On April 15, Shira Klein, 23, a graduate student at the Hebrew University, was standing at a bus stop in the French Hill neighborhood of East Jerusalem with her boyfriend, Shalom Yohai Sherki, 25, when a vehicle careened off the road and rammed directly into the couple.
Klein was rushed to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem with critical injuries. She was alive only because her boyfriend leaped in front of the car to protect her. Sherki, a student and nature guide, would sadly not survive his injuries.
But this was no accident. It was an act of terror.
Khaled Koutineh, a Palestinian from the village of Anata, was behind the wheel. Earlier that day he had visited his parents in the Sheik Jarach, the site of the April 13, 1948 attack on the Hadassah convoy. He left them, as he would later say, "Seeking Jews to kill."
The incident, which police say occurred shortly before midnight, marked the start of Yom HaShoah in Israel—Holocaust Remembrance Day. A solemn day of remembrance for the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust, this year’s Yom HaShoah acts as a reminder that hatred toward Jews continues to this day.
Klein’s grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and she, too, would survive her ordeal thanks to the remarkable care she received at Hadassah Medical Organization. Her neck and back needed to be stabilized, and an outstanding team of orthopedists and neurosurgeons worked around the clock to stabilize her. She stayed in the ICU on life support until she was able to breath on her own.
At the beginning of the week, Klein was moved to the fifth floor Orthopedics Unit of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower. She chose to watch the police film of the attack. Her family gathered in the Ronald and Sandra Schiff Patient Day Center for the somber and chilling experience of watching the terrorist attack.
"I don't remember anything," Klein said. "It all happened so fast. I must have lost consciousness immediately. I am so grateful to the Hadassah staff that took such good care of me and saved my life."
She is hopeful she can return to her studies soon. In the meantime, she's healing and mourning her boyfriend’s death.
"Having a private room in the Tower made a lot of difference in my recovery,” Klein said. “My family—I have a twin and five other siblings—were around me to support me. Every night someone slept over."
She'll be back for follow-up, but three days ago, Shira Klein left her room at the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower on her own two feet.