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Oct 4, 2003 | 8th of Tishri, 5764 | ח׳ בתשרי תשס״ד
Oct 4, 2003 – Bezalel Zer-Aviv, 30 of Kibbutz Yagur was one of 21 people killed in a suicide bombing carried out by a female terrorist from Jenin in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.
The blast devastated the restaurant, of joint Jewish-Arab ownership on Hahagana Boulevard near the southern entrance of the coastal city. It was packed mostly with regular Saturday customers. The bomber Hanadi Jaradat, a 29-year-old lawyer from Jenin, managed to get past Maxim’s security guard before blowing herself up in the middle of the restaurant. The security guard an Israeli Arab, was killed in the attack along with three other Israeli Arab employees of the restaurant. The victims included five members of the Almog family from Haifa and five members of the Zer-Aviv family from Kibbutz Yagur. Four children were killed and 60 people were wounded in the bombing.
Bezalel (Tzalik) Zer-Aviv was born in Israel in 1973 and the family decided to move to France. They returned to Israel in 1982 and settled on Kibbutz Yagur two years later when Bezalel was 11. After Freddy moved to Haifa when he and Bruria separated, Tzalik took on the role of head of the family.
“He was a big brother who always looked out for everyone,” says his younger sister Gabi. “We had a special bond, even though we sometimes fought when we were little.”
Tzalik met Keren when he was in the army. They married five years ago. At the time of his death, Tzalik was studying to be a chef at a culinary school in Tiberias and Keren had recently been officially accepted as a member of the kibbutz and worked in the nursery.
Kibbutz members of all generations struggled to deal with the tragedy.
“If one person is killed, you have the accepted norms of what to do,” said Shlomit Atzmon a neighbor of Bruria’s and a colleague of Keren’s. “When an entire family is killed… you mourn for all five, you feel all five of them in your heart and you have five times as much fear.”
Bezalel Zer-Aviv was buried with his mother, wife and two children in the Kibbutz Yagur Cemetery. He is survived by his father Freddy and two sisters, Sophie and Gabi.
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