Osher Twito, 13, who lost his leg in a Kassam rocket attack five years ago, met
US President Barack Obama on Thursday in Jerusalem for the second
Four months after his injury in 2008, he was taken from the
hospital, so he could meet Obama, who was then visiting Israel as part of his
first run for office.
Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
Obama invited Twito to the Jerusalem International
Convention Center and, during his major address there, told the thousands of
people in the audience that the boy had become a symbol for him of the dangers
that face Israel.
“When I consider Israel’s security, I think about
children like Osher Twito, who I met in Sderot – children the same age as my own
daughters who went to bed at night fearful that a rocket would land in their
bedroom simply because of who they are and where they live,” Obama
After the speech, he spent a few moments talking privately with
Osher and his mother Iris.
The meeting was organized by One Family Fund,
which works with terror victims and their families. Through their efforts, seven
terror victims were at the speech. But only Twito and his mother personally
spoke with Obama.
Rebecca Fuhrman of One Family Fund, herself a terror
victim, was also with them as a translator.
“Iris immediately gave Obama
a hug and thanked him for coming to Israel.
Obama thanked her and told
her how much her story had inspired him for the last five years since he met
them,” said Fuhrman.
“It was like old friends meeting each
It was a private meeting away from the cameras, Fuhrman said,
explaining that neither Twito nor his mother wanted to speak with
But Iris did tell One Family Fund after the meeting that “it
was emotional for us and my husband who went through surgery last night and
could not come. He called me in tears when he heard him say Osher’s name in the
“I hugged the president and told him that he gives us hope,”
Fuhrman, who was injured in a March 22, 2011, bombing right
outside the convention center, said she too was inspired by Obama, particularly
given her history with that part of the city.
“I feel like a survivor,”
said Fuhrman, who is originally from Pittsburgh.
On that day, she was on
her way home from work, and luckily missed her bus, which was much closer to the
She had been in the back with two of her friends but had gotten up
as the bus pulled to the stop because she thought about getting off.
that moment, the bomb exploded.
Her memory, she said, is blurry, but she
recalled going back to get her friends and then yelling at the driver to open
the door and let them off.
“We started running down the street,” said
Fuhrman. “I didn’t know I was injured. I was in shock.”
It was only when
she woke the next morning that she saw that something was wrong with her
At first she thought it was pink eye, and it seemed so surreal to
her that she would survive a terror attack only to wake up with something so
But the doctor told her that it was actually a piece of shrapnel
that had gone into her cornea.
“But it was the emotional injury that was
more difficult,” Fuhrman said.
Without the help of family and friends,
she would not have made it through that difficult period, she said.
then went to work for One Family Fund as a way of helping terror victims who
lacked that same support system.
Obama and his office has shown so much
understanding and have built a positive relationship with victims of terror in
Israel, she said, adding that she was impressed by how personable Obama
“I always knew he was an unbelievably charismatic person.
when he walked into the room and it was like seeing an old friend. He was so
very personable that his personality really showed through,” she
“It was really inspiring to come back to a place that has such a
negative memory and to be there for something so overwhelmingly positive.”