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Her Baby Survived Two Years After a Fatal Terrorist Attack

Her Baby Survived Two Years After a Fatal Terrorist Attack

An Interview with Edva Biton, the Mother of Adel, of Blessed Memory

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Two years ago, Adel was fatally injured in a stone-throwing terror attack in Shomron (Samaria). After a long battle against overwhelming odds Adel returned her soul to her Creator. This is from a conversation with Adel’s mother, Edva Biton, a woman who exudes faith and strength.


Stones that Destroy a Life

Two and a half years ago, the Biton family was happy and complete. Edva Biton had a Ph.D. in medical chemistry; she did research and lectured in academic institutions. Rafi Biton, an industrial engineer, managed a branch of Israel Railway. They had four wonderful, happy daughters: Moriah, Naamah, Avigail and energetic, little Adel.

It was Thursday night. Edva was driving with three of her daughters from their grandparents’ house in Ariel back to their home in the town of Yakir. The ride was peaceful and they were singing together.

Outside of Ariel, Arab terrorists began to throw stones at the drivers on the road. The truck driver front of them stopped short in panic. The Bitons’ car hit the truck and was crushed, caught underneath. As the driver sped off, the Bitons were dragged along under the trailor for a quarter of a mile.

They were in the dark, terrified, screaming. But Adel didn’t make a sound, and her head was hanging at a peculiar angle. “I lifted Adel’s head, to clear her airway, and together with the older girls, screamed,Shema Yisroel, HashemElokeinu, Hashem Echad!’ (‘Hear O Israel, the L‑rd our G‑d, the L‑rd is One’) over and over,” Edva recalls.

As soon as the emergency response team arrived, they immediately removed Avigail and Naamah from the car, but to get Adel out, they had to shear through the vehicle and pry it apart, and it took some time. Edva, Avigail and Naamah were also moderately wounded, but Adel’s status was critical. A mobile intensive care ambulance took her to the hospital.

In those moments, Edva wished her background was in anything but medicine.

“The doctors didn’t give her a chance. I, who understood medical issues, knew how serious the situation was.”

In spite of it all, she didn’t lose her faith, and prayed for a miracle.

The doctors found that Adel’s vital signs were good enough to risk an operation. Her parents asked Jewish communities around the world to pray for her recovery and gave Adel an additional name: Chaya (which means “life”).

At first, the doctors projected that she would only live a few hours, but Adel fought day after day. Miraculously, she stabilized. Her life was saved, but she suffered from severe neurological damage and was only partially conscious.

“Mommy, I Don’t Want to go to Sleep!”

Edva remembers Adel as a particularly active child. “The sentence I best remember her saying was, ‘Mommy, I don’t want to go to sleep!’ She didn’t like sleeping and would leave her bed and run to the living room.”

She didn’t eat much, and at the age of two years and eight months, she only weighed around 17 and a half pounds, but the little food and sleep she got were enough to give her loads of energy.

“She was had an amazing ability to mimic others. She didn’t speak very clearly, but she made herself understood with her expressions. She could speak volumes with those beautiful eyes she had,” Edva recalls.

Now, suddenly, the daughter who was so full of life was lying motionless in bed.


Faith and Boundless Love

Adel was hospitalized for two and a half months, during which time her parents were always at her side. They took turns, so that one would always be home with the other girls and one would always be next to Adel’s bed. On Shabbat, they were both with Adel, while the older girls spent the day with family.

In those months, there were times when Adel’s situation deteriorated and the doctors prepared them for the worst, but she would miraculously improve every time.

After doing all they could for her, the doctors wanted to move her to an assisted living facility, believing that there was no point in sending her for rehabilitation. Her parents were hopeful, though, and wouldn’t accept that. They had her transferred to the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Center.

“You Understand the Medical Side. Did You Believe That Adel Would Recover?”

“The fact that I and the other two girls survived the terror attack was a complete miracle,” says Edva. “When the emergency responders came, they brought a black body bag. Because of the angle of the impact, they were sure there would be no survivors. So I believed that He Who created the world could do another miracle and save Adel.”

There were doctors who thought she was crazy; others suggested that she get psychological help.

“Doctors are very realistic people, and it’s hard for them to understand faith. But I believe that doctors are only messengers of G‑d. Thank G‑d, He sent wonderful messengers, but there can always be a miracle . . . I believe that G‑d put into each of our subconscious minds the ability to heal ourselves, and because Adel was so young, I believed she’d be able to get better, and had to be given a chance.”

Adel at Home Again

When she was released from rehab, Adel went home. Her dedicated parents arranged rehabilitation for her at home. Every day saw people coming to their home to work with Adel: a speech therapist, a physiotherapist, a kindergarten teacher and more.

Although the doctors were skeptical, Adel made progress. She managed to produce sounds, move her arms and draw. With enormous effort, she could even stand with assistance.

“She joined in it all. We laughed with her, we read her stories. There wasn’t one moment of downtime, and she got loads of love from all of us,” Edva says. In spite of the fact that she was critically wounded, she wasn’t in pain and she wasn’t suffering. “Everyone who came to visit her, or to work with her, said that her face shone with a tremendous light, like a special halo.”

While Adel was home, Edva gave birth to a son, Achiya.

“The decision to get pregnant was our way of telling G‑d that we were choosing life. Even though Adel was wounded, we chose to be. That’s how we let G‑d know we believe in Him.”


A Funeral Instead of a Thanksgiving Feast

Edva was dedicated to taking care of her daughter. Sometimes she would imagine the enormous thanksgiving feast she would prepare for hundreds of people to celebrate the miracle of Adel’s complete recovery.

She never imagined that the hundreds of people would come, but not for a feast—for Adel’s funeral.

Two days before she died, Adel was pale and coughing. Edva felt, with the heart of a loving mother, that something was wrong. She called an ambulance, and Adel was hospitalized. Her condition worsened, and within a day, her organs collapsed and she died.

“It makes no sense for a mother to have to bury a five-year-old child. Tons of people came to comfort us, and I thought about how I’d expected to see all these people at a thanksgiving feast, not at a funeral. But I’m a believer, and this trial has only increased my spiritual strength.

“Adel had a beautiful soul. I was privileged to raise her. She had a unique job to do in this world. She managed to break down a lot of barriers and to affect people all over Israel and all over the world. I’m constantly receiving messages and letters from men and women, boys and girls, telling me they were touched by Adel, that something changed in their lives, and it caused them to do a good deed in her honor.”

Five Children: Four in This World and One in the Next

Edva says she has five children, four in this world and one in the next.

“I talk to Adel all the time. She is a part of me. She lives within me. She’s part of the atmosphere of our house.”

Edva knows that she did all she could for Adel, and she also knows that for the sakes of the other children, she has to remain cheerful.

“Of course, we have moments when we break down. We’re very sad, and it’s okay to cry and to express our pain. But we believe in G‑d and want to impart to our children a complete belief in G‑d. Our children need happy parents.”

Edva decided not to return to her research. She feels that G‑d gave her this trial and changed the direction of her life so that she would help others. Edva hopes to establish an organization in Adel’s honor that will help bereaved parents. She goes to support meetings—she says they “light up her path”—and she strengthens people who are coping with their personal trials.

“G‑d put me in a challenging situation, and that’s how I know He chose me, that He believes in my ability. I’m doing all I can to rise to my challenge.”

Soon there will be a new Torah scroll written in memory of Adel, a from the Jewish community in France. Edva is also starting an organization for the youth of Yakir, who supported the family during those difficult years. The name of the organization is “Adel,” which in Hebrew is an acronym for “I Take Care of Others.”.


The Glass is Half Full—A Message to Our Readers

When asked if she had any special message for our readers, Edva replies:

“The strongest thing I can say is that we should always see the glass as half full. We should always try to see the good, even in the bad. It’s not easy, but even in the most difficult situations, there is good. Our faith is actually a wonderful means of coping. If we can take what’s good from every trial, our souls will be strengthened.

“I also have a half-full glass. Two years ago, I was in a fatal attack, but I and my two daughters were saved. By all accounts, I should have been sheared in two. The emergency team said that nobody gets out of such an accident alive. Even Adel survived for two more years, in spite of what the doctors said.

“Of course, I would never have chosen this, but it happened. I just want to focus on what’s good,” Edva says.


Tzippy Koltenyuk is a public speaker, singer and creative writer.
Translated by Esther Rabi.
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Raymond Bastarache NB.Canada August 26, 2015

a time to be born and a time to .......... He has me in the palm of His hand.....And my times are in His hand. Adel is now very happy...playing with others little angels ......she's keeping the door open for you..... Mom? King David said: " I can go to him....... but he cannot come to me." Reply

Anonymous August 2, 2015

The story of this family reminded me of the verse from the book of Lamentations :
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.." Reply

Eliana Me'ira Cudo Pittsburgh, PA August 2, 2015

Empathy, Emunah Edva, may you and your family continue to be comforted with all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. I wept at the time as I read of Adel's passing...I was back in Ariel at the time. I look at the picture of our 4th child, the daughter who at 8-months went on to the next world. Adel is blessed, during her time here and in the new life, to have parents of emunah. Give of your life freely to others who are in desperate need in the midst of whatever type of loss removes their loved ones. The loss of a child is horrific but we can grow and learn and be a filled vessel, ready to pour out as others have need. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and holding fast to your Strength. Reply

Shoshanna Pa-17110 July 22, 2015

:,( That was heart-breaking... Reply