Israeli teenager Ayala Shapira was in her father’s car two years ago on the way home from math club when a 16-year-old terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the vehicle. Shapira incurred severe burns in the attacks and to this day she wears a face mask, receives twice weekly treatments and is unable to remain in sunlight.
Last week she courageously spoke at the European Union Parliament to the newly formed Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament, an initiative of the Regional Council of Samaria’s foreign relations department. The group’s aim is to stop the unregulated transfer of millions of euros from the EU to the families of incarcerated or dead Palestinian terrorists.
The Biblical heart land of Judea and Samaria is also known as the West Bank. Some 15 Members of the European Parliament attended the inauguration ceremony of the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament, together with 150 others and was headed up by MEP Petr Mach, leader of the Czech Free Citizens party.
“We decided to establish a new group in the EP because we want to inform the public and the members of the parliament of how taxpayers’ money is used to support terrorism in Israel, of how, at a time when Palestinian merchandise comes into Europe without being taxed, Jewish products are specifically taxed,” Mach said.
Here is the text of Ayala’s speech, followed by her mother Ruth’s:
I am Ayala, almost 14. I live in El Matan in the Shomron. I like to read, write stories and draw. I would like to describe to you what it feels like to have a terrorist attack directed at you.
The truth is, at the moment it happened I didn’t really understand what was happening. I saw a ball of light coming towards us. My father quickly stepped on the brakes. The ball of light shattered my window and landed between us. It was a Molotov cocktail. I remember that everything around us was burning. I thought I was going to die.
Afterwards, I started to act. I tried to open my door, but wasn’t able to. I was sure that the central door lock had melted in the heat, but then, my father opened the door from the other side. My entire left side was on fire, but I couldn’t free my seat belt with my left hand, so I put my right hand into the flames, too. Then, I just started running. My father told me to roll around on the road to put out the fire burning me.
Only then did I begin to feel pain. I told my father that his shirt was also on fire and I asked him to also roll around on the road, but he didn’t stop. He wanted to save me first.
I was hospitalized for eight months. That’s where I understood that my life was about to change drastically. Sometimes, I really miss being outside and feeling the sun and doing all the things I want to do. The hardest thing is when people look at me. I see it. I most appreciate the people who don’t try to hide it; they look at me but ask what happened to me – why am I all covered up?
One of the terrorists who threw the Molotov cocktail at our car was a 16-year-old boy – only a few years older than me. He did it, among other reasons, to help his family economically. He knew that if he was put into prison, the Palestinian Authority would take care of them.
I want you to remember that sometimes when you think you are contributing to a peaceful cause, you’re actually contributing to murder, pain and war.
Ruth Shapira, Ayala’s mother
Honorable Members of Parliament, Friends of Judea and Samaria, Shomron Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan, honored guests,
I arrived here from Israel only yesterday, with my daughter Ayala, who today is almost 14 years old. We flew more than 3,000 kilometers because I understand that we have the responsibility of telling you our story.
My name is Ruth, and I am the mother of six daughters, of whom Ayala is the eldest. We have lived in the Jewish Community El Matan in the Shomron for the past 15 years.
About two years ago, on a Thursday evening, as I was preparing dinner for my daughters, expecting Ayala and my husband, Avner who was supposed to drive Ayala home from a class for gifted children in math in Kfar Saba, I received the phone call that changed our lives. Avner, called and told me, ‘We’ve been hit by a Molotov cocktail, my battery is dying, call the police’ — and hung up. The first thought that passed through my mind was – have we only lost our car or God forbid, lost our daughter.
That moment I stopped thinking and did everything to get them help as quickly as possible.
They didn’t wait for rescue forces on the empty road and began making it home on foot. When I saw them, Avner’s shirt was still on fire. I saw the extent of Ayala’s injuries only after she entered the house, in the light. She had horrible burns on her face and neck, on her chest, on her back and on the palms of both her hands. My brave child walked all that way on her own before the rescue forces reached her. They entered the house.
On the way to the hospital, I realized that the situation was more serious than I had thought. Avner was hospitalized for several weeks, while Ayala was hospitalized for three weeks in intensive care, for two months in the regular ward and an additional five months in a rehabilitation ward. She suffered 30 percent second and third degree burns on her face and her upper torso. She has undergone six operations and is expected to undergo more surgery in the future.
Today, my brave Ayala, who bears all this gracefully, must wear a pressure garment 24 hours a day. She mustn’t be exposed to sunlight, which greatly limits her activity. She can’t go on trips, can’t get to extra-curricular activities or to her youth club on her own. She has to be driven everywhere; we must check out every school activity before she can participate in it, and she visit the hospital twice a month. She has ‘minor’ operations on a regular basis.
While our lives changed, the lives of the terrorists’ families changed, too. They receive a salary every month from the Palestinian Authority — a reward for their terrorist attacks. This is money they receive from you, from the countries of the European Union, who transfer hundreds of millions of euros a year to the Palestinian Authority without any supervision.
By doing so, the countries that this parliament represents, cause the murder of Israelis. All of this is enabled by the European taxpayer. Hundreds of millions of euros are transferred annually from the European Union to the Palestinian Authority, which finances, among other groups, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Organization, schools named after terrorists who murdered children, schools calling for terror, and others.
I call out to you, members of the European Parliament, members of the Group of Friends of Judea and Samaria – to stop this Kafka-esque absurdity; to stop the encouragement of killing and destroying families done by the countries this House represents.
The European representatives can no longer claim ignorance.
Alongside Ayala, waiting for your determined reaction, stands the Fogel family, a father, a mother, a baby and two children murdered in their beds on a Friday night, and whose murderers’ blood-stained hands receive a monthly financial reward for this murder – from you; the four people who were murdered while out with their friends and families in the Sarona market in Tel Aviv – only because they were Jews; the 30 people murdered while celebrating the Passover seder night in the Park Hotel in Netanya; and thousands of other Israeli terror victims, may God avenge their blood, and their families. The thousands of children and families whose addition to the circle of bereavement you can prevent.
I call out to you as a mother who is trying to stop this craziness to act immediately to stop financing the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian organizations until there is clarification and transparency for the path the money is taking, and to stop the financing of murderers. It is unthinkable that under the guise of peace and humanitarian motives of this house, hundreds of millions of euros should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority – hundreds of millions of euros that lead to the murdering of innocent people. It is in your hands.