‘They have taken a life and devastated our family’
lives in Israel and there’s an acceptance of the kind of violence around them,” he said.
Mrs Katz has four children – Ronit, 46, Yarive, 40, Yonatan, 37 and Mr Kaye’s wife, Orly, 43. Yarive and Yonatan live near Sderot, where “rockets are coming in every week. To the rest of the world, it looks like sport”.
Mr Kaye said his own children, Jordan, 16, and Geffen, one, who live with him and his wife in Hendon, North London, have taken it badly, especially since his own mother died of cancer three months ago.
“Jordan is inconsolable,” he said. “He has just lost two grandmothers in the space of two months. It’s just awful at that age. He’s got his GCSEs coming up but I said he should go to Israel to be with the family. That’s more important.
“Orly is in severe shock. She [Mrs Katz] was such a gentle and beautiful lady and you just can’t imagine her having such a violent end. It was instant so at least we can thank God for that. She actually came over in De- cember on her own to say goodbye to my mum and that was the last time I saw her.” His father, Ivor, a member of Stanmore synagogue, said: “They have taken a life and they have devastated a family. She had four children, five grandchildren and so much love and devotion from all the members of the Kibbutz.”
The family had planned to go to Israel next week to celebrate their grandmother’s 70th birthday. Mrs Katz’s husband Rafi, who died three years ago, was a leading light of the kibbutz. Mrs Katz is survived by her own mother, who is 98 and lives in Netanya.
On Wednesday evening, a Katyushatype rocket hit a shopping centre in Ashkelon, injuring at least 10 people, three of them seriously. The Popular Front for the Liberation of PalestineGeneral Command said they had launched the missile.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the President’s Conference, in the presence of George Bush: “Just a few hours ago, I had the opportunity, together with the minister of defence, General Barak, to express our concerns [to George Bush] about the security of the people in the south of the state of Israel. The president came for a mission of peace. And he was really aware of the complexities, the sensitivities, the fears that so many Israelis have in the face of living in the south of our country. What happened today is entirely intolerable and unacceptable. The government of Israel is committed to stop it, and we will take the necessary steps to ensure it stops.”
Paul Kaye: ‘It looks like sport’
Shuli Katz: the rocket landed less than a metre from where she stood