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Israel Mourns the Lives Cut Short by Latest Act of Palestinian Terror

June 7, 2002
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The shock, sorrow and outrage from the most recent terrorist attack intensified as more became known about the victims.

Israeli newspapers were filled with the faces of those killed in Wednesday’s suicide car-bombing in northern Israel. Along with running the heart-rending pictures, the papers provided summaries of the victims’ lives and ambitions, cut short by the bombing.

Irena Stanislavsky, whose son David was killed in the bombing, had been looking forward to celebrating his upcoming engagement.

On Wednesday, after learning of her son’s death, she tried to gather the strength to call David’s fiancee in Ukraine with the news.

“I can’t do it. I don’t know how to tell her that their engagement party, which was planned for next month, won’t take place,” she told Ma’ariv.

Her 23-year-old son immigrated with her to Israel from Ukraine four years ago. He served as a driver in the army and had recently signed on to extend his military service.

“He loved the army,” his mother said. “He was a wonderful person — polite, optimistic, with a sense of humor and joy for life.”

“All of the dreams and plans have been shattered, and I’m left alone here. I have no more children,” she said.

Two-and-a-half months ago, 20-year-old Staff Sgt. Zvi Gelbert of Hadera missed a bus — and saved his life in the process, because the bus was the target of a terrorist attack.

On Wednesday, he was not as lucky.

After watching the bus blow up in March, Gelbert was apprehensive about getting aboard another bus.

On Wednesday, he boarded bus No. 830 for the daily ride to his army base.

“He was the prince of the house. A happy and smiling person,” his older sister, Zehavit, said Thursday.

In his spare time, Gelbert worked as a referee in a lower-level soccer league, and his dream was to advance to the higher leagues.

His friends said Gelbert was excited about the World Cup soccer games. He is survived by his parents and two sisters.

The family of Adi Dahan, 17, of Afula, was still mourning the recent death of her older brother, Shlomi, in a fall from a cliff during a hike when tragedy struck the family again.

“A huge wall has fallen on the family, and I don’t know how they will deal with the double catastrophe,” Adi’s uncle, Max Cohen, said.

“Adi supported her family since the tragedy. She was in effect the backbone of the family. Now all is destroyed. God picks the flowers one by one.”

Adi was returning home on the bus after visiting her boyfriend in Tel Aviv.

She is survived by her parents, a sister and a brother.

Staff Sgt. Gennadi Issakov, 20, of Hadera, was supposed to take a later bus to his army base on Wednesday, but he left home early to cover for a friend who wanted to head off early.

His commander had planned to tell Issakov that he had been granted his wish to be named a noncommissioned officer and that he would be promoted to the rank of sergeant. Issakov never got to his base to find out.

“I planned to tell him that I had decided to give him the assignment,” his commander said. “When I heard about the attack, I ran to the bus and found his beret. I rushed to the hospital, but was told there that he had been killed.”

The commander described him as a motivated soldier who volunteered for extra duties.

Issakov, who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union with his family four years ago, is survived by his parents and two sisters.

Hours after Wednesday’s terror attack, Israeli forces attacked Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound.

In the operation, which began before dawn Thursday and lasted about six hours, Israeli tanks and bulldozers destroyed three buildings in Arafat’s compound.

One shell hit Arafat’s bedroom, but Israeli officials later denied they were trying to kill him. “If there had been any intention of harming Arafat, it wouldn’t have been a problem,” an Israeli military spokesman said.

One of Arafat’s bodyguards was killed and six other people were wounded during exchanges of fire at the compound. Arafat, who was not harmed, said of the army operation, “This is fascism, Nazism.” He vowed that the Palestinian people would continue their struggle.

Israeli officials said the operation was launched in response to a wave of Palestinian terrorism sweeping Israel, including Wednesday’s suicide bombing.

The army said in a statement that Arafat’s Palestinian Authority is “directly responsible for the terrorism that originates in its territory.”

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