Husbands murdered weeks apart, West Bank widows lament their common bond
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Husbands murdered weeks apart, West Bank widows lament their common bond

Yael Shevach makes condolence visit to Miriam Ben-Gal, whose husband Itamar was stabbed to death in Ariel terror attack

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Yael Shevach (L), the wife of Raziel Shevach who was gunned-down in a  January 9 terror attack near the Havat Gilad outpost consoles Miriam Ben-Gal, the wife of Itamar Ben-Gal, who was stabbed to death in a February 5 terror attack. Photo taken at Ben-Gal home on February 6, 2018. In the middle is Miriam's grandmother Esther. (Courtesy)
Yael Shevach (L), the wife of Raziel Shevach who was gunned-down in a January 9 terror attack near the Havat Gilad outpost consoles Miriam Ben-Gal, the wife of Itamar Ben-Gal, who was stabbed to death in a February 5 terror attack. Photo taken at Ben-Gal home on February 6, 2018. In the middle is Miriam's grandmother Esther. (Courtesy)

HAR BRACHA, West Bank — Less than a month after her husband Raziel was gunned down in a terror attack outside the Havat Gilad outpost, Yael Shevach arrived in the neighboring Har Bracha settlement Tuesday to console Miriam Ben-Gal, whose husband Itamar was murdered in a stabbing terror attack on Monday.

In a statement on the widows’ meeting outside the Ben-Gal home, Yael Shevach said the two traced the eerie similarities in their respective tragedies.

“We are both educators, both Raziel and Itamar were Torah scholars, and both of us feel that we were chosen for this role,” Yael Shevach said, explaining that “role” as one responsible for strengthening the settlement movement in their husbands’ honor.

“Both Raziel and Itamar loved life, they both loved to dress and eat well. Raziel was killed on his way home from a circumcision and Itamar was on his way to a circumcision. Raziel’s sister will be getting married in less than a month, and Miriam’s sister will be getting married in less than a month,” Yael Shevach added.

Raziel Shevach (standing) pictured with Itamar Ben-Gal (second from left) at the birthday celebration of a mutual friend. (Courtesy: Aviad Sharara)

Hours after 29-year-old Itamar Ben-Gal was stabbed to death while hitchhiking at the Ariel Junction in the central West Bank on Monday, Yael Shevach posted on Facebook that she felt “as if she gained a new sister.”

“We will get through this together. Alone,” she wrote.

On Tuesday morning, ahead of Ben-Gal’s funeral, Yael published a poem in which she lamented her newly formed bond with Miriam.

“Blood ties, what an expression. One that symbolizes camaraderie, family.

Blood ties. Symbolizes a bond forged because of blood. Pure blood, pure blood.

I’m a widow. I was chosen by this. I am a Jewish widow. Proud.

My husband is Jewish. Destined. A cruel and bitter destiny. And now I am tied to you, my new sister. We were destined.

A ridiculous and cruel destiny. What is our destiny, it’s unclear. But it’s clear it will be easier for us to bear it together.

To bear the loneliness together. In fraternity. In pain that will not let go. I too will not let go either. Until you say enough. “

Raziel Shevach was shot dead by Palestinian terrorist on January 9. The father of six had known Ben-Gal, a father of four, through mutual friends.

Similar to Shevach’s murder, which was used by his family to demand the legalization of their northern West Bank outpost, the Ben-Gal family — like many other bereaved families in the West Bank — vowed Tuesday at Itamar’s grave to continue settlement building in response to the attack.

Also at the condolence visit was a neighbor still reeling from her own tragedy less than seven months ago: Rachel Menzali was among the first to console the family immediately following the funeral. Menzali’s father, Yosef Salomon, sister Tova Salomon, and brother Elad Salomon were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the Halamish settlement last July.

(L-R) Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon who were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Courtesy)

“Just when you think things are getting better, something like this happens, taking us back,” Menzali’s husband Ron told The Times of Israel.

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