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Steve Averbach, 44

Steve Averbach, 44

Steve Averbach, 44, of Tel Aviv died on June 3, 2010, succumbing to injuries suffered in the May 18, 2003 suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem, bringing the death toll to eight.

The bombing took place at 5:45 A.M. near the French Hill neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. The suicide bomber, disguised as a religious Jew, boarded the bus and detonated the bomb shortly afterwards. Seven passengers were killed and about 20 wounded - among them Steve Averbach.

Averbach, originally from New Jersey, made aliyah at the age of 16. He served three years in the army and then joined the anti-terrorism unit of the Israeli police where he served for 22 years. Steve was on his way to work. As he got on the bus that morning he saw a suspicious looking Orthodox Jew who was clean shaven and had a bulge in his jacket. Because of his anti-terrorism training he knew this man was a suicide bomber. He drew his sidearm, and as the terrorist saw this he detonated the bomb killing seven people, injuring 20. After investigations by the police it was concluded that the bomber had originally planned to blow up the bus in the center of Jerusalem - Averbach had thwarted the intended attack.

Steve himself later said: "It was no surprise that I came face to face with terrorism on May 18 on the No. 6 bus in 2003. I felt the need and was compelled to intervene." 

The bombing left Averbach paralyzed from the neck down and in need of constant care. He was in and out of the hospital over the years since the attack and his condition had worsened in recent months.

In 2006, and again in 2008, Averbach went on a tour in the US to help raise funds for Project Tikvah, a Maccabi World Union program that helps children disabled by terror attacks to rehabilitate through sports. Averbach said: "I see these children, and I consider myself lucky. I may not have the use of my limbs, but I still have a wife and four boys. These kids don''t even have the capacity to understand what has happened to them."

On another occasion, Averbach expressed regret that he did not stop the bomber and wondered how to rebuild his life. "I was always pretty strong, mentally and physically, and now… I control nothing, zero. I can’t turn over, lift a hand… So they tell me that I''m my kids'' father, and no one can take that away from me. But look at me, what kind of a dad can I be?… I want to walk and play with my kids, what can I do now? What does anyone need me for?"

Steve Averbach died in his sleep on June 3, 2010. He is survived by his wife Julie, four sons - Adam, 10; Sean, 15; Devir, 17; and Tamir, 20 and his parents Dr. David and Maida Averbach.

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