'This is the baby, he was shot in the head'

Father and daughter speak about living with terror in Shiloh, and the terror attack which changed their lives forever.

Chana Roberts ,

Ambulance at Shaarei Tzedek hospita
Ambulance at Shaarei Tzedek hospita
Flash 90

Among those speaking Wednesday at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference was Avital Rubin of Shiloh, daughter and sister of terror victims:

The conference, held in Jerusalem, also features speeches from Israeli and international diplomats, as well as from CBN News.

Avital Rubin is a young woman from Shiloh whose father and younger brother were wounded in a terror attack.

In her speech about growing up with terrorism, she noted that when she "moved out of Shiloh at age 18 to start my civilian national service," she couldn't leave the experiences behind.

"During the Second Intifada (2000-2005) I was just a regular second grader enjoying a movie with my friends," she said. But her life changed when that day, at dinnertime, her mother "got a phone call, threw on her coat, and rushed out of the house."

Her father and brother had been wounded in a shooting attack, when a terrorist wielding an AK-47 shot at their car.

"I can only recall seeing for a second my baby brother wrapped up with bandages before someone took me out of the room," she said. Though she did not go into everything that happened that night, she did say, "I will tell you that my father was wounded in his left leg and my brother was shot in the head, one millimeter from his brain stem."

"I saw my father so weak and hurt, on a bed, he couldn't even walk. There were strange wires and tubes attached to his body."

Seeing her brother was a shock.

"I used to play with him all the time at home, but I was so confused because I was so excited to bring him pictures I painted in school, but he looked at me like I was a stranger."

Avital's father and brother eventually recovered. However, several years later when Avital arrived home after a social activity, the babysitter told her, "Your parents were supposed to be back several hours ago. I have no idea where they are and they're not answering me."

"Then she left," Avital recalled, noting that she eventually managed to reach her parents and "they were okay, and got home safely that night."

"But since then I started having nightmares every night, I would cry myself to sleep. I remember my mother sitting beside my bed, trying to understand what i was going through, but I couldn't express it to her."

"In therapy, I would often sing the song 'Where's the love,' an ordinary song which when my friends listen to it, reminds them of eighth grade," she said, noting that she herself thinks of the trauma of living with terror attacks.

"My best friend's father was the head of security in Shiloh. I remember I was watching a movie with her, when her father got a phone call, grabbed a gun, and ran out of the house.... Thankfully, my family is healthy, but some of my friends no longer have a parent who can comfort them after a long day."

Regarding her own trauma, Avital said, ""My thoughts and fears did not disappear, they just matured and became a part of...who I am today."

Avital's father David Rubin spoke as well, focusing on the trauma suffered by children growing up with terror attacks.

Rubin spoke about the terror attack which wounded both him and his young son.

"We were driving home from Jerusalem when the car was hit with Kalashnikov bullets. Our car went completely dead," he said. When his leg was hit by a bullet, he turned around to look at his son, who looked as if he wanted to scream, but was not actually screaming. After several attempts to restart the car, Rubin finally succeeded.

"I hit the gas and I drove 110 miles an hour to get to the next community up the road to get medical help," he said.

"When a terror attack is recorded in the news it seems to be an absurd numbers game... The media goes on to discuss the physical wounds. But the psychological trauma to individuals and communities - that is not usually discussed."

"After my three-year-old son and I were wounded, we both had three operations. Every night, he was screaming like that scream he tried to scream that night but couldn't. It was clear that he was suffering psychological trauma, but how do you treat a three-year-old?

"A few weeks later, he picked up one doll and said, 'This is the abba (father), he has a hole in his leg.' I still did have a hole in my leg, even after the operations. He picked up the other doll and said 'this is the baby, he was shot in the head.'

"Adults talk it out with the therapists. Children, when confronted with trauma - they bury it inside, and it comes out in all sorts of ways.

"Sometimes trauma can be worse in those who haven't been physically wounded themselves, as you saw with my daughter Avital. It's not an exaggeration to say that there is hardly a child in Shiloh or any other community in Samaria who does not have a family member, friend, or teacher who was wounded in a terror attack."

Rubin also emphasized the differences between Israel's summer camps and those of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. In Shiloh's summer camp, he said, children draw, play, and work to heal.

"In a different summer camp run by the Fatah terror organization...and in another summer camp in Hamas, children learn jihad, holy war against non-Muslims," he said. "And in both of these summer camps children learn to use AK-47s, just like the ones which wounded us."

"By the way," he added. "They belonged to the Hamas Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade...and receive salaries" for the attacks.

"Sadly, there is a sickness in the Islamic world that needs to be healed. Just as we in the Biblical heartland of Israel are healing children and rebuilding for the future, an Islam which truly wants peace must health itself of this sick mentality."

Rubin called on his listeners to make life better for the region's children.

"Plesae don't neglect the human side of this issue," he begged. "We can and we must make things better for the children. Our greatest role in this world is to change darkness into light and bitterness into sweetness.

"Yasser Arafat once said, 'We will continue our jihad for peace.' My response is, 'We will continue to rebuild lives and rebuild the biblical heartland of Israel through the children.'"