May 28, 2002 - Netanel Riachi, 17, of Kochav Ya'akov; Gilad Stiglitz, 14, of Yakir; and Avraham Siton, 17, of Shilo - three yeshiva high school students - were killed and two others wounded in Itamar, southeast of Nablus, when a Palestinian gunman infiltrated the community and opened fire on the teenagers playing basketball, before he was shot dead by a security guard. The Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. (jewishvirtuallibrary.org)Yesterday, family, neighbors and friends of Avi Siton, HaYa"D, gathered at his grave in the Shiloh Cemetery. It's hard to believe that in another two years, unless the Moshiach comes first, he'll be in his grave as long as he had once breathed.
In the past fifteen years, there have been many changes to his family. Most of his siblings, are now married with children of their own. And some of those nieces and nephews were at the Memorial Ceremony. Like in other Israeli families much too familiar with death, for these children a cemetery is a normal gathering place for the family. Here in Israel, it's very accepted for children to attend funerals and memorials. Davka, this way they do not find it a fearful and traumatic location. Life and death are intrinsic parts of life here.
When I was googling that terror Arab attack for this post, I was horrified/reminded of how frequent terror attacks were fifteen years ago and how many young people, besides those of all ages, were murdered. Avi wasn't the only Shiloh teen murdered by Arab terrorists during that time. His best friend Shmuel Yerushalmi, HaYa"D, was murdered at the French Hill bus stop at the same time that their next door neighbor's granddaughter, Gila Kessler, HaYa"D, was killed, and just a few months later Noam Apter, HaYa"D, was murdered in the terror attack at the Otniel yeshiva.
As a mother of young IDF soldiers at the time, I was more terrified when my sons traveled to and from their bases or walked in Jerusalem than when in official army action. Yes, it was a terrifying time for all of us here. No location was immune.
Arab terrorists have no "red lines," and over the years even Arabs have been victims of Arab terror acts.
The Palestinian Authority, supported by generous donations from the United Nations, European Union, numerous foreign countries and NGOs, gives a pension to Arab terrorists and their families. That's where the money goes besides to line the pockets PA, Hamas and Gazan leaders. They are generations away from being ready to live in peace with the State of Israel.
Cemeteries may appear quiet and calm, but underneath the stones, there are stories, memories that shouldn't be forgotten.