'I was crying, my heart was pumping'


When Viki Silver moved to Israel she anticipated rocket attacks, but never thought she would have to face shootings on the streets of Tel Aviv.

As two Palestinian terrorists fired at diners in the Max Brenner restaurant, an attack which left four dead and 17 injured last Wednesday night, the 27-year-old from Liverpool was just around the corner in her apartment.

She had earlier considered spending the evening with five friends at the eatery, but at the last minute decided to have a night in instead. It was a decision that might have saved her life.

Curled up watching The Sopranos, Ms Silver got a message from her boss telling her there had been a mass shooting. Then she heard the sirens.

"It hit me that my friends were there and that was when I had a panic attack," she said.

I just did what I thought I should and stayed calm

"I was crying while I was calling my friends. I was freaked out. One of my friends finally answered and told me he was fine. He had to work and had left two hours before the attacks. My heart was pumping; it was the thought of any of my friends being hurt."

Next, she messaged her family. She knew that her mother, at home on Merseyside, would be worried.

Ms Silver said: "I had to message my whole family. I wrote: 'I don't know if this will be on the news, but I want to let you know that everything is fine.'"

Round the corner, Eido Minkovsky, who works at the Sarona Market where the attack took place, reflected on the efforts of security guard Eliran Shua.

Mr Minkovsky had seen the 22-year-old tackle and disarm one of the shooters. He said: "Eliran was the hero of the day. Without him, the attack could have been so much worse. He's a nice, young, normal guy. He doesn't seem like the kind of person who would run and neutralise someone, but he did it."

American Miriam Feldheim, who was two hours into her waitressing shift at the nearby Mike's Place pub when she heard the gunshots, was comforting people who had taken refuge in the bar.

The 22-year-old, who moved to Tel Aviv from Florida last October, said: "I was just outside clearing glasses from the tables. All of a sudden I saw people running out of nowhere, they were running in every direction.

"I had never been in a situation like that. I brought everyone inside. I just did what I thought I should and remained calm."

Up to 2,000 people visit the Sarona Market every day. On the afternoon after the attack, double the usual number arrived in a show of solidarity.

Essex-born Sam Ben-David, 29, who made aliyah last year, said he would not be deterred from returning to the area.

"The Israelis I work with have taught me that you might be sad, but you try to carry on each day as normal. I am staying strong-minded about it. I keep my wits about me when I am out, but I try to not let it get to me. It's one of those things; you have to learn to accept it."

Ido Ben-Ari

● The 42-year-old previously served in the IDF's elite Sayeret Matkal unit. He was having dinner at Benedict restaurant with his wife and 16-year-old son Noam when the terrorists attacked.

His 14-year-old daughter, Lihi, wrote a message to her murdered father on Facebook which read: "I know that you wouldn't want us to be in this situation, with us crying and sad. You would say that it's going to be okay and laugh about it... but you're not here, and it's hard on me and on Noam and on everybody."

Mr Ben Ari's wife was shot through the arm and shoulder, but is recovering and attended her husband's funeral last Thursday.

At the service, which was attended by hundreds of mourners including deputy minister Ayoob Kara, Mr Ben-Ari's father called on his government to change its ways to bring about peace.

He told the crowd: "What's needed is a solution rather than saying all the time that there's nobody to make peace with. We chose you to stop the cycle of blood... you haven't succeeded. The time has come for a strategic solution."

Michael Feige

● The 58-year-old father of three daughters was a sociologist and anthropologist at Ben-Gurion University.

Professor Oren Yiftachel, who worked with Dr Feige, said he was "one of those who was head and shoulders above the crowd - an amazing person. He was a very important researcher who delved into sensitive topics and derived interesting insights. He was one of the good ones, open and attentive."

Dr Feige, from Givatayim, specialised in Israeli society and political myths, and won an award for his book Settling in the Hearts: Jewish Fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories.

Prof Yiftachel said: "He had the ability to understand all sides and therefore was such a good anthropologist. He was a true democrat - a rare breed in that regard. This is a heavy loss for our university."

Ilan Troen, president of the Association of Israel Studies' academic conference taking place in Israel this week, remembered Dr Feige as "a gentle man and a sensitive teacher".

Mila Misheiv

● The youngest victim, 32-year-old Mila Misheiv, had been planning her wedding and was waiting for her fiancé to arrive when she was gunned down.

The Ashkelon resident managed to call him before she died from the gunshot wound to the back.

Itamar Shimoni, the mayor of Ashkelon, said: "We have been in contact with the family and offered to help them with anything they need. We are truly sorry for their loss and may God avenge the blood of the victims in this horrific shooting attack."

Ilana Naveh

● The married Orthodox mother-of-four suffered a heart attack during the terror assault, which happened while she was celebrating her 40th birthday in the market.

Mrs Naveh was officially recognised as a victim of terror by the Israeli Defence Ministry, allowing her family to receive the relevant state benefits.

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