Israel watched with amazement at the fortitude displayed by Rina Shnerb’s family in wake of her death.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Rina Shnerb, 17, was buried on Friday afternoon in her hometown of Lod. Hundreds attended the funeral. She died when Palestinian terrorists detonated a mine as she walked on a trail to a spring with her father and brother on Friday morning.
Police bomb experts said that the bomb had been placed near the spring earlier and was triggered remotely as the Shnerb family passed by.
Rina absorbed most of the blast. “She saved us all,” her father said, adding, “She died a hero’s death.”
Rina’s father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, 46, was lightly injured in the attack, and his son Dvir, 19, more seriously. However, the son showed marked improvement after undergoing an operation to remove bomb fragments in his belly and is fully conscious.
The father’s composure in the wake of the traumatic event has left a strong impression on Israelis. He has given interviews from his hospital bed and shown remarkable restraint following the attack.
Interviewers on Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan, asked him how he is able to contain his emotions after what happened. “We are a family of deeds. We mustn’t give into despair,” he said.
Rabbi Shnerb remembers all the events surrounding the attack. He said he checked with the Israeli Army to see if it would be OK to go to Danny’s Spring. (He said the family never took “unnecessary chances” and would always get permission before entering any place where security might be an issue.)
After receiving the go-ahead, they started down to the spring, named after Danny Gonen, another Lod resident who was killed there in a terrorist attack in 2015.
Rabbi Shnerb remembers the mine going off. “Everything went black. Dvir shouts to me and I shout to Rina.”
“But I saw her down. I looked at her and saw right away that she wasn’t alive,” he said.
“Dvir had wounds in every part of his body. I said to Dvir and also to myself we’ll emerge from this strong. With God’s help, we won’t give in to despair.”
“Dvir said contact Magen David Adom and tell them we’re here, that we’re injured. He said, ‘Don’t tell mom.’ Then he started to lose consciousness.”
“Rina saved us all. She died a hero’s death. She took it all,” he said. “Her face was whole and calm. I gave her a kiss and said, “We’ll take care to be strong.”
Shlomo Perl, a Magen David Adom paramedic, said, “When we arrived at the scene what we saw was horrifying. We saw three injured laying on the ground. A 46-year old man, fully conscious, had sustained injuries to his upper body. Next to him was a 20-year-old man with injuries to his upper limbs and upper body and a 17-year-old teenager with multi-system trauma.”
Family and friends mourned Rina on Friday, who only a week before had celebrated her 17th birthday.
The fourth of 11 children, she was active in charity work and volunteered helping Ethiopian girls in an immigrant center in the city.
Although her father and brother, who were injured in the attack, couldn’t make it to the funeral, the father called to mourn her daughter.
Rina’s mother Shira said, “We need to continue on with personal, national and spiritual growth. Rina did not complain. She received with respect and humility.”
Her sister, Tamar, said, “We had the luck to be by your side 17 years, to enjoy your goodness. We learned to always look for the big answers. The space that has opened is not only in the Shnerb family, it’s a hole that’s opened in the heart of the nation. I ask from everyone that wants to be a partner, that they take on themselves to add light and goodness to the nation of Israel.
“Dear and beloved Rina, thank you for your years with us. I hope that we’ll succeed together to complete the task that you left us,” she said.
Separately, dozens of Rina’s friends from her Bnei Akiva youth group remembered her in song. They set up a flag and candles at the center of their singing circle.
Moriah Weizmann, who led Rina in Bnei Akiva, said “She was a great spirit. She gave of herself in every place… She was sent to a mixed branch to work with the Ethiopian community. If a student didn’t come, she would go to them in their home. She fought for every student.”
“We need to be strong together,” Weizmann said. “We’ll go to Danny’s Spring. We’ll continue to hike in all the Land of Israel, also where Rina was killed. We’ll go on in Rina’s way, from a strong and good place.”