1996 – Bat-Chen Shahak

By Hannah Strauss (Bogeret abd Rosh)

In 1996, on her 15th birthday, Bat-Chen Shahak was killed by a suicide bomber in the Dizengoff Center. This terror attack killed 20 people and injured 75, including children celebrating Purim.


At the tender age of 10, Bat-Chen started writing her first diary in response to the Gulf War, entitled “The War Diary”. Only after she was killed did her parents find her diaries, four in total, and decide to share her writings with the world. Bat-Chen’s diaries consisted of beautiful wisdom far beyond her years in the format of poems, letters and drawings. Amongst some of her most well-known work is a letter she wrote to Leah Rabin after the murder of her husband, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.


Bat-Chen’s parents have tried to continue her legacy by joining with other families, both Palestinian and Israeli, who have lost loved ones in the conflict to call for peace and reconciliation. Her parents hope that by encouraging dialogue and rejecting violence, they can make their own contribution in the wait for peace. Many of her poems and letters have been translated into English and I would urge you all to read some of her remarkable writing.


“A Dream of Peace

Every person has a dream

One wants to be a millionaire

Another wants to be a writer

And I have a dream

About peace.”