On March 29, 2002, during Israel’s second intifada, 18-year-old female suicide bomber Ayat al-Akhras blew herself up at the entrance to a supermarket in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat HaYovel. The supermarket was filled with pre-Passover holiday shoppers.
Due to the heroism of 55-year-old Haim Smadar, the store’s security guard, only he and one other victim, 17-year-old Rachel Levy, were murdered along with the terrorist. Twenty-eight people were injured.
Smadar, originally from Tunis, spoke Arabic. His radar went off when he saw Akhras tell two Arab women selling vegetables outside the shop to leave. Jumping on Akhras, he struggled with the terrorist, forcefully keeping her outside of the crowded store. She still managed to detonate the explosives at the entrance.
Smadar’s quick actions prevented a much larger loss of life. In fact, after the attack, it was discovered that Akhras was also carrying an unexploded mortar bomb in her bag.
Guarding the supermarket was Smadar’s sescond job. The father of five, including two deaf children, was also a security guard at a school for autistic children. However, with the upcoming holiday and the family already struggling to make ends meet, Smadar took on the supermarket job to earn some much-needed extra money.
Smadar’s wife, Shoshana, has said that his bravery and self-sacrifice are a consolation for helping her family cope with their loss. Unfortunately, their story does not end there.
Shoshana had been a manual laborer. After breaking both hands in a car accident, she became disabled. Their son, Nati, was supporting the family’s simple lifestyle until he, too, injured his shoulder.
Unable to work, a loan to cover the family’s basic living expenses fell into arrears. These tragic circumstances caused the Smadar family’s lives to spiral out of control.
Lizi Hameiri, a law student at Tel Aviv University, has known the Smadar family for several years. Recently, Nati told her of the enormous troubles that they were facing. Wanting to help, Hameiri opened a crowdfunding campaign to urgently raise the 71,000 NIS ($18,600) that the bank was demanding from the family. Only a few donations trickled in.
“Then, an angel sent from heaven arrived,” declared Hameiri to Breaking Israel News. “A friend told me that Aryeh Weingarten, founder of Karmey Chesed charity organization, has a heart of gold and does all that he can to help those who need it most.”
Recognizing the urgency of the matter, Weingarten jumped on board to save the struggling family. “Weingarten has an excellent reputation with Israeli banks,” explained Hameiri. “He immediately met with the debt collectors who already knew him as a trustworthy person and a man good to his word from past times that he has helped desperately needy people.”
Lizi Hameiri: Aryeh Weingarten’s Amazing Work
Weingarten miraculously got the bank to remove the accrued loan interest and lower the outstanding debt to 15,000 NIS ($4,000). However, this arrangement stands under one condition: that this full amount will be paid off by August 31, 2016. “We are now scrambling to raise the money through Karmey Chesed,” continued Hameiri.
Hameiri was visibly moved as she described Weingarten’s tireless efforts towards the Smadar family. “In just a few weeks, Aryeh has created a revolution. He is working day and night writing emails, making phone calls and meeting people to try to get these urgently needed funds. His good reputation is on the line.”
Hameiri is visibly grateful for Karmey Chesed’s efforts to help this heroic family. “What Karmey Chesed does is holy work,” she said to Breaking Israel News. “I have never met a person like Aryeh Weingarten in my life. He is so committed, kind and caring. I wish that all people would be like him.”
Donations to the Smadar family may be made directly through Karmey Chesed.