Take a deep breath before you hear the story of Samir Kuntar

Take a deep breath before you read the story of Samir Kuntar.

(I wish I had taken a deep breath before I heard the story I’m about to tell you.)

The first time I heard about Samir Kuntar, I was holding my sweet baby girl, newly born — just two weeks old, if even.

The news was on — and someone gasped when the anchor announced that this man was to be released in exchange for the bodies of two reservists who were killed.

“Who is he?” I asked. “What did he do?”

I knew of the Achille Lauro. I knew of Entebbe. But I didn’t know about this:

There was this family up north – in the town of Nahariya… it’s pretty there, it’s near these grottos close to the border with Lebanon. A young family. A father and a mother, and two kids. Danny, Smadar, Einat, and Yael. They went on a picnic one day, came home, had dinner, gave their 4 year old Einat and 2 year old Yael a bath, and tucked them into bed.

And that night, while they slept in sweet darkness, a man named Samir Kuntar entered their apartment along with others…. He kidnapped Danny and Einat, while Smadar grabbed the baby and hid in the crawl space, and saw this man take her husband and her sweet little girl away.
They almost all made it to the crawl space but sweet Einat had forgotten her doll and cried, and they were heard and dragged away by Samir Kuntar.

He took them to the beach. He made Einat watch while he shot her father, and held him in under water to make sure he was really dead. Then, he smashed Einat’s head in with the butt of his rifle against a rock.
Meanwhile… hiding in the crawl space, Yael began to whimper. She was only two and terrified… and her mother, her frightened mother who wanted only to keep them alive covered her baby’s face to stop the sounds…. Until the sounds stopped. Because she had suffocated in her mother’s arms.

By dawn, only the mother was left alive, holding her dead baby, broken, CLEAVED with the news of her husband and her other baby.

I held my own sweet baby girl while I heard this story — while my heart raced and slowed and raced and slowed.

So sweet, she slept… and I was shaking.

So why am I telling you this? Because Samir Kuntar was just killed in an Israeli air strike.

And while I do not rejoice at the downfall of my enemies, today I will shed no tears.

But I will hug my kids and say a quiet prayer.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.