1983 – 2005
4 Sivan 5771 (6 June 2011)
Natan Galkowitz, a Brazilian who moved to Israel in the 1980s, eagerly enters Sderot Media Centre to talk about his daughter, Dana.
Dana Galkowitz was killed by a mortar on July 14th 2005 in Netiv Ha’Asara, close to Gaza. Since Dana’s death, Natan has been vocal in his criticism of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Despite his personal tragedy, Natan remains compassionate towards the Palestinians. He says that, by speaking out, he hopes it will end the suffering on both sides, especially when children are harmed, “I am a father and there are fathers there.”
One of the reasons Natan chooses to speak out is because he feels that not enough people know about the situation in the Western Negev. “When a Qassam falls in Sderot, people in Tel Aviv don’t know. It is amazing, it really is amazing, what’s going on, not only in Israel but all over.”
Natan begins speaking about the day of Dana’s death. “I remember everything. I was driving with my wife and daughter to Tel Aviv to visit family, and we got a phone call from Amir, her boyfriend, and he said please come back, right now, something happened and he didn’t say anything else.”
Natan says he didn’t have any idea what was going at the time and didn’t know anything until they heard on the radio that mortars had landed in Israel. “Four mortars were fired from the Gaza strip into Netiv Ha’asara [Where Dana and Amir lived] and one Israeli woman was killed. So we made the connection.”
He describes the feeling of shock once they realised what happened: “It took me a long time. I drove really really slowly, I didn’t want to get to the kibbutz. It was on a Friday and the cars were honking, I was driving so slowly and my daughter and my wife were crying a lot.“
Natan then moves on to describing what happened after they arrived. The family was approached and told the official news. “It was so fast, so fast…They announce the death of my daughter. And then after three more hours I was called to recognise her body in Tel Aviv. There was a lot of discussion about why I had to do this, why someone of the family had to do this. And I make a point, I want to go there, I want to see her. And I wept.”
Natan Galkowicz at SMC
To keep Dana’s memory alive, Natan decided to do something very special. “I opened a restaurant. I am not a computer specialist anymore, I am a cook.” He says he decided to open a restaurant because of a conversation he once had with Dana. “I asked her, you want to learn how to cook? And she replied ‘no, because you will always be around to cook for me and my friends.’”
Natan discovered something which not only preserves Dana’s memory for the future, but also gives him a sense of personal satisfaction. “I enjoy it very much, people enjoy it very much, and it’s a lovely place, it’s a happy place. It is a restaurant that you go to eat good food, and the food must be good,” he laughs, “and I do my best. Everybody is welcome, it’s so near.”
The restaurant is named Mides and is located in Kibbutz Bror Hayil, where the Galkowitz family lives. “Why Mides?” Natan asks; “Because it is the name of my dog that Dana had a very strong connection with.” He wants the restaurant to be about life, rather than death, “I didn’t want to give it the name Dana because it is making the connotation that this is a mausoleum.”
Every person who enjoys a meal at Mides helps keep Dana’s memory alive.