Saturday, October 27, 2007


The Wrong Target (Part Two)
Silvia Cherem
Mexico City (Oct. 2, 2007)

Dania Rishpy hung up the phone on April 7 and wrote her daughter an e-mail: "Dear Dana: a boy who is called Mati called us to tell us that he left your bag at the reception desk. He said that he had to go. Please call or send us an email to know how you are. "
She had communicated with her family by e-mail 10 days before, on March 28th. She seemed happy.

She reported that she had been in Cancun, in a small hotel where she met people "really cute" on the 27th, two Frenchmen, and 28th, a German, who toured the beaches of Cancun that she photographed. She sent the pictures. On the 29th, she thought about going to Isla Mujeres, where, she wrote, she would surely find many Israelis. " She said, "I still did not see Israelis, but all other tourists are wonderful." Three times she mentioned the words "very nice people." In hindsight, Dana seems naive.

"Many of the Israeli backpackers lower their guard when traveling. They feel that far from the Middle East, they are out of danger. They need to relieve their tension, and to hear young people, build relationships and live intensely, without concern, breaking down vigilance maintained at home. They think that all will be good, "explains David Dafni,a representative in Mexico.

In New York, Dania continually checked their e-mail, awaiting news from her daughter, but the days passed and there was no response. "Dana, please take care of yourself and contact us. Do not forget to put on sun screen. We love you. " "Dana: What's happening? Why haven't we heard from you? Call us. "

Intuitive as they say women are, this mother tried not to be alarmed. "I understand that when you are traveling, it is sometimes difficult to communicate. While we camped in Patagonia, we had no contact with the family for just over two weeks. I was not worried. I was comfortable thinking. "No news is good news ". I believed that if something had happened, we would have heard. "

Dania was one of those who believed that her family was shielded with a mantle of luck. "During the last war, from our apartment, we saw the whole of northern Israel, to the mountains of Lebanon. When Hezbolláh attacked, we listened to the sirens, and Dana and I ran to the basement shelter. We only stayed a few minutes, then curious, we went to see from the terrace where the bomb had fallen. She believed that the bad things only happened to others. "

However, in New York, she began to have strange premonitions that something was going to happen. "I have never felt anything like this, it was inexplicable." I felt that this life had been "too good" and imagined the impending death of someone. She thought of her parents, with more than nine decades of life.

Dror, to whom she confessed her concern, was worried about their son Dan, a resident of Valencia. "I called so many times that I was left feeling uneasy. For our heads, we never thought that the problem would be Dana. " On Sunday, April 15, Dania checked e -mail shared by family members. She noted that Dana had not used her e- mail for two weeks. Messages were still unopened. They had accumulated. Dania recognized all senders: Israeli friends, family, cousins scattered around the world. One, however, immediately caught her attention: "Flower Power." When she opened it, she thought that nickname could refer to hippies or drugs.

"Dana is a vegetarian since age 4. She is always concerned about healthy living, does not support cigarettes or alcohol. She would not wear anything from animal skin, much less tolerate people who consume drugs. It was strange to relate to someone with that nickname. "
The e-mail was from Mati. At 16:45 am on April 7, after speaking with Rishpy, "Flower Power" wrote to Dana: "Hello, I am going to the Caribbean Sea. Your bags will be with the receptionist. It's Saturday and I have to move on. I hope you have a good trip. Take care. Mati."

"Where is the Caribbean Sea?" Dania entered into Google to find out whether it was the name of a hotel in Cancun. There were more than 800,000 references, nothing precise. Also, she had the phone number of Mati. They did not call. Dror, the father of Dana, chose to write: "Hi, Mati. Until now we have not heard of Dana. Do you have any idea where she could be? Please, please, because we are beginning to worry. Thank you very much for your help. Dania and Dror. "

That same day, Mati replied: "Hello, Dror, I am Mati. I have not seen or heard anything about Dana from Saturday March 31. She mentioned that she met a young Australian in Isla Mujeres before coming to Tulum. It was assumed that I was going to find her at 1:00 on Saturday, 31st in the bungalow. The last time I saw her was at 11:30am this Saturday. She was going to go to the ruins, possibly with some young people from Quebec. I never saw her at 1:00, so I left a note on the door for her to meet me 200 meters from there, on a camping site on the beach that she knew from the day before. Sorry, but I have no more information. Take care. Mati. "

The information fell like a deluge. It was the first time in their life they heard the word Tulum. They knew nothing of its lush forests, archaeological sites and sacred places. The ideas began to turn in their minds. If from March 31st Mati had not seen Dana, why was it not reported until April 7, one week later? Why did he not sound the alarm? Why, despite opening the bag and finding the phone number of her parents, and knowing that there was money, documents and all her personal items, he did not call immediately? However, they tried to calm down; He was their only source of information, and they preferred to cling to the hope of optimism. Dana certainly was alright.

Dror sent Mati another message and asked the name of the cabin in Tulum, and if he knew of any other person who had been in contact with Dana. On April 16, Dror received the second message from Mati. "The cottages are called Caribbean Sea. They are on the beach north of Tulum, next to the ruins. I do not have the name of anyone. Take care. Mati. " Again they searched on the Internet and did not find a hotel with the name of the Caribbean Sea.

They resumed communication: "Do you have the address, telephone or e-mail? We want to know if Dana picked up her backpack that you left at the reception ... Mati seemed closed. He never said he was still in Tulum, did not provide any evidence of his identity or showed the slightest intention to help find Dana.

On April 21st, with short language and brief communication, he replied for the last time: "I do not have any info on the Caribbean Sea, but it is next to Don Cafeto. Perhaps that will be useful." Everything smelled bad. That day, Dania and Dror flew back to Israel. They departed bound for Tel Aviv and not Mexico. They thought that there, they could have better results with the support of acquaintances and the Missing Persons Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. " Without speaking Spanish without knowing anyone what we were going to do in Mexico? Stand on the beach in Tulum crying, to shout that our daughter disappeared? ".

On April 23rd, the Rishpys searched the internet for a phone number of the Judicial Police of Tulum. An officer named Paul responded. It was he who on the 24th went with a team of policemen to the Caribbean Sea cabins, located on the beach, in the archeological zone. His intention was to make a tour of the dozen rustic bungalows with sand floors, made of wood, without electricity and roof guano, to investigate whether Dana was there.

Sergio Canul, receptionist and in charge of the place, which only carries a record of the first names of their guests, denied the presence of the Israeli and confirmed that her black backpack with green and turquoise markings, had been left there for 17 days.

The face of fate

That same day, with the discovery of the backpack,was just the beginning of the first page of the judicial record. They had already spent 25 long days since the disappearance of Dana. That day, too, the Israeli embassy in Mexico and the media, Mexican and Israelis would have the first information about the case.

All Dana 's belongings"from shoes and clothes, to her toothbrush," perfectly arranged in clean bags were stored inside the backpack. In another package was a smaller envelope, with eight "travelers checks" of $ 100, her Mastercard, her ticket back to Tel Aviv, her passports "Israeli, German (by the nationality of her mother) and the Economic Community European, "a coupon and a couple of journals written in Hebrew.

Dana was obsessive in recording every moment of her life. At her home in Haifa, she had dozens of newspapers, photographs and letters, including a diary of all her dreams ." She had up to five or six per night. Her mother, shocked by many testimonies documenting and opening her life recently joked with her. "Oh, Dana, documents every moment as if she were going to die soon." At that moment, she laughed. Today, the heart of Dania reflects on that premonition.

On the last page of the diary today in possession of the Judicial Police, Dana wrote in Hebrew on March 30, probably the last day of his life. "I went to Isla Mujeres and took a boat back to Cancun, two trucks and a taxi, and I find myself on the beach in Tulum, which is out of this world. "

She says that, on the bus to Tulum, she met two Swiss and an American who rode to Playa del Carmen. They confirmed what they feared. Tulum was crowded with tourists. She continued, "We took a taxi together to the beach.

The Swiss found a cabin, and I accepted the offer of the American to share his. His name is Mati, he is from Santa Monica. He is 32 years old. He has lived here for two months, working in real estate. I do not know his intentions, but I do not want anything to do with him; At least until he takes a bath and cuts his hair. He seems friendly, but he stinks. "

She refers to Mati as being kind to her when she told him of her experience in Isla Mujeres.

There, Dana had met some youth, who she wanted to make friends and was rejected. She added, "It's incredible how everything can change in one day. Today, I am happy to be here and not having to stay in Isla Mujeres another night . " She wrote, she would go to a bar with live music at night. Her story finishes off with a lapidary sentence: "What a good fortune to meet a guy like Mati, who knows this place!" .

That night, Dana and Mati went to a beach party that was organized every Friday at the Hotel Mezzanine. According to statements by Israelis, Americans and Mexicans, Dana was there. They saw her taking photos including some that documented her last final minutes.

It was the last time anyone saw her, perhaps her last night. "How lucky I am!" , was the last thing she wrote, but luck is only one side of chance. The arrow gave its destination to the wrong target.
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