A neighbor of the Salomon family who were attacked last Shabbat in the community of Halamish posted an emotive and heartrending account of her Shabbat.
Batsheva Davis Adamit recorded her Friday night which began with inviting soldiers for Shabbat dinner to a complete nightmare:
Here is a long post. My most vulnerable post I’ve ever written of my account which happened 3 doors away from my home this past Friday night. Terror in Neve Tzuf/Halamish.
I don’t usually (ever) post anything private but this serves a different purpose.
Am Yisrael Chai. May we feel strong and be strong and know no more horrifying sorrow.
Let’s get this down on paper. Not just for you, but for me, too. I haven’t processed and I don’t know how to. I keep bursting out in hysterical 1 second weeping and then it stops. I’m scared to feel all I feel, inside and out loud, because I don’t want the grief to overtake me.
What happened Friday night..
My in laws were with us for shabbat and a Hebrew University study abroad student and her friend from America.
Gilad came home from shul all excited because the soldiers who were on duty in our yishuv accepted his invitation to come and eat shabbat dinner with us. He rushes in and quickly says, “shev, there are 4 chayalim here, is that ok if they eat with us? let’s put all the food on the plata”. I was excited. We all were. We’ve been wanting to have the soldiers for a long time but never know when they’re going to be around and if they would come. They came. With all their guns, their equipment, and their smiles and gratitude.
We sang Shalom Aleichem, not knowing that the angels of peace won’t be visiting this shabbat rather the devil will be.
We sat down, ate, drank, sang, ate dessert, started singing some more and in the middle of our shabbat song the commander’s military phone was alerted and ringing. He answered and before we knew it all the soldiers jumped up, grabbed their guns and bolted out the door. This wasn’t how we envisioned the too abrupt end to our beautiful shabbat meal. They were trying to say thank you while running out but needed to run while the commander was saying “yalla, karah mashehu, karah mashehu. maher!”.
I thought maybe something was going on right outside the yishuv, maybe the all too standard molotov cocktail throwing or something. But within about 10 minutes the yishuv’s warning siren started going off. This meant that we all had to be inside our homes on complete lockdown. Lock all your doors and windows. Put down the trisim (hard plastic shades which block out any light) and turn on your phones to follow security procedures and directions.
The 2 girls staying at my house are not observant and went to their room to their phones to check the news. I went in there to check on them and they didn’t want to tell me what they saw.. after a minute they told me that 3 people were critically injured inside our yishuv by a terrorist who infiltrated and barged into someone’s shabbat dinner and started stabbing with his knife. 2 were already dead, completely slaughtered. WHAT?!?!?!?! WHO?????? WHERE??????? WHAT IS HAPPENING?????!?!?!? The fear was paralyzing. The worry, the anger, the fear was all growing and swelling and getting too big. I was exploding inside. Our phones kept going off telling us to stay inside, lock everything, and stay alert.
The ages of the victims first mentioned in the news were a mistake, we kept going through the lists on people in our heads who fit those descriptions. Finally a message came from the yishuv- “a devastating stabbing incident at Salomon’s house. Stay in your homes. The incident is not over.” NO! NOOOO! NO!!! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!! PLEASE GD! HELP!!! NOOOOO!!!!
Yossi and Tova Solomon live 3 doors away from us. They had a new grandson born a few days earlier and the family decided to come to the grandparents to celebrate and have a Shalom zachar on Friday night at 10pm. The new baby and his parents stayed in the hospital for Shabbat, celebrating from afar. But in the house was Yossi and Tova (70 years old), their daughter Chaya (45 years old), their son Elad (35 years old) with his wife and 5 children. Everyone was invited to their home at 10pm.
At 9:50pm, a palestinian animal terrorist barged in the door knife in hand. The slaughter began. And wouldn’t have ended had the neighbors not heard all the screaming. My close friend’s parents live across the path and heard the screams. Her father ran over to check and saw from outside that there was a terrorist violently murdering their beloved friends and neighbors. Her brother was home for shabbat. He ran to his gun, ran across the pathway, stood outside at the window of the house, took one shot and brought the terrorist down. He then started searching around the rest of the house to make sure there wasn’t other terrorists while his mother called for help and security started arriving and attempting to save who could be saved. Yossi, Elad, and Chaya had no chance. They were slaughtered. There is no other word to use. They started working on Tova. Tova is no longer in critical condition fighting for her life. She is being treated at the hospital. But her dear amazing happy incredible sweet sweet husband Yossi is no longer. And her 2 precious children are no longer. This is not a reality that can be digested or understood or accepted.
Before the terrorist burst in, Elad’s wife, Michal, and the 5 kids were all dressed and excited for the guests to start coming and witnessed the the most horrific devastating catastrophic thing beginning. Michal jumped into action. She grabbed all the kids and ran to a room and locked themselves in. She literally saved all the children. But her husband, her soul mate, the father of her gorgeous children was being murdered right outside the room.
We started receiving messages that there might be another terrorist (because the initial screams heard were “mechablim!!”- plural for terrorists) and to stay put and turn on all external house lights. Soldiers were all over the yishuv, police, military, mada, zaka, hatzala, every security force were in every corner of the yishuv and were searching every single house, yard, field, bush, garbage can, playground, construction site, forest with helicopters hovering overhead and searching everywhere. They brought search dogs, special units. For the first few hours we kept getting a knock on our door by different soldiers, with dogs and without that they were searching our yard and we shouldn’t be alarmed. We were told to report ANYTHING different.
I camped out in our living room. Obviously no sleep was going to happen, and my kids are on the 2nd floor. if anyone is breaking in, they’re not getting to my kids. So we “slept” at the entrance to the house. Gilad and I stayed in the living room until messages came in that the nighttime search was over- maybe 3 or 4am. I dont know. But they said searching will be happening until minyan starts at 8:30am, so until 8:15am no one is still allowed to leave their houses or unlock their doors.
This was supposed to be a beautiful shabbat. It was the most horrific shabbat.
After we ate lunch, there was a knock on our door with more soldiers. My throat went dry and my heart dropped into my knees until I saw their faces. The same soldiers came back from the shabbat dinner the night before. They wanted to come and properly say thank you. “No, No! Thank YOU!” We sat with them in our yard, with our children and guests and they started rehashing details from the night before. They needed to for them. We listened and spoke and ate and drank. How surreal. So calm. So peaceful outside. But no peace at all. Just broken. The heart, the mind, the soul, the breath, broken.
This yishuv is amazing and resilient and strong. It’s been through so much. Recently and not so recently. The community made a pot luck seudat shlishit and everyone brought something. People spoke, leaders of the community, people sang and ate and hugged each other and cried. People were together. And we’re coming together and moving forward in our security demands and all of our demands as a beautiful, growing, strong and passionate yishuv.
At Shabbat lunch, Lavi (my almost 4 year old son) wanted to sing a song. He opened the bencher and pointed to some words (yes, the bencher was upside down) and said “Eema, sing this one!” pointing randomly at some words. I said okay not knowing what I’d start singing and what came out of my mouth was “Kol ha’olam kuloh, gesher tzar me’od” (the whole wide world is a very narrow bridge). Lavi knows it and he was excited and starting singing along more loudly when we got to the 2nd part of the song “v’haikar lo lefached klal!” (the most important thing is is to have no fear at all). The fear is so strong, its awful, it can paralyze. But we can’t be afraid. Then we can’t move. I keep telling myself this. I don’t want to be afraid. I want to feel strong and not intimidated or scared, and powerful and warm and loving and fierce. We’re supported and supportive and are strong together.
Thank you for the messages and calls of love and concern. Each one really means a lot.
We are davening and acting so that this should never happen again anywhere, ever. We are davening that Tova bat Chaya Esther will have a complete refu’a- physically and davening extra hard for the emotional part. Who could imagine.
The song we were in the middle of singing with the soldiers on Friday night is called “Agaldelcha”- a sfardic song which has beautiful words. the ending signs off with a sort of kaddish “v’yitgadal b’goy kadosh v’elyon. V’yitkadash shmei rabah b’alma”. That night ended in the biggest kaddish. Yossi, Elad and Chaya are with Hshem now and we will fill their void here in Olam Hazeh with kedusha.
One last thing before I sign off. Last shabbat our yishuv hosted 56 special needs children (and some older) for an entire shabbat. Each child had a counselor accompanying him/her. Families were asked to sign up to host a participant and counselor for sleeping and eating one meal. We had a 5 year old girl and her 15 year old counselor with us. It truly was a special Shabbat. In shul, a participant, a boy, maybe 20 years old, in a wheelchair, asked Gilad if he could find someone to say kaddish for his grandfather. Gilad of course said yes and went over to Yossi and asked him to say Kaddish for this boy’s grandfather. Yossi didn’t hesitate for a minute. Of course he’ll say kaddish for him.
And now we’re saying kaddish for Yossi. And his 2 children. Just beyond devastating.
We should learn from Yossi and always smile, be friendly, help when we can and sometimes even when we feel we can’t, be positive and be holy. Fill the void in this world by acting and speaking and living with kedusha and purpose.
With a lot of love,