The Big Felafel


The Bomb Still Explodes: The Hebrew University Bombing 7 Years Later

memorial

Frank Sinatra Cafeteria Memorial

Yesterday I took part in a live twitter chat with Maia Sigal Leslau, a victim of the Hebrew University bombing. The terrorist attack took place on July 31st, 2002 at the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria on the Mt. Scopus campus. The Hebrew University was intentionally targeted because it stands as a symbol to the revitalization of the Jewish people and is home to thousands of students from all over the world.

The bomb— a cell phone in a bag on the table of the bustling café, where students gathered mid day to eat a quick lunch or take a much needed break—went off and killed nine people and injured over eighty. One of those nine was my friend Marla Bennett.

I remember the phone call about her death that changed my world forever. I was in complete denial and to this day I have not really accepted her passing. I remember demanding proof that they knew it was her, that they knew she was dead. And even though I got my answer it never felt real.

marlabennett

Marla Bennett, 24-years-old z"l

Yesterday, the opportunity to speak with Maia helped me cope with reality. She personally told me about the bombing from her point of view. She didn’t hear the bomb go off, but she said she knew something was wrong. She was alert and asked her friend to take her bag and call her mother.

Maia survived despite shrapnel piercing her brain. She lost sight in her eye and still has scars, not to mention the emotional scaring. I would think that anyone that survived the bombing would be afraid, angry and have a loss of faith. But not Maia. She is a strong willed young woman, who actually became more religious since the bombing.

Maia is inspiring. She not only inspires me to be more thankful of what I have, but made me realize that if Marla had survived the bombing she too would be like Maia. Marla would be strong and do her best to stay positive in the face of evil. Marla was the nicest person I ever met. Nice as in good intentions, a big heart, a never ending smile and hope that survived her death.

The chat may have been short with 140 characters at a time, but the message is long lasting.

Thank you Maia for your candor.

Marla not a day goes by that I don’t wish you were still alive.

Below please find some of Maia’s comments during the conversation. The twitter chat took place through Hebrew University’s twitter account: @HebrewU (English) and @HebrewU_heb (Hebrew).

@FelafelBalls I’m getting over it every day, every morning when I get up and thank G-d for being in this world, for being alive.10:06 AM Jul 28th

@slerner #izkor I became religious after the bombing, understanding and believing this is the hand of G-d keeping me alive.10:16 AM Jul 28th

@charliekalech #izkor I’m sad abt the 9 people who are not w/ us any more. I’m sorry for myself that someone changed my life without asking.10:12 AM Jul 28th

@dejerusalem #izkor The bombing was not really a surprise, sad to say. During 2002 it was a daily routine in Jerusalem.10:36 AM Jul 28th

@miriamschwab #izkor It’s on July 31, the memorial will be held tmrw on campus. My lesson: We have only one Land, this is the true home.10:53 AM Jul 28th

@dejerusalem #izkor I’m one of the lucky ones, I’m a survivor. I always remember I could have been a victim. It is always with me.11:02 AM Jul 28th


Don’t Listen to Beilin’s Broken Record

beilin.JPGThis is an Opinion Piece in response to Beilin’s Ynet Article, Don’t repeat mistake of 2000, on March 8, 2008.

Mr.Beilin it is hard to take you seriously when your advice seems to end with a punch line rather than a message. It is you, and your past that has brought the Israeli people to the current situation, and not, as you claimed, “The IDF’s harsh response to Palestinian violence in 2000.”

In your article, you had the audacity to ask that we do not “repeat mistakes” again. Your request is a joke because it is the mistakes we made during Oslo that we are now repeating. During the Oslo Accords our country was made to believe that shootings were not “real terrorist attacks.” Shootings became like roadblocks; somehow it was believed that we needed them in order to obtain peace. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from the signing of the Declaration of Principles between Israel and the PLO (the Oslo Accords) on September 13, 1993, until September 2000, 256 civilians and soldiers were killed in terrorist attacks in Israel.

The quiet that you spoke of in 2007, was nothing more than a waiting period until the next uprising, war, or whatever term fits the crime. It was not as though in 2007, Fatah, Hamas and other terrorist groups thought to themselves, “You know the Jews aren’t that bad. This living side-by-side thing seems like a great idea. Let’s give peace a chance.” In fact, it is embracing the quiet of 2007, rather than interpreting its silence that has brought the days of relentless rocket fire to the South, and the Yeshiva shooting to Jerusalem (not to mention the other terrorist attacks that have happened in the past few years). Continue reading this entry »