A Palestinian teen who was paralyzed by an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip over a decade ago this week visited an Israeli family who narrowly escaped with their lives after a rocket fired from Gaza directly struck their home.
Maria Aman and her father Hamdi traveled to Beersheba to make a donation to the Tamano family, whose Beersheba home was completely destroyed earlier this week by a Grad rocket.
“We heard what happened and we wanted to help because it’s a very difficult situation,” Aman told Channel 10 news on the way to Beersheba. “Both sides need to stop what they are doing, because every time this happens, I go back to the moments when I was injured.”
Aman was critically injured in 2006 when the IDF struck the vehicle of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander in the Strip. The blast and shrapnel from the Israeli missile struck the Amans’ car, killing four members of the family.
Maria, her brother Moamen and her father Hamdi now live in Jerusalem, where the 17-year-old has undergone years of medical treatment and rehabilitation.
At the Beersheba hotel where the Tamano family was staying, Hamdi Aman warmly embraced Miri Tamano, saying her scramble to get all three of her children in the bomb shelter in the middle of the night was inspiring.
“I have no words to describe what you did. I was so deeply moved that I came here to strengthen you,” he told the single mother of three boys as they handed her their clothing donation.
“You have touched my heart, and I salute you,” he added. “You are a wonderful woman. I don’t think I would have managed to do what you did, so congratulations.”
A teary Tamano told the Amans, “You are the ones who have touched me. Its not an obvious thing [to do].”
She told Hamdi Aman he was “very sweet and very human. I don’t usually touch men, but I just have to hug you.”
According to the IDF, a Grad rocket loaded with some 20 kilograms of explosives hit the Tamano residence at around 3:40 a.m. Wednesday, after sirens sounded in the city.
Tamano’s ability to wake up, jump out of bed, rush to get her kids and get them into the shelter before the bomb hit — all in under a minute — has been credited with saving their lives, and likely keeping hostilities in the restive region from snowballing out of hand.
The explosion knocked over several of the home’s walls and destroyed most of its contents.
Tamano and her sons, ages 8, 9, and 12, were unharmed in the attack, but their home was completely destroyed.
As victims of what Israel terms a terror attack, the Tamanos are eligible for assistance from a special fund managed by the property tax department of the Israel Tax Authority.
Hours after the attack, the department said it would transfer an initial sum of NIS 10,000 ($2,700) to the family, and would also cover the costs of the family’s hotel stay until new accommodations could be found.
Under Tax Authority compensation rules for terror victims, the government will fund the rebuilding of the Tamanos’ home, but the process will take months.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency for Israel also gave the family an emergency grant of NIS 4,000 ($1,100) to help cover immediate expenses.