It’s been almost 6 months since the Ethiopian plane crash, Boeing 737, from Addis to Nairobi occurred on March 10, 2019 killing all 157 people on board. The accident was devastating for the two closely knit communities and for the 35 other nations represented on board.
For friends and family members of the victims, the grief is even harder. Many of them flew to Ethiopia to collect the personal belongings of their loved one and to visit the site of the crash.
Two Israeli Victims on Ethiopian Plane Crash
One of those is Yaffa Biton and her sister, Shosh Kahlon-Biton. Their brother, Shimon Reem, was one of the two Israelis on board.
Shimon was the father of five wonderful children. He was a retired veteran from Israel’s Shin Bet security service. His family says, “Shimon was a wonderful person, energetic and dedicated to his work and his family.”
Hospitality Support for Ethiopian Plane Crash Victim’s Family
Best Western Plus Addis Ababa had the sacred honor of providing accommodation for the two sisters visit. “The Israeli embassy called us and asked to reserve a room. We immediately said yes. It wasn’t about business. It was about providing a safe sanctuary for two grieving family members at a time when they needed the most sensitivity and support possible. Our team wanted to be there for them.”
Recently, Yaffa wrote a spontaneous thank you message to us saying,
“On June 2019, my sister and I were guests at your new hotel. We stayed for a whole week, and from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. You wrapped us with lots of love.
The reason we came to the capital is sorrowing. Our dear and beloved brother was killed in the plane crash from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya. You all knew in every single moment, to hug us and take an interest in us with high sensitivity.
We received warmth and love from you. You sent to our room an amazing flower bouquet and a touching condolence letter.Message from Yaffa Biton to Best Western Plus Addis Ababa on August 2019
We received an outstanding attention from you all, and that we will never forget. Everything we asked for was answered and responded to with great generosity. You hugged us and cried with us.”
For Best Western Plus, “It was our pleasure and our responsibility to serve them with the highest level of care. We strive to serve all our customers well. But especially in a situation like this, we really wanted to go out of our way and show them that we cared. Nothing can take away the pain. But if we could ease the burden just a tiny amount and infuse an extra touch of kindness, then that is what we wanted to do.”
Community support for family of Ethiopian plane crash victims
Yaffa also said that others in Ethiopia touched her heart as well.
“We received the same attention and attitude from all of Ethiopia including the aircrews. We came to feel, see, and touch the place which our loved brother had separated from life. There were amazing people in every place we went to.”
“They appointed us a sensitive and patient driver named Tesfaledet Sahlu, who took us to every place our brother was at. He, and his brother, provided us with excellent service.”
Yaffa said her brother, “loved his family, loved his friends, and loved his country.” Shimon was a man who made the world better because he was in it, and his memory and legacy will carry on.
In the end, we remember that love is all there is. Love is how Shimon will be remembered. And it is the acts of kindness, compassion, and the ability to be there for someone in their most vulnerable time which truly matters.
For all those still in pain, we remember you and honor you and your loved ones.