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Five members of Dutch immigrant family killed in terrorist blast

On outing to get away from violence

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

JERUSALEM, Israel - One of the added tragedies to the recent disaster which struck a popular Jeruzalem shopping street was the fact that five of the fourteen Israeli’s killed in a suicide bombing were members of the same family. Mordechai Schijveschuurder, his wife Tzira, and three of the five children who had accompanied them on what was to be a family outing, were killed in the blast. Two Schijveschuurder children were wounded in the bombing, which killed an elderly Brazilian man and an American woman and her unborn child as well.

The Schijveschuurders - their three oldest sons had stayed home in the settlement Neriyah - had taken a day trip to Jerusalem to escape the constant threat of and actual attacks on their village. They had hoped that Jerusalem, where they had lived before, would offer temporary safety. Instead, while having lunch in a popular pizzeria frequented by Jews and Arabs, they met with death in the form of a Palestinian suicide bomber, sent on his “mission” by the Hamas terrorist organization.

Diamond cutters

Mordechai (“Moti”) Schijveschuurder (43) had emigrated to Israel from the Netherlands in 1977. The Schijveschuurders trace their family back to the 17th century in the Netherlands. Many of them were employed in the diamond cutting industry (the family surname was adapted from their ancestor’s trade of diamond polisher). In his new home country, Moti met his future wife, Tzira, the daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Friedmann-Moskovitz, also immigrants - in 1958 - from the Netherlands, and like the Schijveschuurder family survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Moti and Tzira married in 1978.

The Schijveschuurders established a family, and both parents continued their respective studies. Mordechai attended the Ponevitz Yeshiva and studied economics at the Bar Ilan University. Tzira completed her studies at the University of Tel Aviv and later established herself as a speech therapist. The family moved to Jerusalem and in 1994 settled in Neriyah, where the two youngest children, Yitzhak and Hemda, were born. In Neriyah, Moti founded and ran a Talmud Torah school for boys.

Killed in the suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria were Moti (43), Tzira (41), their daughters Ra’aya (14) and Hemda (2) and their youngest son Yitzhak (4). Leah (10) and her sister Haya (8) were severely injured. The three oldest boys, Ben-Zion (21), Meir (20) and Shmuel (16), had remained behind in Neriyah. According to Jewish tradition, the five Schijveschuurders were buried the next day in Jerusalem’s main cemetery. Severely injured Leah insisted on attending the funeral, together with her three brothers. Memorial services were held as well in the Amsterdam, the Netherlands synagogue.