Most people just call me Roni. I live in Ra'anana with my Californian-born wife, Leslye Knox and our six beautiful children - five from Leslie’s previous relationship, and our 15 month old son Jordan. We met at the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem settlement and it was love at first sight. My wife calls me a wonderful person, and a good, devoted friend who cares for her children as if they were my own. We adore living in Ra’anana! One day, my wife and I hope to build our dream home here, close to what she calls her “sanctuary” - the beautiful, swan-filled lake inside Ra'anana Park.
I am the first Israeli-born child of a robust and growing Black Hebrew community which moved from Chicago, Illinois to Dimona, Israel over thirty years ago. I am very close with my mother, father and five siblings. I work in construction during the day but my real passion is entertainment. I love to sing, and I perform whenever and wherever I can. In addition to songs in Hebrew, I also learned to speak Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian, so I could perform at ceremonies, gatherings at pubs for Israelis of all different backgrounds!
On the night of January 17, 2002, I took a last minute gig performing with the band Eden in Hadera. I was filling in for my best friend - the lead singer - who had lost his voice, at the Bat Mitzvah of Nina Kardashova. It was late in the evening and guests where beginning to depart the David Palace Hall on Weizmann Avenue when 24-year-old Palestinian terrorist Abdul Salaam Sadek Hassouneh of Nablus - a Palestinian Authority security officer working on behalf of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - entered the the banquet hall. He was heavily armed and prepared to avenge the death of a recently assassinated terrorist leader of Fatah (the Palestinian National Liberation Movement). After throwing grenades into the crowded room, he used an M-16 machine rifle to fire bullet after bullet after bullet, randomly into the crowd of almost 200 guests.
Fearing for the life of life of our female lead singer, I moved quickly to push her to the floor and out of harm’s way when I was struck with a barrage of gunfire. Myself and five other people were killed. Over thirty more were wounded. Security officials and guests descended on the terrorist who was forced outside the hall and shot dead by police. A suicide belt - still strapped to his body - fortunately did not detonate, and was safely diffused by the Israel Defense Forces, preventing further casualties.
After my burial in Dimona, just one of two Black Hebrews to be buried at the time in Israel, my wife continued to fight the Palestinian terrorists responsible for my death. In 2009, with assistance from the United States Department of State, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed a settlement with my wife - a recognition of their complicity in my murder.
My name is Aharon Ben Israel Ellis. I am 32 years old. And I am one of The Fallen Faces.
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