Baby killed at Jerusalem train station; mom from Monsey

Posted on 23 October 2014 by Josh Green



Thane Grauel, 

Couple had child after trying for 13 years; baby killed as Palestinian slams car into train station crowd

A Monsey-raised woman and her husband tried for 13 years to have a child before Chaya Zissel Braun came into the world three months ago, friends in Rockland told The Journal News on Thursday.

Joy turned to horror Wednesday when the infant died when a man described as a convicted Palestinian terrorist drove a car into a crowd of people at a train station in East Jerusalem.

“My senses are numb,” said Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder, D-Spring Valley, who knows the family in Monsey. “When you have a young couple who for 13 years tried to bring in a beautiful child into this world and nourish and cherish this child, this happens. I literally cry with them.”

“They took the child to the Wailing Wall for the first time,” he told the Journal News. “The father was pushing her in the stroller. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

The child’s grandmother wJerusalemLRTerroras flying home and didn’t know about her granddaughter’s death until after her plane landed. Wieder identified the family as Halperin. The parents’ whose names were not available, had moved from the United States to Israel within the past decade.

The child’s grandfather in Israel issued statement to Channel 2 TV:

“She is a pure baby girl who hasn’t done anything bad to anyone,” Shimshon Halperin said. “She was murdered for no reason.”

The family buried the baby Wednesday night following Jewish tradition – a plain wood coffin and within 24 hours of death.

Chaya Zissel Braun was thrown in the crash and died at a hospital, Israeli authorities said.

“The mother was screaming,” Wieder said. “The baby thrown from the stoller. This is hard to imagine.”

The girl and her parents, who were injured in the attack, were U.S. citizens, according to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, D-Harrison, who represents Rockland County, said in a statement: “Our hearts are completely broken by yesterday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem that killed Chaya Zissel Braun. Such indiscriminate hatred and targeted violence against innocent civilians, including this three-month-old baby girl with family right here in Rockland County, shocks the conscience and must be universally condemned.”

Violent attacks in Israel have claimed the lives of other people with ties to Rockland.

In August 2003, a New Square mother and her 5-month-old son were among 20 people killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Goldie Taubenfeld was the mother of 13 children. She and son Shmuel were visiting for a relative’s wedding. Three-year-old Tehilla Nathanson, whose mother was from Monsey, also was killed in the blast.

In 1995, Alisa Flatow was killed in a terror attack on a bus while traveling to the beach in Israel. A Bergen County, N.J., resident, Flatow had friends in Monsey as they attended the Frisch School in Paramus, a co-educational yeshiva. Her father, attorney Stephen Flatow, won a lawsuit ordering the government of Iran to pay $247.5 million in damages.

Aaron Troodler, who is active in the Rockland Jewish community and is a political consultant with Paul Revere Public Relations, said the “terrorist attack is a stark reminder that Israel’s enemies will stop at nothing in their relentless quest to wreak havoc on innocent civilians in the Jewish State.”

He said the family has local ties and that “brings this heart-wrenching tragedy even closer to home and impacts this community in a stronger and more substantive way.”

He added, “Targeting innocent men, women, and young children is an abominable and intolerable practice that demonstrates a callous disregard for human life.’

Wednesday’s violence came after months of tensions between Jews and Palestinians in East Jerusalem — the section of the city the Palestinians demand as their future capital. The area has experienced unrest and near-daily attacks on the city’s light rail by Palestinian youths since a wave of violence over the summer, capped by a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The car struck the train station near the national headquarters of Israel’s police force. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the driver got out of the car and tried to flee before he was shot by a police officer.

He said footage captured by security cameras indicated the driver deliberately struck people waiting at the stop.

“We look at this incident as a terrorist attack,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld said the driver, a resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was in serious condition. He added that the driver “has served time in Israeli prison for terrorism.” Israeli media reported he was a member of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The Associated Press contributed information for this report.

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