When people think of terrorism in Israel, the images that come to mind are often suicide bombings, shootings, and stabbings. Vehicular terrorism usually doesn’t enter the equation. But sadly, it is a real phenomenon in Israel.
There is perhaps no better example of vehicular terrorism than the tragic death of six-year-old Matan Zinman on July 26.
On that dreadful night, the Zinman family, residents of Shvut Rachel in the Shiloh municipality , were driving on Highway 60 near the Ma’ale Levona junction when a female Arab motorist illegally merged into the opposing lane driving in the opposite direction of oncoming traffic. Traveling at breakneck speed, the terrorist slammed into the Zinman family’s vehicle killing young Matan and wounding his mother, Rivka Atara, and four of her children that were also in the car. Following the devastating head-on collision, all victims in the Zinman’s vehicle were evacuated to a local hospital in Jerusalem. Despite their best efforts, the medical staff was unable to save the young Matan.
Described by his mother as a sweet child, Matan was supposed to begin first grade in September.
Rivka Atara, who lived to tell the tale, revealed that this collision was no accident. Speaking to reporters, Mrs. Zinman said: “We drove on Highway 60 to a family event in Ariel. Suddenly, a white Palestinian vehicle emerged from the opposite lane and accelerated in my direction. I slowed down, but the Palestinian vehicle was driving fast. I understood that it was going to crash into me head-on, and I could not stop. The collision happened at an extremely high speed. I lost my Matan to Arab terrorism on the road.”
This phenomenon is the type of terrorism that flies under the radar. But make no mistake – traffic terrorism is a near-daily occurrence in Israel, specifically Judea and Samaria.
Now, the Zinman family is forced to pick up the pieces from this tragic event. Matan’s four siblings, who were in the car when it happened, will undoubtedly require therapy to help deal with the emotional trauma that comes with such tragic events.
Luckily for them, Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund (SICF) is there to help.
SICF boasts a robust campus that provides a wide range of therapies for Israeli children who have suffered with PTSD from violent terrorism. Treatments for this illness include animal-assisted therapy, music therapy, sports therapy, and art therapy, among others.
The organization’s founder David Rubin, along with his young son, who was just three years old at the time, was wounded in a shooting attack while driving to their home in Shiloh. The trauma that both he and his son experienced from the attack inspired Rubin to launch this vital organization to combat the deep psychological scars that linger from such deadly terror attacks.
As vehicular terrorism throughout Israel continues, SICF is available to ensure that the latest children suffering from terror-induced trauma are properly cared for. It’s what Matan would have wanted for his siblings.