Interview:
Lost her two siblings in a terror attack: 'We have chosen life'

8 members of Noy Ilan's family died in a suicide attack. 'Today I understand a little better why we need to be happy on Independence Day.'

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Ido ben Porat,

Noy gets promoted. 'Proud to make my parents happy'
Noy gets promoted. 'Proud to make my parents happy'
IDF spokesperson

Within the framework of events marking 69 years since Israeli independence, soldier Noy Ilan was promoted to the rank of captain.

However, this was no ordinary military promotion. In March 2002, when she was 8, a terrorist blew himself up in Jerusalem and murdered her older brother Lidor, who was in 10th grade at the time, and her little sister Oria, a one-year-old baby, and six of her other family members.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Noy described the events leading up to the terrible attack. “We had left a Bar Mitzvah of a family member at a hall in Jerusalem, when suddenly we heard an explosion, and my mother started to scream. 8 members of my family were killed - my uncle, his wife, their two children, two of my cousins and my two siblings. We were three, and I was left alone. By brother was 11 and my sister was 1. She didn’t even know how to walk yet.”

“Minutes before the attack, I was coming with one of my cousins towards the hall, and I went upstairs to change clothes for the end of Shabbat. When we got to the top of the stairs to go into the room, there was an explosion. We went downstairs, and when I saw the fire and heard the screams, I understood that it was dangerous, and I ran to the room with several other family members.”

Only a day later did Noy find out that her siblings had been murdered in the attack. “That was a very hard period. About a year later I had another brother, and we called him ‘Shalev’ [meaning ‘tranquil’] so that he would bring tranquility to our home. A year after that I had another sister, whom we called ‘Talia’.”

Noy has succeeded in channeling the pain she feels for the good of the country. “A mission, “ she calls it. “Today I understand the importance of enlisting oneself for the country and serving it. The war that we go through every day in Israel is hard, and survival and our army are so important.”

“One of the things that’s most important for me is to make my parents proud.” Now serving as a communications officer, she said that her “accomplishments in the army and commitment to my task brings them pride and helps them struggle with the pain and loss that we struggle with every day.”

What is Memorial Day for you?

“My father always says that for us, every day is Memorial Day. Every day we struggle with the loss that our family experienced, and without my parents I wouldn’t be able to get through it. They’re so strong, they succeeded in rising above what happened to keep on living. Memorial Day is one day for our entire nation meant to honor the memory of those who fell and were wounded in terror acts. It’s one day on which everyone tries to identify with the pain that we go through every day.”

What is Independence Day for you?

"In one word - complicated. We live close to a park, and always at the end of Memorial Day they start doing sound checks there for the upcoming celebratory events. I always get really angry. This year, though, I'm taking it a little differently.

"I really understand that without Memorial Day, without all those killed and murdered who sacrificed themselves for the state, the state would not have been founded, and today I understand a little better why we need to be happy on Independence Day. My parents always taught us to see the glass half full. We have chosen life."