Hate on the holiday of love

I stood outside the home of a family torn apart by hatred on the holiday of love.

Yotam Ovadia (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yotam Ovadia
(photo credit: Courtesy)
ON THE evening of July 26, as Israel ushered in Tu B’av – the Jewish holiday of love – a Palestinian teenager named Muhammad Yousef hopped over the fence surrounding the Adam settlement, just north of Jerusalem. Armed with a knife and blinded with hatred, the 17-year-old from the village of Kober infiltrated the quiet hilltop neighborhood prepared to stab and kill the first Jew that he saw.
He succeeded in doing just that.
At that exact moment, 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia was walking down the road – one he walked often. An only child, his parents’ home was at one end of the street, his own home at the other. On this particular evening the young father of two was in the midst of preparing a special dinner for his wife to celebrate the romantic holiday.
With Ovadia unsuspecting of anything, Yousef pounced on him, stabbing him repeatedly.
Just down the road, another man was outside his home and heard the screams. He saw Ovadia stumbling toward him – wide-eyed, bleeding profusely. He stepped out to help. In the entrance to his home, Yousef attacked him mercilessly as well, stabbing him again and again and again.
Ovadia died of his wounds a few hours later; the second man remains in serious condition.
A third man also rushed to their aid. Armed with a gun, the man managed to shoot the attacker, despite being stabbed and lightly wounded. After being shot, Yousef fell to the ground before getting up once again to continue the attack. A nearby neighbor shot him again, this time ending his young life.
I found myself in Adam at the scene of the horrific attack just a few hours after the mayhem had quieted down. I stood outside the home of a family torn apart by hatred on the holiday of love.
As soldiers went door to door to make sure no other terrorist had infiltrated the community, teenagers walked the streets as if it was just any other night. It was eerily quiet. Police cars circled. The road where the stabbing had taken place had been hosed down.
As I walked up to the blood-stained driveway where a young man about my age had laid just hours earlier, breathing what was to be some of his final labored breaths, I met Daniel Nadav.
Nadav lives a few houses down from the second stabbing victim and ran outside when he heard the screams, thinking he was going to break up a neighborhood feud. Instead, he watched as Ovadia collapsed in the driveway, as his 58-year-old neighbor was stabbed repeatedly, and as a hate-filled 17-year-old boy was shot to death after destroying a family, after creating havoc in a quiet suburban community.
It was a while after the attack had happened and not many people were still on the streets, but Nadav hadn’t moved. He circled the location where the attack occurred, fidgeting, dramatically reenacting the stabbing motions of the terrorist. He showed me pictures he had taken of the wounded, he used the light from his phone to reveal the blood stains splattered on the parked cars, on the driveway walls.
We talked about whether he would be able to move on from this experience, whether this quaint little Jerusalem suburb would be able to pick itself up after being so terribly violated.
As I was getting ready to leave, Nadav assured me that despite the trauma he had witnessed he was fine, that he would be able to sleep that night.
I didn’t believe him. He wasn’t fine. I wasn’t fine.
None of this was fine.
The author is an editor for The Jerusalem Post