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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

An Angel in White

Charles Landelle A Jewish Woman from Tangiers Source
Israeli soldiers outside the Janusz Korczak school
Photo by Avneref Source
JTA
Miriam Guetta was born on April 14, 1947 in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father was a native of Egypt and her mother was born in Russia. The family of nine children immigrated to Israel in 1950 and settled in Afula. Miriam studied at the Ohel Meir religious school and at the Ulpana girls' school in Kfar Pines, and was a member of the Bnei Akiva youth movement.

Her career choice, nurse, was natural for her. She loved people and desired to help. Miriam worked at the hospital in Afula, in the children's department, where she was called "the angel in white." When her sister became seriously ill, Miriam did not leave her sister's bed for months, and took care of her until her sister was out of danger and completely recovered. Miriam took care of wounded soldiers in the Six-Day War, and many children.

In 1972 she moved to Kiryat Shmona as a community nurse. On her first day, she met her future husband, Yaakov Gueta, who worked as a guide for street gangs.

Miriam became pregnant shortly after her marriage, and her joy was boundless. The woman who had been the mother of her many nieces and nephews had names already prepared for her newborn.

On Thursday morning, April 11, 1974, during Passover, three terrorists infiltrated Israel from Lebanon. Early in the morning, the terrorists arrived at Kiryat Shmona. The squad members entered a school building, but when they saw that the building was empty, they left it and moved to nearby residential buildings on Yehuda Halevi Street.

At first they entered building number 13 and went up to the first floor, where they murdered family members who were seated at breakfast. The terrorists then moved to the next building, number 15. They went through the various apartments and shot people to death.

Miriam was in her apartment on the third floor. She was drinking coffee before she left for work. Miriam heard shouts from the Stern apartment on the first floor. Miriam and her husband could have gone down the three steps to leave the building and save their lives. But Miriam did not hesitate. She and her husband ran toward the shouts. Miriam entered the Stern apartment. The terrorists shot her with many bullets in her chest and a bullet in her head, and her death was immediate. Miriam's husband, Jacob, ran after her. He was hit by a grenade and died for a long time before he died. Miriam was six months pregnant. She was 27.

The Stern family's grandchildren testified that they were saved thanks to Miriam's entry, as the terrorists chased her and allowed the children to jump out of the window and save their lives.

The terrorists murdered eighteen people, half of them children. They reached the roof of the building, barricaded themselves and fought until the security forces managed to hit them.

Miriam left behind her parents and eight brothers and sisters. She was laid to rest in the Kiryat Shmona cemetery.

***

We've been talking a lot about terrorism recently. It is Ramadan, and terror attacks spike during Ramadan. Former Muslim Isik Abla and Robert Spencer discuss why here.

Liron mentioned that her aunt, Miriam Guetta, was killed in the April 11, 1974 terror attack at Kiryat Shmona. Liron posted her aunt's obituary in Hebrew. I clicked on Google translate and read the obituary in English. What you see above is my lightly edited version of Google translate's translation.

I did not change this sentence, "He was hit by a grenade and died for a long time before he died." I find it a poetic evocation of the tragedy of terrorism.

Note: The terrorists' first target was the Janusz Korczak Middle School. Janusz Korczak was a Polish Jewish doctor, author, radio broadcaster, and child advocate. Though he had been offered rescue from the Warsaw Ghetto, he remained with his orphan children all the way to their death, under the Nazis, at Treblinka. A mere thirty-two years after the Nazis murdered Korczak and his two hundred orphans, other genocidal fiends attempted to strike at a school named for him.

Note: News broke in June, 2017, that a Jewish nurse was breast-feeding a Palestinian child whose mother had been seriously injured in a car accident. She did so voluntarily and made light of her service, saying any nurse would do the same.


"During an entire shift in the pediatric emergency room at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak nursed a nine-month-old Palestinian baby from Hebron whose mother was seriously injured and his father killed in a car accident. 'His aunts were surprised that a Jew agreed to breastfeed him, but I told them that every mother would do it,' she said." See Y-Net News here

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