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The Shabo Family

( 06:09 Jun-21-02, 11 Tammuz 5762
5 Murdered in Itamar Massacre

The Shabo Family, in a 4 year old picture:
(from above right)- Rachel [killed], Avishai [killed], Boaz, Meir, Yariv
(bottom)- Avia [wounded], Tzvika [killed], Asael [wounded], Neria [killed], Atara
Rachel Shabo and three of her children were murdered by terrorists who infiltrated into the Shomron community of Itamar on Thursday night. Also murdered were three of her boys, Nerya, 15, Tzvika, 12, and Avishai, 5, as well as a neighbor Yossi Twyto, who responded to assist in saving the family.
Among the wounded is another child of the family, a 10-year-old boy in serious condition and his sister, 13, with moderate-to-serious chest wounds.
hear interview with
Leah Goldschmidt,
during the attack:

download [1.3 MB]

Joseph Twito z"l

The Attack in Itamar

Last night in the Jewish community of Itamar, near Shechem, a Palestinian terrorist broke into a home and deliberately murdered a mother and three of her young children, as well as wounding two of the family's other kids. CNN and other foreign media outlets, in their initial reporting, spoke blandly of the killing of "4 Israeli Jewish settlers", coldly offering little detail as to what happened or how another Israeli family had just been torn apart forever by Palestinian terror.

The Father Hugged the Bodies of His Wife and Three Children

(translation of excerpts of an article on Y-net, the web site of Yediot Aharonot, June 21, 2002. The original article in Hebrew can be found at the following address:,7340,L-1955953,00.html)

A terrorist burst into the home of the Shabo family in Itamar and opened fire. Rachel, the mother of the family, and three of her children, were killed. Another two children were injured. A neighbor who sought to break into the home to help was also killed. After more than an hour of exchanging gunfire with Israeli soldiers, the terrorist was killed. In the course of the exchange, the house caught fire and burned down. By Efrat Weiss and Yediot Aharonot staff

Boaz Shabo and his eldest son Yariv stood last night clutching each other, weeping and refusing to accept the horrible tragedy that had befallen them. A terrorist who had infiltrated into the family home last night in the community of Itamar, south of Shechem (Nablus), had murdered the mother Rachel (age 40), and three of her seven children: Neriyah (age 15), Tzvika (age 12) and Avishai (age 5). Two other children from the family were injured, one of them seriously.

Yossi Tuito (age 40), who served as commander of Itamar's 'preparedness team', was also shot to death when he arrived at the family's house in an attempt to help. Just five months ago, a fifth son was born to Yossi. Until recently, Yossi had worked as an educator in the first grade at the school in Elon Moreh (a nearby community), and had helped children at risk.

The Shabo family, one of the veteran families in Itamar, consisted of 9 souls, but at the time of the attack, it was the mother and five of her children who were at home. The father, Boaz, and two of his other children were not at home at the time of the incident, and were not harmed.

Ahuva Shilo, spokesman for the Samaria Regional Council, told Y-net shortly after the attack: "The father is here next to me. He is standing outside the home, looking at the bodies, seeing his house in flames and hugging the corpses. This is a scene that no film could possibly capture. It is shocking."

Family and friends request persons pray for the immediate and total recovery of the Shabo children, Asael Yonah ben Rachel (leg amputated above the knee), Avia bat Rachel (shot in her chest). The father, Boaz, and his two sons, who are sitting shiva for their wife/mother and three siblings from the massacre had to 'borrow' Tefillin (phylacteries) and talit (prayer shawl) for the morning prayer service as their house was burned down during the attack in which a terrorist took the family hostage. As a result, they are observing the shivaseven-day mourning period in the home of Rachel's mother, in the community of Ginot Shomron.

Arutz Sheva
Funerals For Five Itamar Residents

Rachel Shabo and three of her children were buried today in heartrending funeral ceremonies in their hometown of Itamar. Thousands of people were in attendance, many of them weeping and sobbing at the sight of the four bodies lying side by side following their cruel murder by an Arab terrorist last night, and at the sight of the mourning father, Boaz, and his four remaining children.

Neighbor Yossi Tuito, who heads the local emergency alert team, attempted to come to the family's aid, and was killed as well. He leaves a wife and five children, including a 5-month-old, and was buried after the Shabo funeral. He was a first-grade teacher and worked with troubled youth.

Boaz Shabo and his oldest son Yariv stood outside the remains of their house late last night, crying and embracing in face of the tragedy that had befallen them. The calamity began around 9 PM last night when the terrorist infiltrated the town and started shooting in all directions. No one was immediately hurt, and he then ran to the Shabo family house, which he entered and began his murderous spree. Soldiers and Border Guard police arrived and encircled the house, and the exchange of fire continued. Some soldiers bravely entered the house, forcing the terrorist upstairs while they rescued the children inside. The house caught fire when one bullet hit a gas balloon, and much of the house was burnt. Two policemen were hurt in the exchange of fire, one moderately. At one point, the terrorist jumped from the second floor, and was shot and killed.

Their wife/mother Rachel, 40, and three of her seven children - Neriah, 15, Tzvikah, 12 and Avishai, 5 - were murdered. Two other children in the family, Aviyah and Asah'el - were wounded, one of them seriously. Neriah was a student in the Hitzim Yeshiva High School, which lost three students three weeks ago in a terrorist infiltration, as well as another student two days ago in the French Hill attack.

One part of the roof of the family house was blown off by the grenades, and the other part of the roof was burnt by the fire. "The walls are all charred," related Rabbi Moshe Goldschmidt, a teacher in the Hitzim Yeshiva. "I don't think there's anything left for the survivors to take out…" Many of the speakers at the funeral, including Rabbi Moti Elon, Rabbi Natan Chai, and the deceased mother's brother Tzvi Halamish, spoke of Rachel's kindness and her willingness to help anyone and everyone: "How could such terrible people come in and just start shooting people like that? And little 5-year-old Avishai, as frail as a bird, who could be blown over with a wisp of wind - how could someone come along and kill someone like him?…"

Itamar mourns its latest victims of terror

By Nadav Shragai - Haaretz - Sunday, June 23, 2002 Tamuz 13, 5762
All day Friday, thousands of mourners streamed in and out of the charred and bullet-pocked house in Itamar where the Shabo family had lived until the previous night. In what looked like a tribute to the mother and three children murdered there, the visitors stood staring at intimate details of the lives that had been frozen in one moment - at the mixer that was still covered in dough from the cake Rachel Shabo was preparing for Shabbat, the pots that she had taken from the cupboard to cook the Sabbath meal, the dishwasher now riddled by bullets, the burnt bedrooms upstairs, the yellow football left lying in the yard under a grapevine not yet completely ripe.

The scene inside the house - more than all the words, the sea of tears and the pain of the people of Itamar - bore witness to what had happened during those horrendous minutes on Thursday night.

The terrorist climbed up from the valley and without even cutting it, simply trampled down the fence. First he approached the neighbors' house but the dog began barking and he turned instead to the Shabo family's home. They were among the settlement's founders. Boaz, the father, a printer by profession, was not at home. The older children - Yariv, 17, and Atara, 15 - were also out, visiting friends. The terrorist first shot the mother, Rachel, in the back. Then he shot Zvi, 13, and Avishai, 5, also in the back. After that, Neria, 16, was also shot dead. Thirteen-year-old Aviah, who was wounded, told the doctor who attended her in the hospital that she had heard her mother shout out in pain and then all was quiet.

Only a month earlier, Neria had escaped terrorist shots in his bedroom at the yeshiva high school on Itamar. Three of his friends were killed then. Neria took his pillow home from his bedroom in the yeshiva and showed everyone who came how the bullets had penetrated it. On Thursday, the pillow was burned together with so many other possessions in the house.

Neria was not the only family member to have had a brush with death. Rachel's sister, Eilat Orlansky, who lives in the Gaza Strip settlement of Netzarim, lost her father-in-law, Michael, in March during a terrorist attack there. Boaz, who previously worked as an ambulance driver, had had his share of evacuating dead and wounded.

Thursday night's shots brought Yossi Twito, the settlement's security officer, rushing to the house. Twito, who acted according to the book, opened fire at the attackers but was mortally wounded during the first stages of the attack and died shortly afterward. Twito was a first-grade teacher at Elon Moreh and worked with youth at both settlements.

Harsh words were uttered at the funerals. The rabbi of Itamar, Nathan Hai, who founded the yeshiva, placed the blame for the situation in the laps of Labor politicians Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin. "Peres and Beilin and their band of wicked sages did not tremble when they gave them guns and bullets which they use to murder us," he said. "None of the Palestinians is free of guilt." He called on the prime minister to "wipe them all out."

Benzi Lieberman, head of the Yesha council, said: "In the name of the living and the dead, we commit ourselves here not to give them a state but rather more and more settlements on this land ... These Palestinians do not deserve any human rights. We cannot talk of human rights for people who are not human."

The members of the family spoke in more personal tones. Alon Helmish, Rachel Shabo's brother, said that the family were "people of peace. We are not in favor of wars. We merely want to get home safely, to raise our children and not to seek arguments. But we are the victims of wrongdoers, of wild beasts," he said. "They should never have shot Avishai," he sobbed. "It was enough to blow in his direction and, he was so fragile, he would fly. Why did they murder him? What did he do to them?"

Rachel's friends said that she was an energetic and affable person. She grew up in Karnei Shomron and met Boaz, from Moshav Beit Meir near Jerusalem, 20 years ago. They joined the first seven families that founded Itamar near Nablus. The Shabo family hosted all the new families when they came to the settlement. Neria's friends said he had been a genius. Zvi's friends said he had been a righteous young man.

Boaz Shabo stood long minutes stroking the coffins of his wife and children. He could not go away and leave them. The settlers swore that there would be a new settlement, named for the five who were murdered. They said it would be established in the very near future.

As some of the thousands of mourning settlers called out for revenge, the children recited the Kaddish.

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