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Gila Sara Kessler
Jun 19, 2002 | 9th of Tammuz, 5762 | ט׳ בתמוז תשס״ב
June 19, 2002 – Gila Sara Kessler, 19 of Eli was one of seven people killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus stop and hitchhiking post at the French Hill intersection in northern Jerusalem shortly after 7:00 P.M.
The bomber jumped out of a car at the French Hill junction and as Border Patrolmen on duty at the scene began to approach him, he ran past them toward the crowded bus stop on the eastern side of the road setting off the bomb he was carrying in a crowd of people. Three Israelis and four others died in hospital. About 50 were wounded by shrapnel that was packed around the explosive, with several in critical and serious condition including one of the Border Patrolmen who had tried to stop the bomber.
Gila Kessler grew up in Eli. She attended the Pardes elementary school in Ramat Eshkol, Jerusalem, where her acrobatic skills were first noted. She continued her education at the Orde Wingate School for Sport outside Netanya as a residential student maintaining contact through the years with her close friends, but the distance and the absence of a traditional environment led to her decision to leave gymnastics. She attended the High School for the Arts in Jerusalem majoring in dance.
Gila’s spirit of adventure took her to England and the USA where she spent a year perfecting her English, supporting herself by working in a restaurant where she also learned to speak fluent Greek. She returned to Israel a year ago to enter National Service with the Jewish Agency Education Department’s Contact Center in a project of on-line learning with Jewish communities abroad. She was in the process of applying to serve for a second year as an emissary in the Swedish Jewish community.
Gila’s parents were divorced several years ago and her father Ezra lives in the United States. The eldest in the family, she lived at home in order to help her mother Brigette rather than staying in the apartment in Jerusalem provided by the National Service. She was killed on her way home.
Gila Kessler was buried in Eli. She is survived by her parents, her brother Shalom and two sisters Chana and Klila.
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