A memorial service at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem marked ten years since the terrorist bombing that killed students and staff at the University’s Mount Scopus campus.
Nine students and staff members were killed in the bombing of the main cafeteria of the Mount Scopus campus in 2002: Benjamin Blutstein, Marla Bennett, Revital Barashi, David Gritz, David Diego Ladowski, Janis Ruth Coulter, Dina Carter, Levina Shapira and Daphna Spruch. Close to a hundred people were wounded.
The ceremony, which took place in the Nancy Reagan Plaza near the scene of the bombing ten years ago, opened with the Yizkor memorial prayer, followed by a reading of the victims’ names by Hebrew University Vice-President and Director-General Billy Shapira.
Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said, “A decade has passed since the attack, and it is not only a time to mourn, but also a time to reflect upon the mission entrusted to us. We are entrusted with the development of knowledge that knows no shade of skin or religion. And so we say to the families, we shall endure. If depraved terrorists wish to disrupt the things upon which all human beings base their lives, they will not succeed.”
Hebrew University Rector Prof. Sarah Stroumsa quoted from a poem by Yehuda Amichai, I need to cry, and added, “We do as we can to keep our sanity while in pain, to promote the concepts of pluralism and rational thought while in mourning, and to show empathy for others alongside our anger.”
Adrian Kramer from the Rothberg International School, who at the time of the bombing served as director of student activities, described the impact the attack had on his life, and spoke in particular to the family of David Diego Ladowski, who was killed in the attack.
David Ladowski, born in Argentina, had joined the Israel Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic cadet program in January 2001 and had been appointed to assume the position of Second Secretary, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Lima, Peru as of 11 August 2002, as the third year of his diplomatic training. On the day of the bombing, he had gone to the university to submit his last paper for his M.A. in public administration, and was killed.
Ina Zussman-Masami, a Hebrew University student who was gravely wounded in the attack, recounted how a stranger, Pierre Saban, saved her life, visited her in hospital and later became an important part of her life. Saban died four years ago.
The Ambassador of France in Israel, Christophe Bigot, spoke of the French and American citizen, David Gritz, an only child and gifted student who was killed in the bombing. He noted that a scholarship has been established in David Gritz’s memory at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies), to enable the best and brightest Israeli students to pursue postgraduate education at the Institut. “I see this scholarship as a symbol of the enduring bond between our academic communities, in France and Israel, and of the strong response that our two countries give to terrorism… Our intellectual ties and common pledge to peace and security will always be stronger than violence and barbarism,” he said.
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, spoke of the staff and students killed in the attack. Referring to the Americans who were killed, he said, “The connections between the American and Israeli people built by Marla, Ben, Janis, David, and Dina, this closeness could not and cannot be taken away. In fact, a decade has passed and the connections we feel for each other are only stronger.” He added that he and his wife are proud graduates of the Hebrew University, which continues to accept students to its ranks from around the world.
The French and American ambassadors laid wreaths in tribute to the citizens of their countries who were killed in the attack. The Kaddish prayer was recited by Itzik Barashi, the brother of bomb victim Revital Barashi, who had worked in the Faculty of Law. After the ceremony, wreaths and flowers were placed, and participants lit candles, in memory of the victims.
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10 years ago today an event changed many people’s lives… An explosion that ended with my brother’s life and eight others.
Since then, we have been trying to turn that tragedy into something good, and since then we have been awarding scholarships to students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (ranked one top 100 universities in the world). It’s quite an honor to perpetuate him in this way.
So far we have given 72 scholarships, and I want to ask you, today, on the 10th anniversary, to help us continue with his legacy of giving. Many of you support us every year, for which we are extremely grateful.
Today, let’s remember those who passed on that tragic day.
Gabi Ladowski & Family