One of the two Americans hurt in Wednesday’s deadly explosions in Jerusalem has been identified as the teenage daughter of a prominent rabbi from New Jersey. Aryeh Shechopek, a 16-year-old Israeli-Canadian yeshiva student, died in one of the explosions that police said were caused by Palestinian militants.
He was on his way to school when he died. The explosions happened at two bus stations 30 minutes apart during the morning rush hour. At least 18 people were hurt in the attacks, and some reports say the number of victims could be as high as 26.
In a tweet, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy confirmed that 18-year-old Naomi Pilichowski, who is the daughter of Rabbi Uri Pilichowski, was among the injured. He also condemned the bombings.
The Democrat wrote, “I pray for the victims and stand firmly with our friends in Israel against terrorism.” Rabbi Pilichowski, a well-known educator and columnist for The Jerusalem Post, wrote a long Twitter thread Wednesday about what happened to his daughter.
According to the New Jersey native, who lives in Israel with his wife and kids, his daughter Naolmi was at a bus stop on her way to work when a bomb with nails and shrapnel went off nearby. “One of the pieces went flying at Naomi and hit her, but not seriously.
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“Her ears were ringing, but she wasn’t hurt,” the rabbi wrote.
The recent high school graduate told her family on WhatsApp that there had been a bombing and that “she was fine.” She then told them that she was in an ambulance on her way to the hospital. After six hours, Naomi was freed, and her family gathered for dinner in Jerusalem to celebrate her lucky escape.
Rabbi Pilichowski wrote at length about his “indescribable” fear about what might have happened to his daughter. He said that the day could have been a lot worse. “Had the nail gone an inch or two higher or lower, I would have been sitting shiva tonight instead of giving thanks at a celebration dinner.”
Turning to the terrorists who planned and carried out the deadly attacks, the rabbi said, “I may sound harsh, but I don’t care. I want both of them to die. No trial, no jail. Executed. ASAP.” The first explosion happened at 7:06 a.m. local time on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and the second one happened 30 minutes later in the settlement of Ramot. “It was an insane explosion.
“There is damage everywhere,” a medic named Yosef Haim Gabay said after the first explosion, speaking to Israeli Army Radio. “I saw people whose wounds were bleeding all over the place.” During the police’s first investigation, they found that the bombs were remote-controlled shrapnel devices.
People call both attacks acts of Palestinian terrorism. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid promised that the attackers would be caught. “They can run, they can hide, but it won’t help them,” he said in a statement. “We’ll punish them as harshly as the law allows.”