Daily Israel Report

Bereaved Father/Husband Visits David Hatuel

A painfully moving meeting took place yesterday between Boaz Shabo, who lost his wife and three children in a terrorist attack in 2002, and David Hatuel, who lost his wife and all four children in a similar attack on Sunday.
First Publish: 5/5/2004, 4:41 PM / Last Update: 5/5/2004, 12:27 PM

A painfully moving meeting took place yesterday between Boaz Shabo of Itamar, who lost his wife and three children in a terrorist attack in 2002, and David Hatuel of Katif, who lost his wife and all four children in a similar attack three days ago. Boaz said that David asked him, "How am I supposed to get up in the morning?" Boaz's response: "You get up to nothing... But your obligation is to recover and get stronger... Tali [your wife] is looking at you from above, spurring you on to continue."

Shabo lost half his family when a Palestinian terrorist entered his home almost two years ago and opened fire, murdering his wife Rachel and three of their seven children: Tzvika, Neriah, and Avishai. Local emergency team member Yossi Tuito was also murdered in the attack. On Sunday, the Hatuels - 8-month pregnant Tali and her four daughters Hila, Roni, Hadar and Meirav, aged 11 to 2 - were cruelly gunned down from point-blank range by Palestinian terrorists as they were driving along the Kisufim Highway to protest against the plan to force them out of their homes. David Hatuel found out the news when he first heard sketchy reports of an attack on the road, then phoned his wife and received no answer, and finally heard on the radio that a "mother and four children" had been killed. When his close friend made a special trip to see him and began to stutter that they were only hospitalized, David realized that what he had suspected was catastrophically true.

Amatzia HaEitan of Arutz-7 asked Shabo last night, "What did you tell David Hatuel today?"

Shabo: "For the past two days, I have been breaking my head, trying to figure out what to tell someone who is left with nothing. I at least was left with four children, and I have known, since the first day that - that it happened, that I have someone to get up for in the morning. When I first heard the story of the abominable murder of David's wife and children, I hoped and prayed that at least someone might have been saved. And David said that to me as well today: 'If only just one would have been saved...' I got up this morning and I prayed to G-d and asked, 'Please give me an idea, something that I could say to this person.' And in fact, when I got there, I told him... that these terrible people, their goal is to kill every last one of us. In the Holocaust they killed many of us. So those of us who remain, we have an obligation to show them that No! We will not lie down and die. Even if they cut off whole families, we will show them, we must prove to them, that we will get up on our feet, and we will get married again and build families anew, and show them that they have not succeeded. We will show them these things, we will show them, 'You did not succeed, and you also won't succeed in the future.'

A-7: "...So you come to him, almost two years after what happened to you, and you tell him, 'You see, it's possible to get up again.'"

Boaz: "Yes, I told him this, but I told him that, from my experience, it's really very hard... You get up in the morning, and you get up - to no one. You get up and see a house, and no one is there; just spirits in the house... But your job is to pick yourself up. There is hope in these matters. I told him to 'look up to the sky, and [see] Tali telling you, 'Go on, keep going, do the things we planned.' Do it, for Tali and for the children - do it!'"

A-7: "Boaz, from your experience, what is the role of the people around you? What can or did they do to help you to go on?"

Boaz: "The people who helped me to continue were those who enveloped us, those who didn't forget about us after the first month, and after the first year - those who come and you are with them, they give you the strength to keep going. It could be one person or ten people... Afterwards, when you get the strength [from them], you also are strong enough to encourage others."

A-7: "Did David speak, or only listened?"

Boaz: "No, he spoke, and we had a talk for an hour afterwards, privately, without everyone else around. He asked me, 'Boaz, how, how am I supposed to get up in the morning? What am I supposed to do? How can I go to work? Will I be able to go to work?' I told him that he wouldn't be able to work, that it would be very difficult to concentrate on anything. For a long time I was unable to drive; I simply couldn't remember the way because my thoughts kept going to other places... But he is a principal of a school with 400 students... I told him that he has to do things, and fill himself with other things, and that this will help him stand up on his feet. It's impossible not to think about it; I told him that even now, for me, I keep thinking about it. 'You'll walk around the house,' I said, 'and you'll say, this child sat here, this one laughed over here, she played over here, this one slept here - everything will remind you... But, if you fill yourself up with other things, if you clear away some of the pain and make room for doing things, then this will help you, in some way, to climb up.' ... He asked me to remain in touch with him, and of course, with G-d's help, we will."

A good friend of the family told Arutz-7 today that David Hatuel is truly unable to find solace, but that the visit of Boaz Shabo was noticeably helpful.

Others who visited yesterday included MKs Ruby Rivlin, Tzvi Hendel, Amram Mitzna and Yuli Tamir - the latter two of Labor - as well as IDF Southern Commander Maj.-Gen. Dan Har'el and Gaza Formation Commander Brig.-Gen. Shmuel Zakai.