Thirteen months have passed since Hamoudi (Don) Salum's home in Haifa was destroyed by a Katyusha rocket in the Second Lebanon War, and Thursday afternoon, after Salum died of his injuries on Wednesday, his funeral procession symbolically left from the empty lot where his house, which has not yet been renovated, once stood.
Salum, 41, who worked as a lifeguard in Haifa, was outside of his home in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood when the rocket hit, but did not hesitate and ran into the burning house to save his mother and sister.
The fire caused a gas tank to explode as Salum entered the house, burning him severely and amputating his leg. Three other people were killed in the rocket barrage and dozens more were wounded.
Salum was evacuated to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, and doctors spent the next year fighting for his life before finally succumbing to his wounds Wednesday night.
Salum's sister Munira said that despite the family's efforts, their home has not yet been rebuilt.
"The house was not renovated and was not rebuilt only due to the state's negligence, lack of coordination and unwillingness. Both of the houses that were destroyed here could have been built in a year. They are two houses that are less than 200 square meters.
"They didn't want to give us a house somewhere else; they didn't want to build one for us. We are left without a home and nobody cares. I don’t know what to do anymore to make things change. Maybe somebody's conscience in the country will be aroused or maybe there will be a great miracle."
According to the Salum family, they also encountered much disrespect and indifference on the part of the state, saying that Salum's situation did not interest the upper echelon.
"My brother was hospitalized for a year and a month. The whole time, not one government body picked up the phone to ask how he was doing, what his condition was. They didn't call us or the hospital. It's just disappointing and outrageous. I am disappointed and ashamed for the state," Munira said.