Sigal Sofer, the mother of four-year-old Tahal who was seriously injured by a Molotov cocktail thrown at her family’s car some four years ago, stood on Tuesday for the first time in front of the terrorist who had tossed the firebomb and declared: “We are forced to confront evil and hate yet again. So we raise our heads and move on. Am Israel Chai.”
A plea bargain was filed on behalf of the terrorist in a hearing held at the Ofer military court, whereby he agreed to a sentence of 16 years in prison and payment of financial compensation.
When the terrorist entered the courtroom, Sofer wished him that he and his children may suffer the same thing he had done to her and her children. Later in the hearing, Sofer described to the judges the moments of the attack:
“Our nightmare begins on Friday, on a happy trip to a Shabbat stay with family in Beit El. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two Molotov cocktails are thrown at our vehicle. It’s hard to describe the panic, fear and confusion in the car at those moments.”
Sofer continued: “The Molotov cocktails entered the car window in the back and fell three-year-old Tahal’s seat. Within seconds, everything started burning. The fire was burning her little body from top to bottom, she cried and cried, together with her brothers Matan and Tair. The panic was great, there were unsuccessful attempts to extinguish Tahal’s flame. We couldn’t stop the vehicle – four masked terrorists with hate in their eyes stood on the road, just waiting for their prey to stop and so they could finish the job.”
According to Sofer, the other children also began to catch fire. As they drove on, the parents try to extinguish the fire while moving away from the scene of the attack.
“I tried to put Tahal’s fire out with all the means at my disposal, but everything was failing,” she said. “The fire continues to burn parts of Tahal’s body. We continued to flee, terrified and screaming.”
“The big nightmare was taking place before my eyes and I couldn’t stop shouting Not again, not again. We can’t be in the midst of this horror film one more time. Only a few years ago we experienced nightmare when which terrorists infiltrated our settlement in Gush Katif. They came to our home and there they stabbed me with knives all over my body. I underwent treatments and hard coping. Then it came again and this time harder, because seeing your child being hit is a lot harder than being hit in your own body. I do not wish on anyone to see their children like that.”
After they arrived at an IDF post the children received treatment and were evacuated to hospital.
Sofer told the judges about the months and a half of painful treatments Tahal had undergone: “I had to face the difficulty and cause my daughter pain again, and she’s shouting at me, ‘A mother has to make her daughter feel nice but you’re hurting me, you don’t love me.’ What’s a mother to do when she hears such words from her child and has to do it again every morning?”
“But I repeat,” she said, “Just as we got up after the first attack, recovered, brought more children into this world, this time, too, we raise our heads and continue forward with all our might, with our faith and joy, believing that this is the right path, the nation of Israel is alive.”
Attorney Chayim Bleicher of the Honeu legal aid society who represented the family as victims of terrorist crime, said that “this is a very difficult incident, which miraculously did not end with a heavier catastrophe.”
Bleicher confirmed that “there’s no doubt that the involvement of the victims of hostilities in the legal proceedings leads to heavier punishment for the murderers, even when the trial finally ends with a plea bargain. We will continue to follow the terrorists’ cases, and will act to ensure that their punishments will be exacerbated as part of the war against the murderous Islamic terrorism.”