Terrors legacy &mdash heartbreak

jerusalem | For Shoshi Yosef, the political became much too personal.

As secretary to the Israeli consul general in The Hague, Yosef had prepared for around-the-clock advocacy work this week against the International Court of Justice’s hearings on the West Bank security fence.

Instead, she found herself back in Israel on Monday, Feb. 23, to bury her brother, Yehuda Haim. He was one of eight people killed in Sunday’s suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

“Today, people will come into your courtroom to speak, to accuse [Israel],” Haim’s widow, Fanny, wrote in an open letter to The Hague’s 15 justices published on the front page of the leading Yediot Achronot daily. “Today I bury my husband. Do not bury justice.”

The victims of the Feb. 22 bus bombing, which wounded more than 60, were ordinary citizens from a cross-section of Israeli society. This week they were remembered for the ways they brought good cheer into the daily routines of their family and friends.

Foreign journalists busy with the bustle of covering rallies for and against the fence hearings took a moment to remember Haim, 48, who for years ran a grocery store next to the offices of a major news-wire service in Jerusalem.

Haim was a disabled veteran who had undergone four operations since being wounded in Lebanon. He suffered from constant back pain, noted his brother-in-law, Baruch Almog, “but was an industrious man who got up early every morning to open the grocery.”

A friend of Haim remembered that “whoever came to shop also received a heaping portion of good cheer. Yehuda and his brother, Shimon, loved to tell stories and to laugh.”

Not a regular bus passenger, Haim had dropped off his wife’s car at a garage and was riding the bus to work.

Haim’s grocery store bore an obituary notice on its front grill, with several wreathes laid near the doorway.

In the leafy Jerusalem suburb of Rehavia, students at Hebrew Gymnasium High School held a vigil for a friend killed in the attack.

Lior Azulai got on the doomed No. 14 after missing an earlier bus.

A keen soccer player known for his trademark spiked haircut, Azulai, 18, had recently been persuaded by the school principal to dedicate himself more to his studies, friends said. “He was always the type who made everyone crack up, that would not let a boring class pass by without a laugh,” said classmate Keren Adiaka.

Natanel Havshush, 20, a combat soldier, was returning to base at Netzarim, one of the most dangerous flashpoints in the Gaza Strip. He was killed by shrapnel from the Palestinian terrorist’s bomb.

But a friend traveling with him survived with minor injuries, and delivered the grim news to the soldier’s relatives when they rushed to the scene of the attack.

Yaffa Ben-Shimol, 57, a mother of five, was her family’s sole breadwinner. She was on her way to work as a caregiver for an elderly woman when she was killed.

Described by her children as a devoted mother and grandmother, she was looking forward to the birth of a 10th grandchild in two months.

“She was so eager about it,” said her husband, Sami, who is disabled. “She would not stop talking about how another grandchild was about to join the family.”

Fate was similarly cruel to Yuval Ozana, 32, who had just ended a night shift at work and was taking the bus to help his elderly parents with their business in Mea Shearim.

Ozana, his wife, Katy, and their two small children had been living with his parents to save money, but planned to move out to their own apartment one day.

His loss followed the killing of a brother-in-law in a roadside shooting in the West Bank and the near-fatal wounding of a cousin in a triple bombing on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall.

“I am handicapped; I overcame everything, but I will not be able to overcome this,” said Ozana’s father, David. “Everything is upside-down with us, parents burying children. How long can this go on?’