what the Jewish people have experienced, we have been able to hold our heads high. We have to understand how they lived in Galut where anyone could do whatever he wanted to Jews, and here, and here, in Eretz Yisrael, we hold our heads high, standing straight and tall, no one will ever get us out of here.”