In Israel, the most mundane decisions can have catastrophic results. For Eliad Moreh, a researcher at the Hebrew University Center for Jewish Art on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, it was the simple choice of venue for a lunch date with her close friend David Diego Ladowski. After finding a smaller cafeteria closed, they decided to move on to the popular Frank Sinatra cafeteria on campus. At 1:40 p.m., as they were finishing their meal, a deadly explosion set off by a terrorist's bomb shattered their lives.
They met as students at the Hebrew University some nine years ago, soon after each had made aliyah—Eliad from France and Diego from Argentina—and became fast friends. Diego, a promising young diplomat, was about to depart for Peru, where he was to assume the position of second secretary at the Israeli Embassy. When he called Eliad to ask her to meet him to say goodbye, "I didn't know it would be goodbye forever," she sadly recalls.
"I stood in total shock. It felt like a huge fireball swiped the back of my neck, and I could barely breathe because of the smoke and stench of burnt flesh. As I felt the blood run down my neck I understood it was a pigua (terrorist attack)," Eliad says. "At first I thought it was wiser to lay down on the floor to be safe. As soon as I saw a source of light and what seemed to be people running out through broken glass doors, I made the run myself."
She was covered with wounds in her neck, head, and legs. But the doctors "looked at the shrapnel which had penetrated the back of my neck without causing internal damage, and said it was a miracle."
Nine others did not survive that day, and one of them was her dear friend Diego, who died on the spot. "The life of every one of us that knew Diego was changed. It's a trauma for life." She continually asks, " How can it be? It's hard to understand how the person who was sitting with me at the same table is dead.
"My physical pain is nothing compared to the mental suffering, but I accept my fate. It's all in God's hands. My belief helps me to go on and it makes me stronger. I want to live, and I will do anything not to give up."
Now, Eliad wants to speak out, to increase awareness in Israel and in the whole world about the dreadfulness of the situation. "The frustration is great. Some 600 innocent persons were killed in terrorist attacks over the last two years. That means 600 families whose worlds have collapsed, for whom nothing will ever be the same. Not to mention all the persons who were ‘only' injured, some of whom will be physically and mentally disabled for the rest of their lives."
"There is a feeling that we have somehow accepted this situation and that we can live with it. Yet one shouldn't get used to affliction. True, we have to continue and live our lives, but for the right reasons—not to escape or be indifferent to the fate of the victims, but to continue to live and pursue what they cannot do anymore."
Eliad has a lot of ideas how to help Israel: "The simplest way is to understand Israel's position and be able, wherever you are, to defend the cause of Israel and its right to self-defense. We should oppose the Palestinian propaganda, through active engagement in what's happening, and better understanding and knowledge of the situation. "It is essential to reinforce Israel in every way: visits, missions and donations are of the greatest importance. The purpose of Palestinian terrorism is to destroy any form of life here, to turn this place into hell so that people will leave because it will be too hard to stay here. That's why we should fight by living our lives as fully and forcefully as possible."