The husband of Dafna Meir hy”d, who was murdered by a terrorist in her home in Otniel, spoke with journalist Emily Amrousi about Dafna, her life, and her tragic death.
Here are some of the incredible things he said:
How they met
Natan, the son of Professor Elhanan Meir, a world-renowned expert in occupational psychology, grew up in Rehavia in Jerusalem. “I grew up in the most bourgeois place in the country — the furthest possible place from Dafna’s world as a child. We met in the army, in southern Lebanon. I was a combat medic, and she was doing surveillance for the air force. When I saw her for the first time — a hat with curls jumping out of it — I fell in love with her in an instant. The curls were a part of her. In the mornings she would look like she had been electrocuted, and she would say to me: ‘Do you love me like this?’
“I had girlfriends before her, long-term ones, but when I saw Dafna, I said to myself, that’s it. It’s over. Two weeks later I proposed to her.”
“The one thing we agreed before we got married was that we would open our home to foster children. We were both familiar with the material: she as a foster child and boarding school student who grew up without a home; and me as a son to a family that took in foster children and who grew up with foster siblings. We had decided two things: We wouldn’t take in a baby under a year old, and we wouldn’t take in a child with special needs. Thank God, we didn’t stick to either of these decisions.”
Being open parents
“We talk about everything with our kids all the time,” Natan says. “The message is that they can tell us anything. We will always be able to handle it. We will always accept it.”
Renana [their 17 year old daughter] is thinking about attending a pre-military course next year before joining the Israel Defense Forces. “I lost my best friend,” she says as she flinches in her mourner’s chair. “My mother would sit with us for hours, with Akiva and me, and we would drink tea and talk all night. She would talk to us like an equal. I forwarded messages from her to my friends and messages from my friends to her. Sometimes it was hard to tell which one of us was the teenager and which one of us was the parent. She even had pimples, and I didn’t.”
Their Arab friends
Another old friend of the Meir family is Muhammad Adais from Beit Imra. “Muhammad is three days older than me. We are the same age, and his four children are the same age as my four biological children. We have known each other for years and there are plenty of funny stories about stuff we did together. He calls me ‘Neten.’ When the heaters at the kindergartens in the community broke down, we gathered donations for new heaters. I told him that the children in Otniel were cold, and he gave the biggest donation.”
One day after the attack, when the name of the terrorist surfaced, Natan realized that the murderer who took his wife’s life was related to his friend Muhammad. On Wednesday, Muhammad came to Otniel to pay his respects, after receiving special authorization from the GOC Central Command. The two friends embraced in a long and painful hug. “I believe in human beings. I am not giving up on peace. I have a lot of Arab friends,” Natan says.
How the family feel now
“In this home there is no anger, and there are no grudges. We are sad and pained. I couldn’t care less whether they caught him or not. When we heard he was caught, Noa jumped on the bed with joy, and Renana felt relieved that he wasn’t still at large and wouldn’t hurt anyone else. But I don’t really care about him. We have no anger toward the state. We have a lot of love for this state that embraces us. We asked the prime minister to keep taking us higher. We are asking big things for this people. Not the capture of one specific terrorist, not another house built or one house less. We want the Jewish people to feel like they have returned home.”
You can read the full account here.