Palestinian brings terror to Jaffa Road
A six-month-old baby was saved by two passers-by on Wednesday moments after her mother was crushed to death as a Palestinian terrorist drove a bulldozer into Jerusalem traffic.
The mother, Bat Sheva Unterman, was one of three people murdered by 31-year-old construction worker Husam Dwiat in a bloody rampage.
Moments before Dwiat drove his bulldozer for a second time at Mrs Unterman’s green Hyundai, almost flattening it, two men snatched Efrat unharmed from the passenger seat. Efrat, the great-granddaughter of Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman, who served for 22 years as the rabbi of Liverpool before being appointed the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and then of Israel, was taken to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital and then to an emergency foster family where she spent four hours.
“She was very calm and didn’t even cry,” said Amalia Oren, head of the hospital’s social unit.
At half past seven in the evening, she was reunited with her father, British-born Ido Unterman, at the home of Bat Sheva’s parents in the Bayit Vegan neighbourhood. Mr Unterman was then driven to Tel Aviv to identify his wife’s body. The funeral was held just hours later.
Bat Sheva Unterman (née Lubenstein) was a 33-year-old kindergarten teacher, the second of three daughters, born in Jerusalem to parents who had emigrated from Holland. Friends and neighbours at the couple’s home on Sokolov Street in central Jerusalem spoke about a devoted and patient teacher and a couple who had tried for years to have a baby, never losing faith.
“For years, the children of the kindergarten were like her children,” said Meira Schwartz, a friend whose own children had attended Bat Sheva’s kindergarten.
The other Israelis killed before Dwiat was finally shot dead by policemen and soldiers were 54-year old mother of three Elizabeth (Lili) Goren, a veteran teacher at the Jerusalem School for the Blind, who was also buried on Wednesday night.
The third victim was 68-year old Jean Relevy, an air-conditioning technician who had emigrated to Israel from Iran.
Dwiat, a worker at a nearby building site, crushed their cars on his route of mayhem up the Jaffa Road, which ended only after he was repeatedly shot, the vehicle coming to a stop on top of Mrs Unterman’s car. More than 50 people were wounded, two of them severely, most of them in a packed number 13 bus, which had been tipped over by the bulldozer.
Dwiat lived in the south-east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Tzur Baher, across the Green Line, and was an Israeli citizen. There is no evidence of his ever being a member of one of the Palestinian organisations or that his attack was in any way planned or premeditated. Israeli politicians, ranging from Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, called for the murderer’s home to be demolished.
“We have no way to fence in the Arabs of East Jerusalem and every house of potential terrorist,” said Mr Olmert after the attack. “We have to stop the terror attacks by Arabs of East Jerusalem, and if we have to do that by deterring them or demolishing a house, it will be done.”
Three months ago, eight students of the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva were murdered by a man from the Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood in south-east Jerusalem.
Mayor Lupolianski vowed on Wednesday that, this time, the murderer’s family would not be allowed to set up a mourners’ tent and hang Hamas flags around their house.