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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Suicide attack claims top Israeli doctor
Dr David and Naava Applebaum
Dr Applebaum was a leading expert in the treatment of bomb victims
Tributes have been pouring in for an eminent Israeli doctor who died alongside his daughter in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Dr David Applebaum was one of the world's leading experts in the treatment of casualties of such attacks as the one that killed him.

In a cruel twist of fate, Dr Applebaum's 20-year-old daughter, Naava, also died in the blast in Cafe Hillel a day before she was due to get married.

Grief-stricken family and friends joined scores of mourners at the Applebaums' funerals on what should have been Naava's wedding day.

Staff in tears

As the head of the Emergency Room at Jerusalem's Shaare Tzedek Hospital, Dr Applebaum led a team all too familiar with dealing with victims of suicide bombings.

Mourners at the Applebaums' funerals
The Applebaums were buried on what should have been Naava's wedding day
When he failed to show up at the hospital after Tuesday night's attack, colleagues feared the worst.

"He was always the first to arrive after a terrorist attack. Once he even came in his pyjamas," said chief nurse Margalit Farchi.

When it became known that Dr Applebaum was among the victims, "staff members continued to work, but were unable to hold back their tears", Shaare Tzedek Hospital said.

"He changed the face of this department, and at the same time he was an amazing human being. As soon as he arrived each day, he would go around wishing everyone good morning - staff members and patients alike," said nurse Simcha Hacohen.

"I feel as if we've been orphaned."

'God's emissary'

Ironically, Dr Applebaum had just returned from New York, where he had lectured on how to deal with the mass casualties that can be caused by a suicide bombing.

This is a very heavy loss for this city
Yonatan Halevy, Shaare Tzedek Hospital
As well as being an expert in trauma care, Dr Applebaum, who was in his early fifties, was an ordained rabbi and lecturer in Jewish law.

In 1986, the Israeli parliament presented him with an award for treating victims of a bomb attack while coming under fire.

Shaare Tzedek Hospital director, Yonatan Halevy, said: "There are thousands of citizens of Jerusalem who owe their lives to Dr Applebaum.

"This is a very heavy loss for this city."

A former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yisrael Meir Lau, said Dr Applebaum was "one of God's emissaries".

"His mission has been cruelly ended," he said.

One of Dr Applebaum's five children, Natan, said of his father: "His whole life was dedicated to saving lives.

"Instead of preparations for a wedding, we made preparations for a funeral."


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