Real victims: Fifth suicide bombing in 48 hours in Israel

May 19, 2003

* Afula shopping mall bombed Monday late afternoon. Yesterday's victims profiled.


[Note by Tom Gross]

Several prominent Western media today continued to use the word "terror" in relation to the suicide attacks in Morocco and Saudi Arabia but did not use the word "terror" in relation to reports carried in the very same news bulletins and newspapers when it came to the suicide attacks in Israel. Arguably, the terror attacks in Israel are worse since the bombs had once again been carefully packed with lengthy nails and small ball bearings in order to maximize the extent of death and injury.

Four died and many were injured, some severely, as a result of today's suicide bomb at a shopping mall in Afula, northern Israel, which occurred about an hour ago. The suicide bomber was prevented by a female security guard from entering the mall, thus preventing even more murder and maiming. She becomes the first female security guard to die on duty. At this time, the Israeli air force is evacuating victims from the area. This was the fifth suicide bomb in Israel in 48 hours.

With sympathetic photos and details of victims of the Saudi and Moroccan attacks appearing in several mainstream American and European newspapers, but only pictures of Ariel Sharon or Israeli soldiers appearing alongside stories about suicide bombs in Israel, I attach below actual details of yesterday's victims in Jerusalem [details courtesy of Ha'aretz, and Harvey Tannenbaum.]

Most are poor immigrants from the former Soviet Union who could not afford to own cars, and were thus on the early morning commuter bus.

Three of the terrorist attacks in Israel on Sunday morning and on Saturday night were carried out by three students from the same institution the "Palestine-Polytechnic" once again disproving the false analysis of so many western commentators and prominent figures such as British prime minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie, who have said that suicide bombers are motivated by "poverty". Most Palestinian suicide bombers (just like most Al Qaeda suicide bombers, and indeed just like most senior members of the Nazi party, Russian revolution, and so on) are educated middle class ideologues. As you can see from the profiles below, those who are poor are the Israeli (and one Palestinian) victims who cannot afford to own cars and take the bus.

Although the upsurge in attacks are clearly (at least in part) an attempt by Yasser Arafat to undermine new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, amazingly (but entirely predictably) the European Union today yet again jumped to Arafat's defense. (The story by Associated Press, Brussels bureau "EU: Arafat still a key player in Mideast peace process" is copied below).

-- Tom Gross



Olga Brenner, 52, had immigrated from Moldavia, 6 years ago. Olga and her daughter, Svetlana, 27, were together on the bus. The mother and daughter had different cleaning jobs at a cleaning company at two different addresses but would travel together to and from work each day. Yesterday Olga's head was blown off by the terrorist's bomb, as her daughter Svetlana watched in the bus, only to be severely injured and not die with her mother. Olga is being buried today, as the doctors try to figure out a way for Svetlana (who has shrapnel stuck in her skull) to be brought in an ambulance in an ICU unit to witness the kaddish her father will recite today for Olga.


Nella Perov, 55, was a proud mother and grandmother. Nella had dreamed in Kazakhstan of having a sabra grandson born in Jerusalem. Nella had prayed that one day she would live in Jerusalem. In 2000, Nella packed her bags and made aliya. People in Kazakhstan told her that she was crazy to leave the quiet of Kazakhstan for the terror of Israel. On Saturday night, Nella and her daughter Lana, 20, celebrated the third anniversary of her immigration over a bottle of champagne with her daughter Lana. Nella was a regular on the first bus no. 6 out of Pisgat Zeev to her work which she would always be on time in Jerusalem. Nella's daughter, Ola, began to call her mother's cellphone, which she had just gotten as a gift from her children. The phone rang with nobody to answer. As Nella's family began to search the hospitals for the injured, the representative at Hadassah said to try Abu Kabir, as they were still identifying bodies in pieces. As Ola and her sister drove to Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, they were the first to go inside. Their mother's head was laying near her body and the children confirmed in screams that their mother, the dreamer from Kazakhstan, was dead from terror. Nella was buried last night at Jerusalem's Har Menuchot cemetery.


Marina Tsahivershvili, 44, who immigrated from Georgia seven years ago, was "a very dedicated and responsible kitchen worker" at Shaare Zedek hospital, where she prepared breakfast for the children and the hospital's clinics for the past three and a half years. According to her boss, she was a kind woman who was always willing to volunteer, being among the first to offer her help following previous terror attacks in Jerusalem. She was alone in Israel. "We lost a dear woman," Professor Yonathan Levy, the head of Shaare Zedek hospital, who eulogized at her funeral.


Ghalab Tawil, 42, a Palestinian, earned a livelihood for his four sons and five daughters by working as a cleaning man at Hadassah Hospital, leaving his home at the far end of the Shuafat refugee camp every morning at 5 A.M. to make the first bus to the hospital. Ghalab was the second Palestinian resident of the camp killed recently by a Palestinian terrorist attack. The previous fatality was a 19-year-old truck driver shot to death by a Hamas gunman at the Karni junction three weeks ago.


Yitzhak Moyal, 64, was a postal worker. He too left his Pisgat Zeev community on that first bus no. 6 to the post office. Yitzhak's son, Sharon, was a bus driver on a different line. Yitzhak had 6 children and 12 grandchildren and together with his wife of 40 years, were both active in their local synagogue. As the children could not find their father after the terror attack, Sharon and his siblings were finished in their hospital search. They too were "invited" to the Forensic institute. As Sharon, the oldest son, entered the room, he saw his father in death. Sharon went over to hold his father's limp dead hand. Sharon bent over to kiss goodbye on the forehead of his father, Yitzhak. Yitzhak's body was intact. He was laid to rest yesterday at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem, by his wife, four sons, two daughters and 12 grandchildren.


Shimon Ostinsky's family realized their loved one had been killed even before receiving official confirmation of his death. Shimon, 68, who worked at a parking garage in downtown Jerusalem, always took the first bus from the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood into the city. Shimon was sitting next to his friend Yitzhak Moyal (profiled above) with whom he prayed and played. When his family heard of the terror attack, they knew he was on the bus. Shimon and his family came to Israel from Kiev 12 years ago. Prior to his immigration, he worked as a lecturer in economics, but never complained about his job as a parking garage attendant. He told colleagues at the university in Kiev that he wanted to move to Israel so he could "live freely as a Jew". He is survived by his wife, Alexandra, two children and two small grandsons.


Ronny Yisraeli, 34, was on his way to work as manager of the Har Nof Supersol supermarket when the terrorist boarded the No. 6 bus yesterday morning. A few months ago, Ronny, his wife Siggi and their two daughters, ages 3 and 8, moved to their new apartment in East Pisgat Ze'ev. Ronny was a clerk in the Supersol and after several years, Ronny was promoted to manager of the night shift. Three months ago, Ronny was thrilled to be informed that on May 19, 2003 (tomorrow), he would be promoted from assistant manager to manager of the supermarket.


EU: Arafat still a key player in Mideast peace process
The Associated Press
May 19, 2003

The European Union urged Israel on Monday to accept the Mideast "roadmap" to peace and dismissed a decision by the Israeli government to cold-shoulder foreign dignitaries who meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

EU Spokeswoman Emma Udwin said the Europeans continue to see Arafat as a key player in Mideast peacemaking despite a weekend flare-up of violence that led Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to postpone a visit to Washington this week.

She said the EU will continue to involve Arafat in the search for peace.

"Yasser Arafat remains an elected representative of his people. Our position is not changing," she said outside an EU foreign ministers meeting.

Israel blames Arafat for not clamping down on Palestinian militants believed to be behind recent suicide attacks.

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