Man who lost wife, 3 kids in attack goes south to help

"After what I went through I can help people, because I understand what they're going through."

boaz shabo 298.88 (photo credit: MDA)
boaz shabo 298.88
(photo credit: MDA)
Boaz Shabo, a Magen David Adom volunteer from the Dan Region who lost his wife and three children in a terror attack on their home in Itamar five years ago, has gone to help out in Sderot. Shabo, who has four other children - two of them married - and one grandchild, asked them if they agreed to his going to the town, which is being bombarded by Kassam rockets from Gaza. "Go help people, just as we were helped," they said. Although he was asked to bolster the MDA staff in Ashkelon, Shabo said he prefers to volunteer in the "eye of the storm," in Sderot itself. In the past few days, he has already treated a number of people wounded in rocket attacks. "After what I went through I can help people, because I understand what they're going through," he said. "I can speak to them eye to eye, not like a psychologist or a social worker who speaks in theory. I'm happy that I've been there for several days and helped people. And I hope I can go back and help as long as I'm needed." Shabo's wife, Rahel, and three of their children were murdered in 2002 when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar. "I was on my way home from work," he says, recalling the terrible night. "I spoke to my wife about preparations for Shabbat, and at the checkpoint I heard that a terrorist had locked himself up in a home in Itamar. I had a gut feeling it was my house, and when I got home, I saw I was right." Shabo's two older children, Atara and Yariv, managed to get out the front door when the terrorist broke open the back one and opened fire. After security forces killed the terrorist, his son Asael, then nine, who had been seriously wounded and later had his leg amputated, was brought out, along with Aviya, then 14, who was also seriously hurt. Then, four bodies were removed - Rahel, his wife, and sons Neriya (15), Zvi (12) and Avishai (five). After the funerals, Shabo was determined to be both father and mother to his surviving children. He also decided to volunteer with MDA. "Giving so as not to receive is my therapy and helps me go on," he says. Shabo also volunteered on an ambulance during a terror attack on Rehov Allenby in Tel Aviv and in the North during the Second Lebanon War. "I have shown the terrorist that with all the pain and unbearable loss, he did not destroy my entire family," he says, smiling he presents a photo of his new granddaughter on his cellular phone.