|Visits with Families :|
By Sara Bedein, Coordinator of Home Visits
Chaya and Binyamin Cohen’s 38-year-old son, Tzvika, was one of 17 people killed in Jerusalem in a suicide bus bombing attack on June 11th, 2003. Tzvika was married for less than two years when he was killed. He is survived by his wife who was two months pregnant at the time of his death.
Chaya is an active participant in the Koby Mandell Foundation’s women programs as well as a steady participant in our monthly meetings at our Moa’don in Haifa. Binyamin has been unemployed for the past 20 years and has a string of medical issues that keep him in and out of the hospital. Chaya herself has developed medical problems since the murder of her son and the couple take turns taking care of each other. They live alone in a very modest tiny apartment in Tsfat and have two married children as well as three older single children who live out of the house.
It’s not often that Chaya and Binyamin get visitors to their house and they greatly looked forward to my visit. Chaya anxiously waited for me at the bus stop in Tsfat, calling me a few times as I neared the town to make sure I didn’t miss my stop. We took a taxi to the house as Chaya finds it difficult getting around now.
The house is tiny and very modestly furnished. The only picture that adorns the walls is of their 3-year-old granddaughter, born 7 months after her father was murdered. Though Chaya and Binyamin both suffer from impaired health, they routinely get on a bus to Jerusalem once a month to make the long round-trip of 7 hours to visit their granddaughter, who is all they have left from their beloved son, who never got the chance to see and hold his daughter. They keep up the connection with their granddaughter with presents they send her and phone calls.
Both Chaya and Binyamin brought out the albums and shared stories of their son. Though Chaya was anxious to show me every picture in the albums and every newspaper clipping she had saved about the terror attack the stress of seeing the pictures proved too much for her and she had to take medication for her heart and blood pressure and then for the onslaught of a migraine.
Binyamin comes from a bereaved family having lost his brother in the Yom Kipper War. Now, with his first-born son killed and his illness preventing him from getting around, Binyamin spends almost all his time confined within the 4 bare walls of their tiny apartment. Since Tzvika’s murder he has no patience to concentrate on reading or any other activity and spends most of his time sitting at home and bemoaning his sad fortune.
Both Chaya and Binyamin needed to be heard and to share stories about their son. They kept up a running conversation for two and a half hours, often one of the couple interrupting the other in his/her rush to feed me more information about their son and their bleak life in the aftermath of his murder.