The mother of a two-year-old toddler was still in shock on Friday, as Avigail Ben-Zion recovered in a Jerusalem hospital from injuries sustained by rocks thrown at their moving car by four Arab teenagers on Thursday evening on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
“Avigail will be fine,” Shirin Ben-Zion told Channel 2. ”She has a fractured skull, and we wait. I never thought that something like this could happen. Initially, I thought it was an accident, but then I realized very quickly that what crashed into us wasn’t any vehicle.”
Referring to her assailants, Ben-Zion was at a loss for words: “I can not talk about them as people – those figures who decided to hurt kids, I have nothing to say about them.”
Asked how the attack will impact her life, Ben-Zion said that she has no plans to travel along the route again: “I will not return to this road, it is not possible that something like this could happen by mistake.”
At her side, husband Assaf Ben-Zion, who was not in the car at the time of the attack, said, ”My wife was driving the car and thought it was an accident and stopped the vehicle. Inside (the car) were two more children – Avigail’s twin and her older brother. There are a lot of people who have sent their encouragement and prayers.”
Among those wishing young Avigail a speedy recovery was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At a Channukah ceremony at the Western Wall, the prime minister said, “The first thing I want to do this evening is to send my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to a small baby who was injured by the criminals here in Jerusalem.”
Housing Minister Uri Ariel also commented on the attack: “We are talking about a serious incident which joins a long line of dangerous events. I wish to encourage the Prime Minister to take decisive and rapid action towards the elimination of the ‘Stone Age.’”
The four suspects in the case were Arab teenagers, aged between 15 and 20, from nearby Sur Baher, who were arrested at 2AM after being implicated by intelligence obtained by the police. They admitted to their crimes during a police interrogation, while the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended their arrests until Monday for a hearing.
Channel 2 also interviewed the father of one of the suspects, who denied the charges against his 16-year-old son: “He did not throw any stones and was never in custody ever.” The teenager’s father said that what might have happened was that the boys were throwing rocks at sheep, which is a frequent game for them, and one of the stones my have accidentally hit a vehicle on the street. He also denied there was any nationalist motivation behind the stone throwing: “Since the Intifada ended until now, there has been no such incident originating from the village.”