Belgian Jew to Move to Israel After Losing Leg in Brussels Attack

Walter Benjamin was walking through the airport to board a flight to Israel, when he became one of the hundreds wounded by the bombings on March 22.

Walter Benjamin speaking to Israel’s Channel 2 News from his hospital bed in Brussels, March 28, 2016. (Screenshot from Israel's Channel 2).
Channel 2/ JTA Photo Service

A Belgian Jew whose leg was amputated in a suicide bombing at Brussels’ main airport said he would immigrate to Israel.

Walter Benjamin plans to make aliyah when he recovers from the injury he sustained in the March 22 attack he told Israel’s Channel 2 Sunday. The attack was part of a series of bombings in the Beglian capital that killed 35 people and wounded hundreds.

“I probably will pack my things, get on a plane and start looking for a small apartment in Israel,” he said, adding that he wants to be near his daughter, who lives, there until she enlists in the Israeli army. “That’s the most important thing in life for me.”

Benjamin said he was walking through the airport to check-in to a flight to Israel, where he planned to spend Purim with his daughter, when he heard a noise he thought was firecrackers.

Twenty seconds later, the second of two explosions at the airport blew off part of his leg. He was shielded from some of the shrapnel because he was holding a large suitcase, he said.

Benjamin recalled seeing a dead person next to him after the blast and realizing he had lost part of his right leg. A Belgian soldier helped stop the bleeding and evacuate him to receive medical treatment.

“I thought I was going to die,” Benjamin said.

Two students from an Antwerp yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, were also among the 300 people wounded in the bombings, the third of which struck a local subway station an hour later. The students were lightly to moderately hurt.