Woman who escaped the daily terror of Israel is feared dead

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The Independent Online

And as an Israeli exile, Ms Rosenberg, 37, knew only too well the horrors of her home country, where bombings and suicide attacks, particularly on buses, have been regular feature of everyday life. It had made her reluctant to return home to Jerusalem and she was anxious about a trip to celebrate her father's 70th birthday in September.

It is tragically ironic that she is believed to have been among the 13 people who were killed by the bomb which devastated the No 30 bus in Tavistock Square last Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Ms Rosenberg and her boyfriend, John Falding, 62, a retired Financial Times journalist, had been to the open-air theatre in Regent's Park to see Twelfth Night. "It was a delightful evening," he said. They spent the night at his flat in Marylebone.

The next morning she left at 9am to head to her offices in Highbury, north London, where she worked for NCH ( formerly National Children's Home), helping with adoptions. He said: "She was running a bit late as usual, so our goodbyes were a little more perfunctory than normal."

But he knew he would be seeing her again soon. It was his birthday on Friday and he suspected she had arranged a surprise meal at a nearby restaurant. At Euston, about 9.30, she called Mr Falding to say the station was closed. He knew by then there had been incidents on the Underground, but the true extent of what had happened was not yet clear. He advised Ms Rosenberg to get away from the station and find a bus.

A while later, she called again. "She was pleased to have found a seat and believed she was heading for Highbury." In reality, the bus was heading in the opposite direction and had been diverted from its route, but many passengers appear to have been unaware of this. "That would be a double irony," said Mr Falding.

Ms Rosenberg told Mr Falding the morning's events would be worth mentioning in the newsletter of the St Marylebone Society, of which he is chairman. "She had just uttered the word newsletter, when I head screaming in the background and the line went dead." He tried again and the phone went to voice-mail.

At first, Mr Falding did not realise the significance. "I watched the 24-hour news and I think I was in denial. When she didn't arrive at work, I started to realise what had happened."

Mr Falding spent Thursday and Friday in an anguished search for Ms Rosenberg, trying to track her through hospitals and the police casualty bureau, as well as seeking the help of the Israeli embassy and, as a journalist, mobilising the media. Yesterday he was realising he may never see her again. "It hasn't quite hit me yet, but I think I am in the early stages of bereavement. But talking about her, in the hope she might still be alive out there, is in a way, a celebration of her life and in other circumstances she would have been pleased with that."

Ms Rosenberg came to London 18 years ago, after a spell in the Israeli army and after training as a dancer. She had administrative jobs before going to work for NCH four years ago. Her time and money was devoted to her real passions of culture and the arts, Mr Falding said. "She was out every night, if not with me then with her Jewish girlfriends at galleries and concerts and exhibitions. She was very keen on dance and modern Israeli pop music, which she introduced me to."

The couple met when she had a part-time Saturday job at Waitrose in Marylebone, offering wine samples to customers. "She used to get quite a little party going, which I don't think the management approved of. But we all used to buy something before we left." One day two years ago, she asked him if he wanted to go for a drink.

The couple shared a love of the arts, of walks and food, at home, where he always cooked, and eating out. Ms Rosenberg refused to let Mr Falding visit her flat in Finsbury Park because, she told him, it was a jumble. "She was obsessed with buying bags and shoes and jewellery. Anat was demanding, disorganised, unpunctual and dotty. She was intelligent, loving, witty, supportive and loyal. But she was increasingly anxious about going back to Israel and she was concerned about bus bombs because she would not feel safe. "