Photo: Dana Kopel
From terror to celebration

Year after Tel Aviv New Year's attack, victim return to celebrate 32nd birthday

One year after being shot in the stomach and losing his two close friends as they celebrated his birthday on New Year's Day, Ariel Nusbecher returns to Tel Aviv's 'Simta' bar to celebrate once again; 'Shimmy would have wanted us to celebrate this way.'

Exactly one year ago to the day on Friday, a terrorist opened fire in ‘Simta’ bar in Tel Aviv’s popular Dizengoff Streets as crowds gathered to celebrate 2016’s New Year’s Day.



One year later, Ariel Nusbecher—who was at the bar celebrating his birthday—returned to celebrate his 32nd birthday on Friday at the same place on 122 Dizengoff Street to demonstrate his defiance against the cruelties of terror.


At around 2:40pm on January, 1 2016 Nashat Milhem, an Arab-Israeli terrorist living in Ar'ara arrived at the vibrant scene before opening fire on random civilians, killing Alon Bakal, 26 who was the manager of the Simta bar, and Shimon Ruimi, 30, from Ofakim.


Returning to the scene of terror to celebrate a birthday (Photo: Dana Kopel)
Returning to the scene of terror to celebrate a birthday (Photo: Dana Kopel)


Both victims were close friends of Ariel’s, who himself was shot in the stomach and moderately wounded in the hit. Seven others were injured in the attack while Amin Shaaban, a taxi driver was found murdered on Weizman Street in north Tel Aviv as Milhem fled the scene.


Unphased however, and resolute in his refusal to enable terror to dictate his daily life, Ariel managed to overcome the harrowing images indelibly etched into his memory and return to the once-macaber spot and transform it yet again into a scene of joy and celebration as he embraced his 33rd year in the world.


Moreover, Ariel and his friends lit together the Hunukkah candles, marking its penultimate night.


“It was strange because of what we experienced there on my birthday a year ago,” Ariel told Yedioth Ahronoth, Ynet’s sister print publication. “A childhood friend of mine was killed. Shimmy,” he said, referring to Ruimi, “would have wanted us to celebrate this way.”


Reflecting on the fact that not every victim of the attack died, Ariel said, “One of my friends said to me that my birthday is everyone’s birthday because people (who weren’t killed) were given their lives as a present on this day.”


Despite his determination, Ariel said that the memories of the attack will never fade.


“The memory of what happened to me a year ago will accompany me for the rest of my life. Shimmy will have a place in my heart or the rest of my life,” he said. “It was important for us to come and say that we are continuing to celebrate despite the attack because you cannot surrender to terror.”


פרסום ראשון: 01.01.17, 10:30
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