“The baby who was born today is a reminder from my husband, Gal, and will fill me with a lot of joy and consolation. She looks like him. I can already see that she’s going to be a pretty girl”, said an emotional Ayelet Shilon just a short time after she gave birth. Only the bandage that covers the eye of the new mother served as testimony to the horror she lived through when she lost her husband, her mother and one of her daughters in the shooting attack at a public bus in Emmanuel.
The terror attack was carried out some seven months ago. Ayelet was riding with her mother, Zilpa Kashi, her son, Or-Haim (two-years-old), and her twin daughters, Galia-Esther and Sarah-Tiferet (eight-months-old) to her home in Emmanuel. Zilpa and Sarah-Tiferet were killed immediately by the gunfire. Gal, Ayelet’s husband, rushed to the site of the terror attack and was killed by the terrorists’ gunfire.
Ayelet sustained serious injuries and was taken to Rabin Medical Center. Her condition improved, but she lost vision in one of her eyes. Only when she was in the hospital did the family find out that she was in her first months of pregnancy.
“At the beginning of the pregnancy, Gal and I still hadn’t told our families. Gal was very excited about the new child, and spoke about expanding our family. After the terror attack I knew that this pregnancy would be an extension of Gal, an expansion of the family that he wanted so very much. The children and my faith gave me the strength to continue”, said Ayelet in the hospital yesterday.
Ayelet, 29, spent most of her pregnancy without a husband or a mother around, but with a lot of other family and friends who supported her while she recovered from the injuries she sustained in the horrific terror attack. She told everyone that their support and help was what got her through her the most difficult times. “In a single moment I turned into a widow, a bereaved mother and an orphan”, she said then. “Everything has been chopped off. The children I have left and my faith are what give me the strength to go on living”.
Some two hours after the delivery Ayelet was calm and overjoyed in her hospital bed. Her sister was sitting with her two children who survived the attack,the 34-month-old Or-Haim and the year and a half old Galia-Esther, in her Bnei Brak apartment that Ayelet has been living in since the terror attack…
Despite the difficult situations that Ayelet has had to live through and can expect to face in the future, it was important for her to end our interview on an optimistic note: “Now I am ready for the real task of raising the children and the new baby. It is coping of a different sort that I am sure will contribute a lot to my life and will bring me a lot of joy. I try to think, like a song that I know which goes, that if I am happy the entire world will be happy. I believe that that is really what will happen.”
This appeared in Yediot Aharonot on February 17, 2003.