REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF ATZMONA

By Joshua M. Rolnick

Imagine the following scenario. You are a student studying late one night in a study hall. Suddenly you hear a loud bang. Soon after, chaos breaks loose. At first you are bewildered. You run to the door to see what is going on. To your horror, you are in the line of fire of a terrorist's machine gun. Providentially for you, you are protected by a concrete doorpost. Many others are not as lucky.

There are no weapons in the study hall; therefore, you are unable to stop the terrorist from massacring your fellow students. The terrorist throws grenades into the room. You quickly run to a corner and pray to G-d that all of you will survive.

Moments later, you see a grenade land five feet from you. You stare at it for what seems like hours, not knowing when it will explode and end your life. Fearing the inevitability of disaster, you cover your head and pray once again. Abruptly it blows up. Sharp pain spreads throughout your body.

Suddenly, you are soaring through the air. When the helicopter arrives at Tel Hashomer Hospital you are rushed into the emergency room.

Your chest and your arms are in horrible pain. The doctors explain to you that you had been sprayed with shrapnel. You suffered hearing loss in both ears, and nerve damage to the left side of your body. Your arms took most of the damage, but one piece had hit the center of your chest. No exit wound was found. The doctors said that there was no shrapnel in your chest. They tell you, that miraculously it bounced off your sternum.

This conceivably sounds like a nightmare that could never transpire. My friend, Netanel Bluth, would probably have said the same thing. Unfortunately, it happened to him.

On March 7th 2002 a terrorist penetrated the community of Atzmona in Gush Katif. This hate filled individual waited for four hours, until the study hall was filled with students. He then went to the study hall, kicked down the door, threw at least five grenades, and started firing his automatic assault rifle. Twenty three students were injured. Five were killed. They sadly joined the 1,288 Jews brutally murdered because of the Oslo appeasement process.

On the anniversary of this act of terror my thoughts turn to my friend's suffering. I thank the Almighty for the miraculous recovery of Netanel.

Concurrently, my prayers turn to those who were not as fortunate. I understand that I will never truly comprehend the loss that terror victims and their families endure. I will, however, remember the five students murdered that evening, the 24th of Adar. They were Asher Marcus, Tal Kurtzvail, Eran Picard, Arik Robiak, and Ariel Zana, zichronam l'bracha. May their memories help me understand the horror generated by the appeasement of terrorists. At the same time, may I truly appreciate the enormity of the Jewish sacrifice for our holy land. It has been too precious for us to allow the abandonment of Gush Katif.

Joshua M. Rolnick is a tenth grade student who lives in Houston, Texas.