Last Shabbat, a six-year-old girl named Bracha was shot and wounded as she played outside her home in Kochav Yaakov, just north of Jerusalem. IDF sources attribute the incident to stray gunfire from a nearby Arab village or town, as Kochav Yaakov is not far from Ramallah.
Bracha's mother told Channel 12 News how she discovered bullet wounds in her daughter's leg. "I lifted the hem of her dress and saw a hole," she related. "Her sister was in shock. She had no idea how it had happened, without any warning."
Yael, Bracha's mother, related the background to the incident. "We were at home on Shabbat. I have three children, and my middle daughter's friends came over and invited her outside to play with them. Just then, my youngest daughter's first tooth fell out and she wanted to go and show her sister, so I let her go outside -- after all, it was just in our garden which I can see from our balcony.
"Suddenly, I heard my middle daughter crying, and when I looked outside to see what was going on, I saw her dragging Bracha inside, and Bracha was bleeding." At first, no one knew quite what had happened. "I lifted the hem of her dress and saw a hole in her leg," Yael described. "I started screaming, 'What happened?!' and they told me that they had no idea. They just heard a 'boom' and she fell down and fainted. I thought that someone must have hit her - I had no idea that it was a shot. I bent down to pick her up and then I saw another hole, in her stomach."
Yael ran outside and tried to find someone to help. A passer-by identified himself as first-responder and he entered the house to see what he could do. Immediately upon inspecting the wounds he realized that they were caused by gunfire. The bullets were later found nearby.
"My daugher is feeling much better, thank G-d," Yael said. "She remembers hearing a loud noise and feeling something go into her stomach. She's very frightened by what happened and can't really explain it, it's like she's disconnected from the incident, like she's blocked it out."
Yael added that, "It's insane that people are deliberately firing at our community. Plenty of times we've found bullets on the ground, and it's unbelievable that the police and the army aren't dealing with the problem. It makes us feel unsafe here, and now my daughter doesn't ever want to go out and play in the garden again. We're all scared.
"She could have been killed," Bracha's mother stressed. "It happened in seconds. They have to do something about it. How can we send our children out to play? It's simply a miracle that my daughter is still alive."