On Monday 8 Iyar, OneFamily, a nonprofit organization that helps victims of terror and their families, provided financial and emotional support to the family of Ayman Shaaban, the Bedouin taxi driver murdered in January’s terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.
At the time of his death, Shaaban was supporting three wives, as is customary in Bedouin culture, and 15 children, including four stepchildren. OneFamily’s representatives located Shaaban’s bereaved family, and on Monday paid them a heart-warming visit, presenting them with gifts to help ease their burden. Each child 16 years old or younger received a new bicycle, each child 17 or older received a check for $500, and each of the three wives, along with Shaaban’s mother, received a check for $750.
Shaaban’s third wife, Heba, told the visiting OneFamily members that she was three months pregnant when Shaaban was murdered. She is now nine months pregnant and expecting to give birth in two weeks. Heba, who is not Bedouin, moved to Israel from Jordan in 2000 when she married her first husband. She and Shaaban met in 2012 and married in 2013. Shaaban then moved in with her full-time and lived there until he was killed.
With Shaaban’s death, she explained, she had no family in Israel, and no one to help her financially. She said he had hoped to stay in the home she shared with Shaaban but the rent was too high for a single working mother. At the same time, she said, it is very difficult to find a new home because landlords were reluctant to rent to a single mother with six children. Heba currently receives no assistance from the government.
Heba also said she was moved by OneFamily’s gifts and efforts on behalf of herself and her children and noted that no other Jewish organization had come to visit to offer help and that she had too much pride to ask for help from her Arab friends. “You coming to visit me, thinking about me, it means so much to me,” she said.
“When I learned about what was happening with the family, and that there were now 15 more orphans, I saw it as OneFamily’s duty to step in and try to help,” said Marc Belzberg, chairman of the OneFamily organization who visited the family on Monday. “Just as any Jewish, Christian, or Muslim family in Israel, Ayman Shaaban’s wives and children suffer from the sudden financial crisis created by terror and the immense emotional pain that goes with losing a loved one under such circumstance.”
Shaaban was killed in one of the most dramatic terrorist attacks of the year, when a gunman went on a rampage on Tel Aviv’s trendy Dizengoff Street, killing Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruimi. An hour later, the terrorist jumped into Shaaban’s taxi while trying to escape. The terrorist killed Shaaban, who had refused to cooperate with him, or some believe that the terrorist had killed him because he was concerned that Shaaban would inform the police about him.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/ Photo: Sarah Levin)