Topics: Terrorism

Sadly, It Happens All the Time

Israel is always quick to bounce back from terror attacks, but can one ever truly get used to tragedy?

Video: Friends bid farewell to Rina

 

On Friday morning, Rina Shnerb sent a WhatsApp message to friends and family to coordinate what everyone would bring to the Shabbat meal later that day. By the time Shabbat rolled around, Rina was dead and being laid to rest  at the local cemetery in her hometown of Lod. The joyful weekly Shabbat meal was cancelled.

How cruel fate can be, was my thought as I watched the reports of the terrorist attack. On Friday morning, the Shnerb family’s world was still in order. Sure, it had only been a couple of weeks since all of Israel had mourned the senseless death of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, but the nation had since bounced back to routine, because we’ve learned the hard way that life goes on.

This way of life surely seems strange to outsiders. Can it be that a people can become used to the constant threat of becoming victims of terrorism? I can’t provide a clear answer to this. Perhaps we have become too used to the situation, even if we don’t accept it.

Rina’s father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, surely never dreamed that their morning hike to the Bubin spring would end in tragedy. But this would not be the first such incident at this popular spot. Four years ago, Danny Gonen, who was also from Lod, was shot and killed by Palestinian gunmen while visiting the Bubin spring, which was after renamed in his memory as the Danny Spring.

Rabbi Eitan Shnerb

Rina’s father, speaking to reporters at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

The area around the spring is regularly patrolled by the Israeli army. Before Eitan Shnerb drove off with his children for their morning hike, he is said to have checked on the security situation. With his children getting older, he wanted to spend more time with them, show them the Land of Israel, as he told reporters from his hospital bed at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on Saturday.

After reaching the spring, he parked the car and walked with his children down the marked path. Then, the explosion.

Rina died on the spot, while her father and brother, Dvir, suffered serious injuries. Eitan recounted that he was immediately aware that his daughter had been killed, and that both he and Dvir said their tearful goodbyes to her while waiting on rescue forces to arrive.

I was amazed at how this bereaved father was able to speak calmly, despite the overwhelming tragedy he had experienced. Rabbi Shnerb thanked Rina for saving both him and her brother (Rina had absorbed most of the blast), and expressed his conviction that they must now demonstrate strength, not weakness, for the sake of the people of Israel.

Rina was laid to rest in Lod just before the Shabbat. Hundreds of people, family and friends, accompanied Rina on her final journey. Sadly, her father could not be there, and had to say his last goodbye to his beloved daughter over phone.

Final journey

Hundreds attend the funeral of Rina Shnerb, murdered just hours before by terrorists.

Israeli security forces continue to hunt for the terrorists responsible. But for the rest of us, life goes on. A fresh news cycle will soon displace the reports of the tragedy of the Shnerb family. And at some point, it will all happen again. Another terrorist attack, another tragedy, another family broken. Can you ever truly get used to something like this?

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