Terror victim proposes at basketball semifinals

Shabo, who lost his leg and much of his family in horrific Itamar attack, proposes to his girlfriend on the hardwood to thunderous applause.

Uzi Baruch ,

Asael Shabo
Asael Shabo

Asael Shabo, 22, who lost his leg and much of his family in a horrific 2002 terror attack in Itamar in Samaria, moved the crowd during a basketball semifinal match on Monday night when he proposed to his girlfriend.

Asael stepped on to the basketball court during halftime in the match between Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Eilat - Jerusalem went on to win the match and advance to the finals.

Suddenly his girlfriend Sari Cohen was called to come down and join him on the court, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.

Asael kneeled down, took a microphone and proposed to Sari over the loudspeakers. Sari answered "yes," and the crowd burst into joyous applause.

"If Jerusalem will take the championship twice in a row that will be a nice wedding present," said the surprised bride-to-be. "I didn't know a thing, I was surprised that they called me to come to the court. Where will we hold the wedding? I love halls, so maybe we'll even do it here (at the stadium)."

Shabo hasn't let his personal tragedy keep him down, and currently is training for the 2016 Para Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He is Israel's national champion in the 50-meter freestyle, and is on the national wheelchair basketball team. Furthermore he coaches kids in both sports.

On June 20, 2002, two Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorists broke into Asael's house in Itamar when he was ten years old. 

The terrorists murdered his brothers Neria, 15, Zvika, 12, and Avishai, 5, in front of his eyes, and likewise shot him in the leg and also shot and wounded his brother Aviya, 13.

Asael later recalled, "the terrorist kicked me in the head to see if I was alive but I kept my eyes closed. But then I heard the terrorist go upstairs where my mom was and I heard her scream."

His mother Rachel, 40, was murdered by the terrorists.

Yosef Twito, 31, a father of five, was also murdered by the PFLP terrorists as the security squad he lead tried to rescue the family members from the house after the terrorists barricaded themselves inside.

Security forces eventually were able to break in and shoot the two terrorists dead, with the house catching fire and burning in the process.

Ambulances carrying the wounded victims from the attack were delayed when Palestinian Arabs hurled rocks at them and set up roadblocks to try and prevent them from saving the lives of the terror victims.

Asael's father Boaz was in another house in Itamar during the attack and saw his home burn down in the distance. Two other children, Yariv and Itay, were also out of harm's way during the attack.