In the aftermath of the incident, David Hatuel, the bereaved husband and father, earned the sympathy of the nation as he tried to deal with the pain of the tragedy that had fallen upon him.
One and a half years have passed and David has undergone a successful rehabilitation. Following a long period of mourning and contemplation, Hatuel, 35, met Limor Shem-Tove, 32, of Jerusalem, and fell in love.
David Hatuel and Limor at the engagement ceremony. (Photo: Amit Shabi)
Yesterday, Limor and David held an engagement ceremony. Some 150 people attended the event at the Meir center in Jerusalem, including Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and MK Effie Eitam (Renewed National Religious Zionism) as special guests. The media was forbidden access to the proceedings.
“He met his soul mate about two months ago, Limor a single 32-year-old woman,” Ezra Haido, a former Gush Katif resident and family friend, told Ynet.
Limor comes from a family that has been in Israel for seven generations. A woman who helped rehabilitate David introduced him to Limor.
“My sight is set to the future. I am building again on a home that still is. My wife and daughters were not erased. They live inside of me. They are part of my life. I am like a tree whose branches were cut off and now they are growing again,” Hatuel told the gathering.
“I had two options: fall down and be totally destroyed, or stand up and live. I am choosing life,” he added.
Hatuel lived in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip. His 9-month-pregnant wife was expecting the family’s first son. She was killed with her four daughters, Merav, Hadar, Hila and Ronnie, in May 2004, the same day when Likud members voted on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. Hatuel and her daughters were on their way to join a protest against the disengagement plan, when Palestinian terrorists ambushed her car.
Following the tragedy, David moved to Ashkelon. He returned to Gush Katif soon before the pullout to assist the community he knew so well, a community that lent him helping hands when tragedy struck.