Young terror victim's bittersweet celebration

Natan Banita-Bennett's father was murdered in front of him, while he and his mother were left wounded

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Adelle and Natan Banita-Bennett
Adelle and Natan Banita-Bennett
Sarah Levin/OneFamily

Half a year ago, two-year-old Natan's picture became an icon of the brutality of Arab terrorism, after a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City left his young father, Rabbi Aharon Banita-Bennett, dead and him and his mother Adelle injured.

Rabbi Nehemia Lavi was also murdered in the attack, as he attempted to intervene after hearing Adelle's screams.

On Monday, Natan turned three and, as is customary among many Jewish families, received his first haircut or khalakeh.

Friends and relatives packed the hall for the celebration, which was also held in thanksgiving for Natan and Adelle's full recovery from their injuries.

Around 100 family members were present at the event, held in Jerusalem, together with dignitaries including Jerusalem's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyah, the rabbi of the Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, former Israeli minister Eli Yishai, and activists from the OneFamly terror victims support organization.

In addition, a number of leading Israeli artists performed at the event, free of charge, including singer and musician Golan Azulai, singer Itzik Dadia, and radio personality Yehuda Shukrun.

Speaking at the event, Adelle described her strong sense of mixed emotions.

"This is of course a celebration which is mixed with much sadness," she said. "With that, we have much faith, and therefore we are making this event because everything is from God. We feel that Aharon, of blessed memory, was taken for the sake of all the nation of Israel, and we are trying to be happy."

She also told of her difficulty recovering from the attack, both physically and emotionally.

"Every day is very hard, each and every second, the memories and just living," she said. "We want to thank all of those who stood by us, like the OneFamily organization, who are very special people, among others who supported us."

Adelle's mother, Miriam Gal, told of her grandson's trauma and battle to recover physically since experiencing the horrific events over the Sukkot festival last year.

"We continue to face challenges, and we are still making a great effort to help the boy through the treatment he is undergoing. Only when he reaches the age of 20 will we know the extent of his disabilities.

"Every time he undergoes treatment which improves his (condition), then there is a deterioration because he is growing."

"Apart from that, just to cope as an orphan, without a father - it's a daily (struggle)," she added. "We haven't closed any circle - we're in the middle of one, in the middle of this journey. We're just carrying on...

"He knows, he remembers, he cries a lot, he misses his daddy.

"Aharon's image is with us, every day, hundreds of times a day... The boy asks lots of questions and all the time looks at the sky and says 'daddy is in heaven.'"

Aharon's father recounted his memories of his murdered son.

"Here of course we feel a sense of longing, because Aharon is missing from us, but we are happy and comforted that he is now in a good place, in a place of the righteous.

"I feel happy that, thank God, there is a continuation of Aharon, who may have died at a young age but, thank God, he left a son and daughter. 

"He was taken to sanctify God's Name - he sanctified God's Name in his life, and in his death."



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