Mother Says Daughter Still Loves Israel Despite Losing Eye at Protest

Emily Henochowicz lost an eye at a protest at the Qalandiyah checkpoint - she was struck by a teargas grenade.

Emily Henochowicz returned on Saturday night to her home in Potomac, Maryland, where she is recovering after losing an eye at a protest at the Qalandiyah checkpoint - she was struck by a teargas grenade.

Henochowicz is Jewish, and her father, who is currently a doctor in the United States after having lived in Israel, is the son of Holocaust survivors. The family has visited Israel in the past.

"Her mood ranges from optimistic to sad," Henochowicz's mother Shelly Kreitman told Haaretz. "We want to make clear that she has not stopped loving Israel because of what happened. She said that this should not be an excuse for people to be anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist."

Kreitman said that it was morning in the United States when they saw on the news that a flotilla was bound for the Gaza Strip. They called their daughter to warn her to stay away from demonstrations, which could become dangerous.

By the time the parents reached their daughter on her cellphone, she was already at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

Emily Henochowicz, Daniel Bar-On
Daniel Bar-On

Kreitman says her daughter told them she was about to go into surgery, that she was all right but was going to lose an eye.

"She went to the demonstration to protest the raid on the flotilla," Kreitman said. "She is not a strong girl, she's an artist, and she lifted a flag with both hands.

"To say that she threw something is just a lie. The claim that the teargas canister first hit the wall is an absolute lie. I say this because I saw the video and I also had confirmation from the doctors that it was a direct hit because there are burns on her face from the canister."

Henochowicz is due to undergo another operation today.

"She has a fractured cheekbone, in her eye socket, and her left eye was removed entirely. Her jaw was sewn shut. Luckily she is young, healthy and did not suffer any brain damage," Kreitman said.

The Henochowicz family, meanwhile, has hired attorney Michael Sfard. "We intend to file a civil suit for all the suffering that my daughter and my family have suffered. We want an investigation because we cannot accept what happened to our daughter and to other people," Kreitman said.