17 Years After Surviving Suicide Bombing, She Enlists in the IDF

Shani Winter was only six months old when she survived a terrorist attack in the center of Tel Aviv in 1997. Her mother, Anat Rosen-Winter, was killed along with two others, and 48 people were injured in the attack. A photograph of a policewoman carrying Shani from the wreckage became widely known and was published in many newspapers. Seventeen years later, Shani enlisted in the IDF (Zahal), accompanied by the same police officer.

17 Years After Surviving Suicide Bombing, She Enlists in the IDF

Shani holding a picture of her parents. (Photo credit: Yedioth Ahronoth)

On Friday March 21, 1997, Anat, Shani’s mother, met with a friend at “Café Apropo”, a popular coffee shop in Tel Aviv. A few minutes after they arrived at the cafe, a Hamas terrorist entered and detonated the explosive belt he was wearing. Anat and her friend were instantly killed, but Shani was only lightly injured. A man walking by noticed that Shani was still alive, picked her up and took her to the police woman on site.

17 Years After Surviving Suicide Bombing, She Enlists in the IDF

Shani Winter, rescued in the 1997 suicide attack. (Photo credit: Michael Kremer)

“My mother shielded me. It was more important to her to protect me than herself,” explained Shani. “I’ve always been ‘the baby of the Apropo suicide attack’, and I will be for the rest of my life.”

This week, Shani’s family members were not the only ones to accompany her to to the IDF (Zahal) recruitment center. Ziona Bushri, the police officer who rescued her, escorted her as well. “I think about this horrible suicide attack every day. I will never forget the moment I picked up Shani and ran to find her family,” said Ziona. “Our baby grew up and now she joined the IDF (Zahal). I hugged her and wished her good luck.”

17 Years After Surviving Suicide Bombing, She Enlists in the IDF

Shani and Ziona, 2014, (Photo credit: Yedioth Ahronoth, Shaul Golan)

“I’m very excited about this new journey I am beginning and the challenging role I will have in the IDF (Zahal),” said Shani.

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