Passengers' families wait for a miracle from Thailand

Passengers' families wait for a 'miracle' from Thailand.

September 16, 2007 13:32
3 minute read.
Passengers' families wait for a miracle from Thailand

tzahi biton 224.88. (photo credit: Channel 10)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Lili Alon's family members and friends gathered at her mother's house in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood early on Monday. They were hanging strongly onto the hope that Alon, together with her high school girlfriend, Rachel Tufan, both 23, were in some miraculous way not on the flight from Bangkok to Phuket that crashed Sunday and took 89 passengers' lives, eight of them feared to be Israelis. Two of the Israeli victims have been identified, but a check by Israel Police representatives carrying DNA samples who arrived in Thailand on Monday was being awaited before publication of their names, according to Beit Chabad's rabbi in Bangkok, Nechemia Wilhelm. In Jerusalem, the long wait for any such information was proving unbearable. "She is the most beautiful and smart girl, not at all hasty," cried Margalit, Lili Alon's aunt, who lives a couple of blocks away. "I don't know what made them change the course of their trip and take an earlier flight to Phuket." Margalit said the last time she spoke to Lili was on Rosh Hashana eve. "Lili called to say Happy New Year," she said. "She told me she was enjoying the trip and that she planned to fly to Phuket later this week and to spend Yom Kippur in Beit Chabad. She said she met some friends and they were going to travel around the islands with them." Lili's friends and family members said she and Tufan had been planning this trip for a long time. Both of them graduated from the same high school in Gilo and remained close friends who enjoyed traveling together. On the flight from Bangkok to Phuket they sat next to each other, waiting to land on the exotic tropical island. A few years ago, Lili suffered a cerebrovascular accident but recovered completely. Several years later instead of serving in the IDF she did her national service in the same hospital department where she was treated. She was slated to start her second year of biochemistry studies at Hadassah College in Jerusalem and was the pride of the family. Lili's younger brother, Yonathan, 21, refused to speak about his missing sister, saying he believed everything was still possible. Lili's mother, Shoshana, was rushed to the hospital the night before, shortly after she received the bad news. Sunday night a police forensics team arrived at the family house before flying to Phuket and collected DNA samples to identify Lili's body in case she was among the dead passengers. "Shoshana raised Lili and Yonathan all by herself, and what a great job she did. We all must stay strong for her," Margalit said. At Tufan's house, two streets away, many family members were sitting inside and praying for a miracle. Rachel's parents and three brothers refused to speak to the media but kept talking to the Foreign Ministry representatives in Israel and in Thailand. On Monday a representative of the family was set to fly to Phuket. The two known Israeli survivors of the plane crash in Phuket - Vladimir and Isabelle Freilichman - are suffering from spinal fractures that are not life threatening but require them to lie immobile, according to Dr. Daphna Givati of the Magen David Adom team that flew to Thailand. The Freilichmans were brought to Ko Phuket hospital for X-rays and observation, but they have not undergone any surgical intervention, and are to be transported to an Israeli hospital as soon as possible. Besides the two Jerusalem girls and the Freilichmans, six other Israeli passengers were on the flight and are still reported missing: Adi Naim, 25, and Rotem Naori, 24, from Kfar Yona, who were married two weeks ago and were on their honeymoon; their friends Itzik Biton, 26, and Hofit Iliya from Kfar Yona, who were married five months ago; Hila Gershoni, 23, from Holon; and Tal Feldman, 23, from Rishon Lezion.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

People hold candles
April 20, 2019
Thirteen people shot to death at Mexico bar massacre