It was the month of January 2005. That Saturday night, a 17-year-old girl, by the name of Ayala Abukasis, was walking home with her younger brother, Tamir, in the southern city of Sderot in Israel. As they were walking, Ayala heard the shrill of an incoming Qassam missile fired from Gaza unto her city. She knew she had mere seconds to act, and so – without thinking twice or even trying to find shelter for herself – she hovered over her brother, covering him with her body, shielding him, as the missile hit the ground not far from where they were standing. Ayala was severely hurt and a few days later died in the hospital. The image seared into the minds of so many Israelis was that of Ayala’s father and brother, standing solemnly by her grave, as her brother was blowing the Shofar (a ram’s horn) in mourning of her passing.
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