Haifa 1: Three generations wiped out in “slaughter of the families”: Did CNN notice?

October 07, 2003

[This is one of three dispatches I am sending today. In this one, I attach various comments, followed by three articles.]

CONTENTS

1. CNN's Rula Amin
2. Suicide bombers are not poor
3. "Three generations wiped out in 'slaughter of families' in Israel" (Khaleej Times Online, of the United Arab Emirates, republishing this report from AFP, October 5, 2003)
4. Bombed restaurant was Jewish-Arab symbol (By Peter Enav, AP, October 4, 2003)
5. "Families devastated by Haifa bombing" (Jerusalem Post, October 5, 2003)


[Note by Tom Gross]

Following the torrent of international media criticism of Israel during the last few days, many people might be left with the impression that Israel had been doing all the killing, when in fact the only victims between Saturday lunchtime and yesterday were Israeli (19 dead, over 50 wounded in Haifa on the eve of Yom Kippur; another Israeli murdered by a Hizbollah sniper in northern Israel yesterday.)

No one was killed or injured in Israel's defensive missile strike against the Ein Tzahab Islamic Jihad training base in Syria, nor in Israel's carefully targeted missile strike at an empty house belonging to a senior Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza following the Haifa bomb.

CNN'S RULA AMIN

This is not the impression that viewers of stations such as "CNN International" will be left with. (American recipients of this email list probably know that "CNN International" is far more strident in its partisan approach to the Jewish state than the American version of CNN). That "CNN International" have given virtual round the clock coverage to the propagandists of the Syrian government while Israeli ministers observed Yom Kippur is one thing; that CNN's notorious correspondent Rula Amin, should be allowed to act as a virtual spokesperson for the Assad regime is another.

This is the same Rula Amin who encouraged some of the worst lies about Israeli "massacres" of Palestinian civilians in her reporting from Jenin in April 2002.

This is the same Rula Amin who used the word "we" when reporting live on CNN from the Palestinian towns.

This is the same Rula Amin who, reporting from Bethlehem, told CNN viewers that Israeli soldiers had killed "Father Jackie" at the St. Mary's Church in Bethlehem when in fact Father Jack Amateis was very much alive.

This is the same Rula Amin whom CNN's own American (not CNN International's) anchors have repeatedly challenged as to her objectivity. (Example: On April 16, 2002, at the height of the media frenzy in Jenin, CNN's U.S.-based anchor Daryn Kagan, told Rula Amin: "Clearly what we are looking at is a different perception here. Rula, I am sure, as we can see from the pictures, a number of homes have been destroyed. But the Israelis would point out that they believe there were gunman and fighters holing out in those houses, and that's why they had to be attacked so fiercely." On April 9, 2002, New York-based anchor, Paula Zahn, interrupted Amin's report: "All right, Rula, by the same token, the Israelis argue there's a very good reason why they went into Jenin in the first place, that they know that men who are very active in the Palestinian Authority's violence against Israel are located there."

This is the same Rula Amin that "CNN International" has been using hour after hour for the past three days to report "objectively" from Damascus.

FAMILIES WIPED OUT: BARELY MENTIONED ON CNN

Viewers of "CNN International" would be hard pressed to know that three entire Israeli families had been wiped out in this weekend's events. Grandparents, children, and grandchildren were buried together just before Yom Kippur. Children as young as 4 years old and 14-months-old were killed in the attack.

SUICIDE BOMBERS ARE NOT POOR

Nor does one hear on "CNN International" that the Haifa bomber from Islamic Jihad, was a 29-year-old lawyer. As usual correspondents have sprouted nonsense about Palestinian "militants" being motivated by, among other things, poverty, when in fact most suicide bombers, have been relatively rich, well educated, and ideologically driven murderers (the same profile that matches many leading Nazis, communists, and Al Qaeda leaders.)

9/11 STYLE ATTACKS ON THEIR WAY?

Nor does "CNN International" make clear to its viewers that Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists at the Ein Tzahab training camp were not only taught by the Iranian instructors there how to assemble bombs, conduct guerrilla warfare, and use artillery, but were given aviation instruction.

THERE IS ANOTHER OCCUPATION?

And in it hour upon hour of weekend coverage about Syria, CNN forgot to tell its audience that Islamic Jihad leaders like Ramadan Abdallah Shalah continue to enjoy immunity in Damascus. Nor did CNN remind viewers that Syria is in brutal military occupation of neighboring Lebanon.

SHORT OF CAMERAS?

And CNN also seems to have forgotten to send its camera crews to Haifa hospitals where over two dozen Israeli Jews and Arabs remain badly injured.

WASN'T SABRA AND SHATILA THIS WEEKEND'S MAIN NEWS?

It is not only on "CNN International" that one hears the words "Ariel Sharon" coupled with "well known war criminal" from their chosen interviewee virtually every time one tunes in. Papers like the (London) Independent have used the Haifa bomb attack as an opportunity as its main "world news" item (by Robert Fisk, October 6, 2003) to write not about the Haifa victims but as yet another opportunity to write about the 1982 massacres in Sabra and Shatila (Fisk more than doubling the numbers of victims "to 1700" and giving the impression that Israel carried out these massacres, which were carried out by Phalangist Christians). Nor, of course, do European papers ever write about the worse 1985 massacres in Sabra and Shatila, carried out against Palestinians by the Syrian occupiers.

FOOTBALLERS AND JOURNALISTS AS VICTIMS

Among those injured were members of Maccabi Haifa, one of Israel's leading football (soccer) teams. I have not heard much sympathy from international sports organizations in the aftermath of the Haifa attacks. But then most university professors were deafening in their silence following last year's Hebrew University bomb that killed and injured students and faculty members at the Middle East's leading universities.

Among those killed in Haifa were Mark Biano, 29, an Israeli television reporter, and his wife Naomi, 25. Does one hear any expressions of sympathy, or even a mention of their deaths, from fellow journalists, in the manner which journalists' deaths in other countries are reported on?

IS THE UAE MEDIA FAIRER TO ISRAEL THAT BRITISH AND FRENCH PAPERS?

Interestingly, papers such as the Khaleej Times Online, published in the United Arab Emirates, have been more sympathetic in their coverage of Israel than papers in several European countries (Article attached below).

 

I attach the following articles, with summaries first:

SUMMARIES

1. "Three generations wiped out in 'slaughter of families' in Israel" (Khaleej Times Online, of the United Arab Emirates, republishing this report from AFP, October 5, 2003). "Grandparents were due to be buried alongside their children and grandchildren in northern Israel on Sunday - all victims of a suicide attack in Haifa dubbed the 'Slaughter of Families'. A total of 19 people, as well as the bomber, were killed in Saturday's attack in a restaurant in this northern city, which for long has been considered as a model of peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs. Among the victims were five members of the Zev Aviv family from the nearby Yagour kibbutz who had travelled to the city for a shopping expedition ahead of the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar... Brouria Zev Aviv was expected to be buried Sunday along with her son Betselel, his wife Keren and their two children, four-year-old Liran and 14-month-old Noya.. Other victims included four members of the Almog family. Zeve Almog, 71, died along with his 70-year-old wife Ruth, his son Moshe, 43, and nine-year-old grandson Tomer."

2. Bombed restaurant was Jewish-Arab symbol (By Peter Enav, The Associated Press, October 4, 2003). "The bustling seaside Maxim restaurant is a mirror of one of Israel's few mixed Arab-Jewish cities. Jewish pro soccer players hang out here. Many of the diners are Arabs. For four decades the business has been owned by two families - one Arab, one Jewish. This port city, however, has also been a repeated target for Palestinian suicide bombers, perhaps because the attackers are better able to blend in. And on Saturday, Maxim became the latest site to be hit. In the afternoon, a Palestinian woman got past a guard at the door - by shooting him, according to some reports - and detonated a load of explosives. The blast thundered along the beach and up along the foothills of the seaside Carmel mountains. A woman's severed head, apparently that of the bomber, lay on the floor. Her black hair was tied back in a ponytail... In three years of fighting, six suicide bombers have struck Haifa, killing 74 people. [TG adds: It is beyond me why AP and some other media have started to use the term "bystanders" for victims of suicide bombings, when they were clearly the target, such as the sentence in this AP piece: "Jaradat killed 19 bystanders Saturday, including four Arabs and four children." Will they also call Holocaust victims "bystanders" too in future? MSNBC also reported "A Palestinian woman blew herself up in a crowded beachfront restaurant at lunchtime Saturday, killing herself and 19 bystanders."]

3. "Families devastated by Haifa bombing" (The Jerusalem Post, October 5, 2003). This article gives brief portraits of some of the victims based on information available at press time (before Yom Kippur). Liran Zer-Aviv's 4th birthday would have been celebrated on Sunday.

 


FULL ARTICLES

THREE GENERATIONS WIPED OUT IN "SLAUGHTER OF FAMILIES"

Three generations wiped out in "slaughter of families" in Israel
Khaleej Times Online (The United Arab Emirates) (AFP)
October, 5 2003

www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2003/October/middleeast_October86.xml§ion=middleeast&col=

Grandparents were due to be buried alongside their children and grandchildren in northern Israel on Sunday - all victims of a suicide attack in Haifa dubbbed the "Slaughter of Families".

A total of 19 people, as well as the bomber, were killed in Saturday's attack in a restaurant in this northern city, which for long has been considered as a model of peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs.

Among the victims were five members of the Zev Aviv family from the nearby Yagour kibbutz who had travelled to the city for a shopping expedition ahead of the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Brouria Zev Aviv was expected to be buried Sunday along with her son Betselel, his wife Keren and their two children, four-year-old Liran and 14-month-old Noya.

Hillel Leviatan, a member of the kibbutz, said that the community would try and rally around to care for the surviving family members.

"This is a source of deep pain for the kibbutz," he told Israeli radio.

"It's a very hard blow. We will do our utmost for the rest of the family to help them mentally.

"Even if we are not able to correct the consequences of this monstrous act we will do what we can."

Other victims included four members of the Almog family. Zeve Almog, 71, died along with his 70-year-old wife Ruth, his son Moshe, 43, and nine-year-old grandson Tomer.

The bomber from Islamic Jihad, a 29-year-old female lawyer whose brother and cousin were both killed by the Israeli army in June, struck at around 2:15pm on Saturday when the restaurant was packed with families.

The scene of the blast, Maxim restaurant, has been co-owned by Jewish and Arab families for some 40 years in a city, which has a large Arab-Israeli population.

Orli Nir, daughter of one of the founders, said that the restaurant was a regular haunt for many of the victims.

"For years we have been one large family, Arabs and Jews," she told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

"When we heard about the terror attack, I ran to the restaurant and my mother, Miri Tayar, hurried to the hospital to see what was happening with those who were wounded, to be with the Matar family (the Arab co-owners).

"I know many of the people who were killed and wounded. We have many regular customers. Everyone knows everyone else."

The coach of the leading Israeli football team Maccabi Haifa, Roni Levy, and two other club members were also slightly injured in the attack.

Levy, club director Itamar Chizik and technical director Arie Borenstein were treated in hospital but later released.

"We were going to our table in the restaurant where the members of the club usually go when the explosion took place," Chizik told Israeli television. "It was a scene that will be difficult to forget."

 

BOMBED RESTAURANT WAS JEWISH-ARAB SYMBOL

Bombed restaurant was Jewish-Arab symbol
By Peter Enav
The Associated Press
October 4, 2003

The bustling seaside Maxim restaurant is a mirror of one of Israel's few mixed Arab-Jewish cities. Jewish pro soccer players hang out here. Many of the diners are Arabs. For four decades the business has been owned by two families - one Arab, one Jewish.

This port city, however, has also been a repeated target for Palestinian suicide bombers, perhaps because the attackers are better able to blend in. And on Saturday, Maxim became the latest site to be hit.

In the afternoon, a Palestinian woman got past a guard at the door - by shooting him, according to some reports - and detonated a load of explosives. The blast thundered along the beach and up along the foothills of the seaside Carmel mountains.

The bomber, 27-year-old Hanadi Jaradat, was sent by the Islamic Jihad group, which has dispatched several other women to bomb Israeli targets. Her brother and a cousin, a member of Islamic Jihad, were killed in an Israeli army raid in June. Jaradat, a graduate from law school, was serving an apprenticeship in a law office.

Jaradat killed 19 bystanders Saturday, including four Arabs and four children.

The blast blew out windows and blackened parts of the restaurant. Light fixtures and electric wires dangled, ripped from the shredded ceiling. Beneath a fog of smoke, blood and bits of broken plates dotted the floor. A woman's severed head, apparently that of the bomber, lay on the floor. Her black hair was tied back in a ponytail.

On the steps outside, the security guard lay face down, his shaved head and white T-shirt streaked with blood. White-suited forensics specialists sifted through debris. It wasn't clear if the bomber shot him. Pock-marked glass doors behind him might have been sprayed with bits of shrapnel from the explosive, or perhaps bullets.

Nir Muli, the grandson of the restaurant's Jewish owner, said his family founded the business together with an Arab family 40 years ago. "This restaurant was a symbol of coexistence," he said. "We never thought that this would happen to us."

About a fifth of Israel's 6.6 million people are Arabs, a minority made up of those Arabs who were not forced out or did not flee the war surrounding Israel's 1948 creation. They have strong family ties with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza but enjoy Israeli citizenship.

With Israelis and Palestinians at battle, Israel's Arab minority is at times awkwardly in the middle. Few Israeli Arabs have taken part in the fight, though views have hardened toward Israel, especially after suffering years of discrimination.

Haifa is home to 223,000 Jews and 47,000 Arabs. They mingle together in shops and crowd into buses together. In a reflection of the city's Arab presence, two mosque minarets rise into the sky, visible on the hillside behind the shattered restaurant.

In three years of fighting, six suicide bombers have struck Haifa, killing 74 people.

At Haifa's Rambam Hospital distraught Arabs and Jews filled a narrow corridor waiting for information about injured relatives and friends who worked at the restaurant.

One of them, an Arab woman named Odet Najar, 28, waited for news about her cousin, Sharbe Matar, 23, a waiter. "Everybody was together there, Jews and Arabs; we went to the restaurant a lot," she said, in fluent Hebrew.

It was where the Maccabi Haifa soccer team hung out before games, and several team officials, including the coach, were wounded.

"The restaurant is like a second home for Maccabi Haifa. It's a very sad day for the city of Haifa," player Alon Harazi said. One of the team's stars is Walid Badir, an Arab.

The attack came on the Jewish Sabbath and just two days before Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

Witnesses described a horrible scene. A man driving past, who gave only his first name, Navon, said he ran inside to try to help carry out the wounded, but found that most seemed to be already dead.

"To tell you the truth, there were not many people to take out ... just a lot of people strewn on the ground. There was nothing to do, no way to help them," he said.

 

FAMILIES DEVASTATED BY HAIFA BOMBING

Families devastated by Haifa bombing
The Jerusalem Post
October 5, 2003

The Maxim restaurant bombing in Haifa on Saturday snuffed out 19 lives.

Following are portraits of some of them:

Five members of the Zer-Aviv family, all members of Kibbutz Yagur, were killed. Kibbutz members said they do not remember such a tragedy.

Bruria Zer-Aviv, 59, was spending Saturday afternoon with her son, Bezalel, 30, his wife Keren, 29, and their children, Liran, 4, and Noya, 14 months, at the beach-front Maxim restaurant in Haifa when the suicide bomber detonated her explosives.

Beni Shilo, a neighbor, said relatives tried to reach them by phone and when there was no answer they drove to the restaurant.

Kibbutz member Hillel Livyatan said their car was parked in the restaurant's parking lot, and ambulances had already evacuated all of the wounded.

"They [the relatives] started to search for them in the different hospitals and when they couldn't find them they understood what had happened," he said.

The Zer-Aviv family moved to Kibbutz Yagur in 1985. Dr. Freddy Zer-Aviv, the father of the family, works as an orthopedist at Ben-Zion Hospital in Haifa. His son, Bezalel, was studying cooking in Tiberias and his wife, Keren, worked in the kibbutz's nursery.

Liran's 4th birthday was to be celebrated Sunday.

Ze'ev Almog, former commander of the Acre naval training base and his wife, Ruti, were eating lunch with their family when the bomber struck. They were killed along with their son, Moshe, 43, and their grandson, Tomer, 9.

Daughter, Galit, and daughter-in-law, Orly, and two grandchildren were injured in the blast. Family members ran from hospital to hospital searching for a sign of hope until they realized the terrible news.

Ze'ev, 71, and Ruti met each other during their military service. They married and had three children. One of the first members of the navy, Ze'ev was instrumental in bringing the first submarines to Israel. Ruti had worked as an education advisor until retiring a few years ago. The son, Moshe, also did his mandatory military service in the navy.

Almog was "a great man," nephew Rotem Avrutski told Israel Radio. "When I got my sailing license, the first thing he taught me was rescue. He was a wonderful man, a man who loved other people, with a lovely sense of humor. It is very, very strange to think of them in the past tense."

Mark Biano, 29, a reporter for a local television station, and his wife Naomi, 25, were also killed in the attack. The two were married two years ago and spent a long honeymoon in the United States and the Caribbean Islands.

Co-workers spoke of Mark Biano as "a devoted and ethical worker."

Nir Regev, 25, son of the current commander of the Acre naval training base, was also killed in the attack. A student at Haifa University, Regev was set to complete his degree in several weeks. He was sitting in the restaurant together with a friend, Olga. Nir died upon arrival at the Rambam Hospital, while Olga suffered moderate injuries.

"We heard there was a suicide attack and turned on the television when we saw Nir's car parked near the restaurant, Eli Regev told Israel Radio. "We went to the restaurant and police there confirmed that it was Nir's car. We then traveled to Rambam Hospital where we were told that Nir had died upon arrival."

Eli said that he and his wife had purchased the car for Nir son two months ago, because they didn't want him taking a bus to school due to the security risk.

The following is a list of the victims of Saturday's attack:

• Irena Sofrin, Kiryat Bialik
• Nir Regev, 25, Netanya
• Bruria Zer-Aviv, 59, Kibbutz Yagur
• Bezalel Zer-Aviv, 30, , Kibbutz Yagur
• Keren Zer-Aviv 29, Kibbutz Yagur
• Liran Zer-Aviv, 4, Kibbutz Yagur
• Noya Zer-Aviv, 14 months, Kibbutz Yagur
• Mark Biano, 29, Hafia
• Naomi Biano, 25, Haifa
• Osama Najar, 27, Haifa
• Matan Karkabi, Haifa
• Sherbel Matar, 23, Fassouta
• Hana Francis, 40, Fassouta
• Ze'ev Almog, 71, Haifa
• Ruth Almog, 70, Haifa
• Moshe Almog, 43, Haifa
• Tomer Almog, 9, Haifa
• Zvi Bahat, 35, Haifa
One of the victims has yet to be identified.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.