fogel itamar attack body bags 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
“Mazal Tov on the birth of Hadas,” reads a hand-written sign on the front door
of the Fogel home in the Itamar settlement, celebrating the toddler’s birth four
months before she, her parents, and two pre-teen siblings were killed there on
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The modest home lies in a new neighborhood that overlooks a
rocky cliff leading to a creek bed and hilltop spotted with a few houses
belonging to the nearby Palestinian village of Hawara.
On Sunday, news
crews parked outside the house as police forensic personnel walked in and out. A
handful of soldiers sat on a bench on the sidewalk outside, while a photographer
made coffee at an improvised refreshments stand.
The mood was somber on
Sunday, either because residents were clearing out to make it to the funeral for
the five Fogels in Jerusalem, or because of a sense of collective shock, even in
a community that had lost 15 members to terrorism before Friday.
Pinchas Gerber, who made aliya from New York and has lived in Itamar for 25
years, said that he and other social workers helping the residents have their
work cut out for them.
“We are meeting with the [three surviving Fogel]
children and talking to them.
What’s important for them is to be able to
express what they’re feeling. The anger, frustration, fear, to find a way to
Gerber said that when tragedy strikes a community like
Itamar, which has been visited by terror several times in the past, “it brings
back the trauma of five-10 years ago and people feel like they’re reliving it
all over again.
When something like this happens it has a communal
effect, it effects the entire community, not just the relatives of the
In the days to come, Gerber said he and other social workers
will try to meet with around 180 families in the settlement, which houses around
1,000 members. They will also speak to nursery school teachers in order to help
train them in ways to answer children’s questions or fears following the attack,
and will form parent groups in which the residents will be able to express their
feelings with one another.
“People need to know that the feelings they
have are normal in a situation like this,” adding that the situation is
especially sensitive for the surviving Fogel children, aged two, eight and 12,
whose “whole world has fallen apart.”
The Fogels weren’t the first family
killed by terrorists in Itamar. In June 2002, a Palestinian infiltrated the
Shabo home and gunned down the mother, Rachel, and three of her children, aged
16, 13, and five. Two other children were seriously wounded and a neighborhood
security guard was killed.
A month earlier, a terrorist entered the
settlement and shot and killed 14-year-old yeshiva student Gilad Stieglitz and
wounded another student.
The gunman continued onto the yeshiva itself,
where he killed students Avraham Siton and Netanel Riachi.
Moshe Goldshmidt, also a 25-yearresident who made aliya from New York, said on
Sunday the locals were in shock, trying to digest an attack that was shocking
even by the standards set by previous ones there.
“They are still trying
to absorb what happened, something so cruel, so brutal, a husband and a wife and
three children murdered in their home, there’s no words that can describe it.
We’re talking about of course a terrible event that comes after so many terror
attacks that we’ve suffered here. We have 20- something fatalities in the
settlement,” he said.
He described 11-year-old Yoav Fogel as “a
tremendous giant in Torah study” and said it was a “very special family that was
very involved in building Israel and in giving charity.”
“Every one of
these three children was an angel,” Goldshmidt said.