Seven-year-old Rachel Atias, the lone survivor of the accident that wiped out her entire family of parents and six brothers and sisters, got out of her wheelchair and stood up on her own over the Shabbat-Shavuot holiday.
Rachel is recuperating in the Tzfat home of her newly adopted mother Esther Cohen, where she observed the Sabbath and celebrated Shavuot on Sunday – without her parents and brothers and sisters whom she is mourning.
She miraculously survived last week’s accident after the brakes failed on the family car, driven by her father Rafi Atias. The vehicle crashed into a guard rail several times before overturning and catching fire, killing everyone except Rachel.
Her uncle Itzik Atias, brother of Rafi, telephoned Rachel after the holiday from his home in the city of Migdal HaEmek, south of Tzfat, and told the Yisrael HaYom newspaper, “She sounded so sweet over the telephone. She said she already is out of her wheelchair and is walking independently."
“Rachel feels much better, and everyone plays with her. She is recuperating but knows it is difficult, and she sometimes cries with longing for her family."
“She understands her situation and is uplifted by the love around her. She said she received lots of chocolates and promised to save some for me when I visit Monday, Her attitude gives us strength, and we are making sure she does not lack anything.”
Friday afternoon, the family visited the graves of the parents and six children, and their absence was strongly felt on the Sabbath and Shavuot, added Rafi's brother.
Meanwhile, Knesset Control Committee member National Union Knesset Member Uri Ariel said he is demanding answers from vehicle inspection officials concerning a previous report from the State Comptroller and Ombudsman, who noted failures in the inspection system.
“There are more than a few dangerous vehicles on the road that endanger the lives of others because of improper supervision,” said MK Ariel.