Boy Killed by Hamas Shell Was Son of Local Council Spokeswoman

Daniel Tragerman, 4, had only three seconds to run to safe room.

Shirly Seidler
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Daniel Tragerman, 4, killed by mortar shells fired at a kibbutz near the Gaza border on August 22, 2014.
Daniel Tragerman, 4, killed by mortar shells fired at a kibbutz near the Gaza border on August 22, 2014.Credit: courtesy
Shirly Seidler

Gila Tragerman, the mother of 4-year-old Daniel who was killed by a mortar shell on Friday, is the spokeswoman for the Merhavim Regional Council. During the entire course of Operation Protective Edge she has worked around the clock to meet the needs of area residents, reporting falling rockets in real time.

On Saturday, she spoke of the moments before the mortar shell landed: “After one shell had already landed in the kibbutz, we decided to go to my parents in Kiryat Ono. Our bags were ready, and just before it hit I went down to get my son Uri’s harness from the clothesline. I met our neighbor and asked him if he was leaving too, telling him we were about to depart. I went inside and then there was a Code Red alert. The children were playing in a tent inside the house.”

She said that they only had a few seconds before the shell exploded in the yard. “From the time the alert sounded we only had three seconds to gather the children and go into our safe room. Daniel was well disciplined when it came to alerts and always hurried to the safe room. When an alert sounded he knew what to do and where to go. When everyone was in the room he would say ‘Now we are all safe.’ He was a beautiful boy, wise and sensitive. He was so sweet. We wanted to see him grow up with his brothers and realize his potential.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with council head Alon Shuster, expressing deep sorrow and condolences to the family of the dead boy. “In these difficult moments I would like to strengthen the citizens of Israel,” he said. “Hamas will pay a heavy price for this serious terror attack. The army and security services will intensify their operations against Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza until the objectives of Operation Protective Edge are met.”

Shuster also related to this tragedy, stating: “We extend hugs to the young family. We live in a complex reality, in the midst of a terror campaign that has lasted for 13 years. Children returned to this community a few days ago, trying to reestablish their lives. Everyone will have to find ways of overcoming this event. The task before us is not easy and will take time. There is no way that Israel will be drawn into a war of attrition this summer. Either we go in for a larger operation or achieve a diplomatic resolution. In communities close to Gaza this has been routine for a decade, with one shell serving as a sign for the following one.”

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