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2014-10-24 digital edition

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October 24, 2014  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Infant killed in attack had just visited Western Wall

Jewish Press wires

The car that crashed into a Jerusalem train station, killing 3-monthold Chaya Zissel Braun and injuring seven. 
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 The car that crashed into a Jerusalem train station, killing 3-monthold Chaya Zissel Braun and injuring seven. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 Three-month-old infant Chaya Zissel Braun, who died in the hospital after her stroller was hit in an Oct. 22 vehicular terror attack on the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Jerusalem, was a U.S. citizen.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Chaya and her parents were on their way back from the infant’s first visit to the Western Wall. “They had their picture taken,” said Chaya’s grandfather, Shimshon Halperin, according to Israel Hayom. “They held her in the direction of the Temple Mount. They told her ‘that is where the Temple was, and that is Temple Mount.’”

Chaya Zissel Braun Chaya Zissel Braun The parents had just gotten off the light rail. The attacker waited for people to gather at the station and then accelerated, driving directly into the crowd.

“The car hit the baby’s stroller,” Halperin said. “The baby flew 10 or 20 meters (30-60 feet) in the air and hit her head on the concrete. The doctors at the hospital did the best they could. I want to thank them.”

Hundreds of mourners attended the infant’s funeral late Wednesday night, Oct. 22 in Jerusalem.

Chaya’s parents had “waited for a baby for several years,” said Halperin.

“The parents are in shock,” he said. “They are traumatized. The baby was born after a long period of time that they did not have children, and they were overjoyed at her arrival. I have been living in the U.S. for 40 years, but we were here with them for the holiday. I kept joking that God sent them a gift from heaven.”

Halperin, called Chaya a “pure soul” who “didn’t do anything bad to anybody,” but said he and her parents have accepted “with love” what he sees as God’s decree.

“We believe that from the whole wide world, from the land of Israel, from Jerusalem, she was chosen to be the public sacrifice,” he told a group of reporters, alluding to sacrifices given in the Ancient Israelites’ Temple. “God gives, God takes away.”

For Halperin, Chaya’s death is a sign that Jews should rededicate themselves to Torah, good deeds and Jewish commandments. He said he hopes, in Chaya’s merit, that more Jews observe Shabbat and imbue their lives with more meaning.

“God is trying to wake us up,” he said. “To take [something] upon ourselves, to try to get better, to try to do a good deed, to behave to each other better.”

The attacker, 21-year-old eastern Jerusalem resident Abed al-Rahman Shaludi, was shot by a police officer and later died of his wounds in a hospital. Shaludi was a Hamas activist who had been imprisoned in Israel for 16 months for security offenses.

Released from prison in December 2013, Shaludi was the nephew of Mohiyedine Sharif, a one-time commander of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzedine al- Qassam brigades.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the Jerusalem attack and an attack on the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa are both a result of the rise of radical Islam.

“The terror attacks which took place yesterday almost simultaneously at two sides of the world, Jerusalem and Ottawa, demonstrate again that terrorism is a worldwide epidemic that must be fought strenuously and without compromise,” Liberman said.

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