On the eve of the Sukkot holiday, September 29, 2004, Dorit Binsiyan, 2, and her cousin, Yuval Abebeh, 4, both of Sderot, were killed by a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza. The children were visiting their grandmother and were playing outside the house when the Qassam hit them. They suffered massive injuries and both died shortly afterwards. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Dorit, which means "root" in Ethiopian, was the youngest of six children. She was a happy child, liked to dance, sing, and play, and was always smiling, as her photo indicates. She was very attached to her parents and sibs, sharing her toys and goodies with them. Every morning, Dorit would say "Bye Abba" when her father left for work, and would wait for him at the gate when he returned home.
Gabi and Yasisat Binsiyan, Doritís parents, emigrated from Ethiopia in 1991. Gabi's father was a community leader in Ethiopia and brought Gabi up to understand the importance of leadership and helping others. After a year or two in Israel, Gabi taught himself Hebrew and applied to a one year program at the Sapir College near Beer Sheva to become a paraprofessional social worker. He graduated the program and has been working with the Ethiopian community in Sderot for over 10 years.
Shortly after Doritís death Yasisat fell seriously ill and was diagnosed with a life-threatening kidney problem requiring a kidney transplant. Betuach Leumi (Israeli national social services) will pay for the transplant and arranged originally to send her to China for the procedure. In the end, Columbia was finally chosen as a more reliable venue where transplants were available.
The recent constant rocketing of Sderot has taken its toll on the Bensiyan family, resurrecting all the fears and traumas of Doritís tragic death. Yassisit is depressed and anxious about the forthcoming surgery and, naturally, concerned about leaving the children behind. Fortunately Gabi is more optimistic and emphasizes the positive.
The Binsiyans have three sons and two daughters ranging in age from 7 to 18. Michael (Malach), the eldest is in the Border Police even though--because he lost his sister--he is not required to serve in the armed forces. Danny (Daslan), 17, is in 11th grade and Shmuel, 15, is in 9th grade and has learning difficulties. Edna, 12, was due to be a bat mitzvah in February but the family couldnít cope or afford it and, sadly, it was postponed. Vered is 7 years old.
The parents will be in Columbia for at least three months and, with the help of Bridges to Israel, arrangements have been made for the care of the children. We will pay for a full-time care-giver, during the parentsí absence, provide tutoring for three of the children who need it and assist them with a clothing and toy allowance. In other words, with your help we will attempt to ameliorate some of their losses and deprivation.
The social worker with whom we work visits the family once a week. She reports that the home is bare and only has basic necessities. There are few toys and new clothing for the children is desperately needed. The Bensiyans are very special people, modest and unassuming. It is sad what this family has gone through and must yet endure. We all pray the transplant surgery will go well and Yasisit will regain her strength and return to a more hopeful life with her family.