Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Good News, and the Bittersweet

A tidbit I caught in today's Maariv: David Hatuel, the former resident of Gush Katif whose wife, Tali, and four daughters were all brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists (driven off the road and then shot at close range) a year and a half ago is engaged to be married! His new bride, Limor Shem-Tov, is 32 and lives in Jerusalem. She's never been married. They met through a matchmaking agency that specializes in helping people who were widowed in terrorist attacks find a new mate. The engagement was announced yesterday at a party in Jerusalem.

In the article, Hatuel was quoted as saying that the home he intends to found with Limor is not meant to replace his first family, but to build upon all the love that he'd experienced before to create something new. He said that his personal tragedy and the "national tragedy" (of the disengagement from Gaza) should not inspire people to lose hope and sink into despair, but to work harder to be positive and create new happiness and new life.

Tali Hatuel's parents have met Limor, and according to a family friend they are "embracing her as if she were their own daughter," though of course this is a bittersweet occasion for all involved. David Hatuel's friends were quoted as saying that in the last couple of months, Limor has "brought the smile back to David's face," something they had not seen for a long time.

I know I, for one, have thought of David Hatuel often, and hoped that he would find a good woman and build a new life. So I was so happy to read this article. But, along with that, is simply immense sadness about Tali and the four girls. What was lost can never be replaced.

After a while, a lot of the terrorist attacks in the latest intifada blended into each other. Another cafe? A bus? Was that a disco or a moviehouse? Which restaurant was that, again?

But the murder of Tali Hatuel and her kids was burned into my mind. Her name and her story remain clearly in my consciousness along with those of certain others: Nachshon Waxman, Kobi Mandell, Nava Applebaum, Baby Shalhevet.

I read the article in Maariv and looked at the photos of David and Limor, Tali and the girls, and wondered: Are these tears of joy or of pain I am crying? Sometimes it is hard to tell.

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