From left: The parents of bombing victim Anat Rosen-Winter, Zvi and Vehava Rosen, and co-owner of the Beit Hanna building, Roni Douek.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Twenty years after three Israeli women were murdered in a suicide bombing at Tel Aviv’s Café Apropos, members of the victims’ families on Tuesday memorialized their loved ones during a ceremony near the site of the attack.
On the eve of Purim in March of 1997, shortly before 2 p.m., a Palestinian terrorist detonated an explosive device hidden in his luggage at the café’s entrance, in the Beit Hanna building on Ben-Gurion Boulevard.
Yael Gilad, Michal Meidan-Avrahami and Anat Rosen-Winter, all of whom were in their early 30s, were killed.
Rosen-Winter died while shielding her six-month-old daughter from the blast.
It took nearly eight years to arrest the killer, a Hamas operative named Ibrahim Ghaneimat.
During Tuesday’s somber ceremony, three palm trees bearing plaques with each woman’s name were planted in a courtyard near the scene of the attack.
“Twenty years ago, Anat sat with her six-month-old daughter, Shani, in the Apropos Cafe, here in Beit Hanna to celebrate Purim,” said her father Zvi Rosen. “The moments of happiness were brutally cut short when a savage terrorist detonated an explosive charge and Anat lost her life while shielding her little daughter, and saving her life.
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“The pain of her mother’s death, our daughter Anat, is constant. How old she should have been today, and how good it would have been if she had lived and enjoyed her daughter and her family.”
Rosen continued: “There is no limit to the suffering caused, and it is difficult to define the pain of her absence.”
Yael’s mother, Dr. Tamar Gilad, also recounted the pain of the tragedy.
“On March 21, 1997, on the eve of Purim, it was a sunny spring day,” she said.
“Three young women: Michal, Anat, and Yael, arrived at the historic building of Beit Hanna, ordered coffee at Café Apropos and settled in the yard… then a powerful explosion put an end to three beautiful and bright flowers in full bloom.”
Gilad continued: “The Apropos Cafe has been closed for a long time, but life continues to flow, and maybe that’s the way it should be.”
Meidan-Avrahami’s husband, Shai, echoed Rosen and Gilad’s sentiments about the enduring loss.
“Every day of our lives and wherever we turn, the pain, sadness and the terrible sense of missed opportunity remain, accompanied by the family and the circle of people who knew Yael, Anat, and Michal,” he said.
“We hope that the general public will stop for a moment, think, and consider what that means.”
Roni Douek, a social entrepreneur and co-owner of the building where the blast took place, described the three victims as “symbols of strong and independent women who only wanted to do good.”
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