Hero of Maalot massacre passes away

Chaim Asulin of Tzfat, worst casualty of 1974 Maalot school massacre, dies of cancer at age 60.

Mordechai Sones,

School in Maalot after massacre
School in Maalot after massacre
צילום: סער יעקב, אוסף התצלומים הלאומי

Chaim Asulin, a resident of the northern city of Tzfat, the most critically wounded victim of the 1974 terrorist massacre in Maalot, passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer.

In May 1974, terrorists infiltrated a school in the northern Israeli city of Maalot, where 11th grade students from Tzfat were bunked while on a school trip. Attempts at negotiating with them failed, and the terrorists opened fire, murdering 22 high schoolers and five accompanying adults in cold blood, Dozens more were wounded in the horrific massacre..

Asulin managed to escape the school building, but decided to turn back because his brother was among the students still inside. Upon his return, he found himself in the direct line of fire and was critically wounded. In fact, he was initially presumed dead and was being transferred to the morgue with the other vicitms, when a medical staff member noticed that he had a faint pulse.

Asulin's life was saved, but his hand had to be amputated.

Despite the serious injury, Asulin recovered, rebuilt his life, and became a policeman, according to the Hebrew newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

Shlomo Hadad, who was the city's municipal security officer and the director of the municipal shooting range, told Israel Hayom that 23 years ago Asulin succeeded in his long struggle and was accepted as a volunteer to the Civil Defense unit established following the Maalot tragedy.

"In those days tension on the northern border was always high. The IDF was still in Lebanon, but the Civil Defense unit found it hard to accept his request to join because of his amputated hand," Hadad recalled. "At first, they accepted him without giving him a gun or any authority. He then went to shooting courses and once he received a gun permit, purchased a pistol. I was director of the shooting range and trained him. When you shoot with a pistol, you must use both hands, but even though he had only one hand, he managed to become an excellent marksman."

Eventually, Asulin was accepted as a regular policeman. About two years ago, he achieved another victory when, at a festive ceremony in which ranks were awarded to outstanding policemen in the Northern District, Asulin was promoted to a special rank.

He left a wife and three children. His brother, who was lightly wounded in the attack, currently lives abroad.

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