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When Kay Wilson realized that the long, serrated knife hadn’t reached her heart,
she stayed still and pretended to be dead, waiting for the attackers to
But her hiking companion, American Kristine Luken, 46, who had
also been horrifically stabbed, couldn’t stop crying. The attackers turned back
and killed her.
RELATED:Police: Stabbing was probably a terror attack
“[Wilson] has a huge amount of street smarts, that’s what
saved her at the end of the day,” said Wilson’s friend David Pileggi, the
director of Christ Church in Jerusalem’s Old City, whose organization runs
Shoresh Tours, which provides study tours for Christians traveling in Israel and
Wilson is a frequent tour guide for Shoresh, specializing
in the Second Temple Period.
Wilson recounted Saturday’s terrible events
in the hills west of Jerusalem when she spoke with Pileggi by phone on Sunday
Wilson and Luken met in 2007 when both were participants on a
study tour called “Walking with Jesus in His Jewish World,” run by Shoresh and
CMJ Israel, an organization that promotes Messianic (Christian)
Following the 2007 tour, Luken left a 16-year career at the US
Department of Education and joined the staff of CMJ in England.
lived in Virginia for many years before moving to Nottingham, England, where
CMJ’s offices are located.
“Kristine had said she loved hiking in Israel,
and Kay said, ‘Come on, let’s go,’” Pileggi recounted.
“Kristine was very
much like Kay, very vivacious, very popular,” Pileggi said.
The two went
hiking on Saturday afternoon in the hills near Mata, midway between Tsur
Hadassah and Beit Shemesh. The area includes part of the Israel National Trail
and is a popular weekend destination for families. They brought Wilson’s small
brown dog Peanut, who often joins Wilson’s tours and is very popular with
clients. Peanut was found, unharmed, by rescue workers on Saturday
Wilson came to Israel from Great Britain at age 16 with a very
strong Zionistic identity, and is one of Shoresh’s most popular tour guides,
Pileggi said. Wilson is also a jazz pianist who plays small clubs in Tel Aviv
and has given lectures on the impact of Jews on jazz.
herself very easily to people, and she’s one of the best spokespeople for Israel
that I’ve ever met, explaining the country, undermining the core of
anti-Semitism, and giving people a balanced understanding of very complicated
political situations,” Pileggi said.
The CMJ community was stunned by the
“We’re a community, we’re not only in shock, we’re in mourning,”
Pileggi said. “We’re praying for Kay’s improvement and speedy recovering, and
working to do everything we can to help her and help [Luken’s]
Luken is survived by her parents and siblings.
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