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Ten Years After the Hebrew University Bombing

Family of the victims and witnesses look back

Adam Chandler
July 31, 2012

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the Hebrew University bombing that killed nine students, including four Israelis and five foreign nationals as well as injuring 85 others. For those who remember the Second Intifada well, this particular attack—carried out by Hamas—stood out in large part because it happened in a cafeteria full of college students on the Mt. Scopus campus, on the seam of East and West Jerusalem.

Over the weekend, Haaretz ran a feature on the anniversary, getting in touch with a few witnesses to the attack and some family members of the victims. The results are saddening, maddening, and also remarkable. This excerpt was from Linda Bennett, whose daughter Marla was killed:

“I find it hard to believe that it has been ten years,” said Bennett, who noted that 16 newborns in Israel and the U.S. have been given variations of Marla’s name since she was killed. “In one way it seems longer, and in another, it seems like less time because I can remember the last time I saw her. She was so happy being in Israel.”

Dr. Katherine Baker, whose son Benjamin Blutstein also died in the attack, aired her frustration that her son’s death certificate reads only Jerusalem because of the long-standing U.S. policy that Jerusalem is a final status issue for peace negotiations.

“It sounds terribly minor, but it really gets to me this time every year. Ben’s death certificate says that he died in Jerusalem, blank. The United States refuses to write that he died in Jerusalem, Israel. Well, the United States acknowledges that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. So, put it on your documents, because my son died because he was in Israel, not because he was in the ‘ethereal Jerusalem.’ ”

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.