18 years after she survived bombing, woman joins IDF
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18 years after she survived bombing, woman joins IDF

As an infant, having just lost her mother, Shani Winter was pulled from a bombed-out Tel Aviv cafe by a policewoman, who sees her off at the induction office

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Policewoman Ziona Busheri retrieves 6-month-old Shani Winter from the Cafe Apropos blast in Tel Aviv, March 1997. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Policewoman Ziona Busheri retrieves 6-month-old Shani Winter from the Cafe Apropos blast in Tel Aviv, March 1997. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The subject of an iconic photo of a 1997 suicide bombing — a wounded baby pulled from a cafe by a cop — was drafted into the IDF on Sunday, and the policewoman who saved her was present to see her off.

Shani Winter, 18, was lightly hurt in the March 1997 Cafe Apropos bombing in Tel Aviv, in which three Israeli women in their 30s — including Shani’s mother, Anat Winter-Rosen — were killed. Winter was saved because she was shielded by her mother’s body.

The image of a policewoman carrying the 6-month-old infant in a blood-drenched clown costume — in honor of the Purim holiday — largely became the defining image of the deadly attack.

On Sunday the policewoman, Ziona Busheri, accompanied Shani to the induction center at Tel Hashomer along with her father, sister, and grandmother.

“It’s very moving for me, very important to me, I’ve also adopted them,” Busheri told Channel 2. “I’ll never forget that day.”

Shani Winter and Ziona Busheri on January 4, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Ziona Busheri (left) and Shani Winter (right), January 4, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)

Micky Winter told Channel 2 that he first found out that his wife and daughter were caught in the bombing after he identified the baby in Busheri’s arms on TV.

He said Shani felt it was important to serve in the army along with her peers.

“It’s too bad her mother isn’t here,” he added. “She would have been excited, too.”

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