Two members of a family that left Israel to escape the constant rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip for a more tranquil life in California were injured in the synagogue attack in San Diego on the last day of Passover.
“We came from fire to fire,” said Israel Dahan, father of 8-year-old Noya Dahan who was injured by shrapnel in the attack.
John Earnest, 19, barged into the Chabad synagogue in southern California on the last day of Passover with an assault rifle. He killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounded Rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, Dahan and her uncle Almog Peretz who was shot in the leg. Gilbert Kaye is credited with saving her rabbi life, as she jumped in front of the gunman, shielding the rabbi.
Dahan said he was injured and his home in Sderot had been hit several times by rockets over the years. They eventually moved to the U.S. several years ago to escape the terrorizing situation – only to be targeted by the hate crime at the San Diego synagogue.
Peretz said instincts honed over 15 years of rushing to shelters helped him act in the situation.
“This is sad, but I am originally from Sderot so we know a bit about running from the Kassam rockets,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 from the hospital. He helped whisk children out of the main room to safety during the attack.
Young Noya, who left Israel with her family because of the rocket attacks said, “I never thought that was going to happen to me because like it’s a safe place, you’re supposed to feel safe.”
“As I picked up the girl, the terrorist aimed his weapon at me. I was injured in the leg,” he said
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, linked the publication of an anti-Semitic cartoon in the New York Times the same weekend to the shooting. Anti-Semitic “words, the demonstrators and the cartoons turn into shootings against worshipers in synagogues. Anti-Semitism continues to raise its head and take victims.”