TEL AVIV (Dec. 3)
Tamar Artzi, the 24-year-old Israeli woman who was the first passenger shot by the hijackers of Egyptair Flight 648 in Malta November 23, returned to her home in Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev last night to a joyous, tearful welcome.
Although apparently well on the way to recovery from her wounds, she was transported from Ben Gurion Airport in an ambulance. Strung up over the entrance to the kibbutz was a large sign with the words “Tamar, we hug you on your return.” Her parents, who flew to Malta when they learned she was shot, were with her on her return.
The young woman left last month on what was to have been a carefree vacation tour of Egypt and the Far East with a travelling companion, Nitzan Mendelson. She spoke highly of her treatment at St. Lukes Hospital in Valleta, Malta. As for the hijackers, she told reporters, “I don’t know what the hijackers wanted or who they were. They had a nasty smile and frisked us and then shot us.”
Mendelson, 23, was the second of the passengers shot. A bullet lodged in her brain and she remained in a coma on a life-support system for more than a week. She died in Malta Sunday night. Her body will be flown to Israel later this week for burial at her home, Kibbutz Hulata in Galilee. Artzi and Mendelson were the only Israelis on the hijacked plane.