Apr 17, 2006 -a suicide bomber detonated himself at a crowded fast food stand, Rosh Ha’ir shawarma, in the Neveh Sha’anan neighborhood of Tel Aviv, near the old central bus station when a security guard at the site asked him to open his bag for inspection. The restaurant was crowded with people at lunchtime during the Passover holiday. The bomb, laced with nails and other projectiles, shattered car windshields and windows of nearby buildings.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack was carried out by a youth from Jenin, Sami Salim Mohammed Hammed. Three Palestinians suspected of having transported the bomber to the restaurant were arrested by security forces.
A military court handed down 11 consecutive life sentences, as well as an additional 20 years in prison, for Muhammad Aboudi, charged with playing a central role in the deadly suicide bombing.
Eleven people were killed and over 60 wounded
Philip Balhasan, 45, of Ashdod was set out from home in the morning with his two youngest children, Uri and Linor, to buy CDs and computer games at the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. He had taken the day off to spend with the children during the Passover holiday. After shopping, they were passing by the Rosh Ha’ir shawarma when the bomber struck. Philip protected the children with his body. Mortally wounded, he managed to pass his cellphone to Uri and said: “Call Mom and tell her there was an attack” before he collapsed. Philip died en route to hospital. Both children were slightly injured. Philip Balhasan was born in North Africa and immigrated to Israel with his parents and three siblings when he was four. As a child he excelled in his studies and attended the Israel Air Force technical high school in Haifa. After working for many years for Tadiran, he had recently began work at Agan Chemicals in Ashdod. Philip’s brother-in-law Emil described him as a happy person who loved to laugh, and who was a devoted father.
Piroşca Boda, 50, and Rozalia Beseneyi, 48, of Romania and Elena had come to work in Netanya as caretakers. There they met and became close friends. The deaths of their husbands, all in the last half year, brought them even closer together. On Monday, April 17, they were given the day off for the Easter holiday. Piroşca and Rosalia went to Tel Aviv, where both were killed in the bombing. Elena was saved, agreeing to fill in for her cousin, also a caretaker, who was invited to a bar mitzva celebration.
Piroşca (Piri) Boda came to Israel five years ago from Zalau, in northwestern Romania, to earn money to cover the medical treatment of her husband, who was suffering from cancer, as well as to help her two children, Robert, 29, and Raka, 21. After her husband’s death, she continued to work to save money for her daughter’s wedding. Boda had been caring for Sarah Berkowitz for the past three and a half years. Sarah’s granddaughter, Sigal Barnea, related that Boda spoke Hebrew well. “She was a good looking woman and highly intelligent. Sarah, a Holocaust survivor, was especially attached to her and the two spoke to each other in Hungarian.”
Rozalia Beseneyi came to Israel from her home in northwestern Romania about three years ago. With the money she earned, she was helping her only son Robert, 22, through school as a computer engineer. She also hoped to help him buy a home, and planned to return to Romania after he finished his studies in another year. Rozalia had been caring for Hilda Goldenberg for over a year, and her work permit had recently been extended for another year. “We were like friends,” Hilda said. Rozalia told friends in Romania that she was not afraid of living in Israel. “If my time comes to die, it can happen anywhere, either in Romania or in Israel,” she would say.
Marcel Cohen, 73, of Nice, France. She had come to Israel to attend the wedding of one of her 11 grandchildren living here. She remained in Israel in order to celebrate the Passover holiday with her son, Menahem, who lives in Jerusalem. She was visiting with relatives in Netanya, and went with her sister-in-law to spend the day in Tel Aviv. Marcel was killed in the blast.Marcel was a devoted mother, who raised her four children alone, after being widowed at an early age.
Victor Erez, 60, of Givatayim. He was a Tel Aviv taxi driver. “He’d do hotels, not the central bus station,” his brother Binyamin said, “but like all the drivers he’d go there to eat shawarma.” He had just stepped out of his cab when the bomber exploded. Victor came to Israel at age two, with his family, from Libya. He lost a leg just before the 1967 Six Day War to a land mine while serving in the IDF. Hoping to alter his luck, he decided to change his family name from Hajaj to Erez. He and Miri were set up on a date and were married in 1969. A taxi driver all his life, Victor “worked like a mule, six days a week,” his brother said, “and really gave his all to his family up to the last minute.” His youngest grandson was born just a few weeks ago. Victor’s sister Yafit described him as a warm-hearted and optimistic person, despite his disability, playing basketball with his grandchildren.
Binyamin Haputa, 47, of Lod was working as a security guard outside the Rosh Ha’ir restaurant. As soon as he discovered the bomb, the terrorist detonated it, killing Binyamin and the others, but saving many others inside the restaurant. He immigrated to Israel from Morocco with his parents and six siblings in 1969, and the family settled in Lod. Though he avowedly loved women and food, Binyamin remained single. He had always worked as a security guard and was devoted to his work. His sister Miriam related that when asked whether he was afraid of terrorists, he would reply that they should be afraid of him.
David Shaulov, 29, of Holon immigrated to Israel from Tashkent with his family 16 years before the attack. David, the eldest son of the family, acclimated well in Israel. He studied to be a dental technician and opened his own laboratory in Holon. Shaulov married Radmilla, and the couple had two children. Radmilla was pregnant and was due to give birth to their third child shortly.
Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, Florida. Daniel and his parents came to Israel to visit for Passover. He and his father Yekutiel (Tuly), originally from Israel, wanted to eat shawarma, one of Daniel’s favorite foods, and the taxi driver who drove them recommended “Rosh Ha’ir” near Tel Aviv’s old central bus station. When he was rushed to the Sourasky Medical Center, accompanied by his father also wounded in the attack, Daniel begged doctors “keep me alive” – then lost consciousness. He underwent emergency surgery for 12 hours, followed by four additional operations. After briefly regaining consciousness, he ultimately succumbed to multiple organ failure on May 14.
Daniel, a top student in the tenth grade at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Plantation, Florida who loved basketball and hoped to one day become a rabbi, was described by friends yesterday as a deeply spiritual teenager who was committed to his community. “Daniel is best that they come,” said his rabbi, Yisroel Spalter, in a telephone interview from Florida. “He was the sweetest, most sincere, committed and determined young man.” Spalter, the head of the Chabad synagogue in Weston, has known the Wultz family for the past decade, but had become increasingly close to Daniel in the past year and a half, after the teen decided to become religiously observant. Daniel was supposed to take part in a yearly class trip to Israel organized by his school. Instead, his classmates, some 30 students, visited the hospital to pray for their friend’s recovery.
Danielle Hadar, a girl in Daniel’s class and acquaintance of the Wultz family, related, “He was a really nice kid who played basketball and very much believed in prayer and Judaism. When we heard that he was wounded we were shocked and there was total silence in the school. It turned into a very sad place.” Daniel’s father described him as “a very warm boy, athletic, strongwilled and a great believer in God.” Daniel’s mother Cheryl was on her way to meet her husband and son when the attack took place, and has been at his bedside ever since. His sister Amanda, a college student at Tufts University in Massachusetts, arrived in Israel with Cheryl’s mother, Margie Cantor, several days later. Additional family members from the US also arrived to offer their support.
Lily Yunes, 43, of Oranit. It was supposed to be an auspicious day for the Yunes family. Lily, her husband Menahem, their sons Lidor, and Tzach, and Lidor’s girlfriend, Elodie Zion, visiting from France, went together to Tel Aviv’s old central bus station to purchase equipment for a new business the family was about to establish for the older sons. They decided to stop for a bite on the way, so Menahem dropped the four off near the shawarma stand and stayed in the car. Then came the blast, followed by frantic running between Ichilov, where his sons were hospitalized, and Wolfson, where Elodie was taken. Lily’s body was identified in the evening. Lily ran a Na’amat day care center in Matan, a nearby community. Her husband described her as the mainstay of the family. The couple had been married for over 20 years, having grown up in the same neighborhood.
Ariel Darhi, 31, of Bat Yam had gone shopping near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv and has stopped for lunch at Rosh Ha’ir, where he was killed. Friends and relatives described him as a nice, quiet person. Ariel lived with his mother and two brothers. His father passed away several years ago. He worked for an advertising firm, and on weekends earned extra money as a security guard.