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20120327 Ten Years to Park Hotel Passover Massacre – Netanya
On March 27th 2002 thirty people were killed and 140 injured in a suicide bombing in the Park Hotel in the coastal city of Netanya, in the midst of the Passover holiday Seder with 250 guests. Hammas claimed responsibility for the attack. A terrorist, identified as Abdel-Basset Odeh, a member of the Hammas Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades, from the West Bank city of Tulkarem, walked into the dining room of the hotel, in the center of the city, and detonated an explosive device.
Among those killed was Amiram Hamami, 44, Park Hotel General Manager. Today his wife, Corinne Rina Hamami, manages the Park Hotel. “The children give me strength” she says, “They need to get up in the morning. They need to eat, to go to school, to go to friends… We decided to go on with life, it’s stronger than death!”
Dalia Falistian, a 55-year-old ‘only child’, lost both her parents, Mrs. Dvora and Mr. Michael Karim. Her life fell apart on that day and she continues to feel like an orphan. Her only family is OneFamily who have given her much needed support over the last decade. She spoke to her parents just fifteen minutes before they found their death in the deadly attack. She heard of the attack only around midnight, refusing to believe until she was summoned to identify the bodies of her parents at the Abu-Kabir morgue. “My mother looked peaceful like an angel. My father’s face was all cut up”. “At that moment my life ended. Everything changed.”
Dr. Jack Weinberg, post-trauma psychologist, moved from New York to Israel in 1981. As the director of School of Psychological Services for the city of Hadera he has been closely involved with terror victims, particularly children, since the first of many attacks on the city during the Intifada. “I volunteer for OneFamily. What they do you really can’t buy for money! They have fun events and therapeutic events … they help the people feel that they are human, that they are normal. That helps them cope with the trauma.” Dr. Weinberg continues “One of the ways of dealing with stress is listening. You need someone there to listen to you – OneFamily is that friend! At times of need a friend is the best therapist!”
A memorial service is held in the Park Hotel dining room. The same dining room reduced to rubble in which the dinners were torn to pieces ten years ago. Attending the ceremony are the families of victims of the Passover 2002 massacre and survivors, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Bereaved Father’s Choir and other guests. Eitan Frankfurter, a survivor, reads Psalm 83. Yair Hamami, son of Amiram Hamami, massacred GM of the Park Hotel, recites Kadish (mourner’s prayer). El Maleh Rachamim prayer for the victims of terror is sung by choir member Shimon Lev, nephew of Perla Hermele of Sweden, who was murdered in the Park Hotel Passover 2002 massacre, and father of Chagai Lev, who was killed in action in Gaza.
The Bereaved Father’s Choir is made up of a group of bereaved fathers whose children fell during their military service or were killed in terrorist attacks. The group members cope with bereavement by getting together and performing Israeli songs. Choir member Moshe Har-Melech, father of deceased Shuli, speaks to the families of Park Hotel victims saying “We are a choir of bereaved fathers who have lost those dearest to us in terrorist attacks or soldiers killed during their activities in the IDF. We gather every week, talk together, sing together. We understand each other’s hearts. Our hearts go out to you and we share your sorrow. “
Excerpt from GPO press release, 25-Mar-2012:
Ten years after the deadliest terror attack in the Second Intifada, in which 30 people were killed and 140 injured at the Seder night dinner in the Park Hotel http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2002/3/Passover+suicide+bombing+at+Park+Hotel+in+Netanya.htm), the victims and their families are returning to the Netanya hotel for a memorial gathering and therapeutic support, within the framework of their ongoing treatment and care by the OneFamily organization http://www.onefamilytogether.org/).
Representatives of the victims and their families, who are rehabilitating their lives with varying degrees of success, together with OneFamily representatives, case-workers and psychologists will be available for interview (English, French and Hebrew). The briefing will be followed by a short memorial ceremony, which will take place in the Park Hotel dining room where the attack took place.
“Returning to the Park Hotel is an integral part of the healing and rehabilitation of the victims, offering them the opportunity to remember and display their resilience in the face of such tragedy. At OneFamily, we will continue to support the victims into the next decade, for as long as they need us,” notes OneFamily founder and Chairman Marc Belzberg.
Over the last 10 years, OneFamily has effected the rehabilitation of thousands of Israel’s 17,000 victims of terror; facilitating their healing and reintegration into society by providing material and rehabilitative support to anyone who has been bereaved, injured and/or recognized as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The recipients of the 2011 Presidential Citation for Volunteerism, OneFamily uniquely provides a tailor-made blend of financial assistance, therapeutic programs, legal assistance, personal encouragement and moral support. The Jerusalem-based organization, which is led by founders Chantal and Marc Belzberg, grew from their then-12-year-old daughter’s initiative to donate her bat mitzvah gifts to benefit the victims of the 2001 Sbarro suicide bomb. Today, with 37 professionals and nearly 750 volunteers working from four centers around Israel, OneFamily operates in close cooperation with representatives of government, municipal and community agencies to assure that every terror victim in need of support is known to the organization. The aim of OneFamily, with the help of friends and supporters around the world, is to assure continuity of care for terror victims into the next decade and beyond.
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