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July 29, 1994 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-07-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Panamanian Jews
Mourn Crash Victims

New York (JTA) — The Jewish
community of Panama was en-
gulfed by grief and apprehension
this week following the deadly
crash of a commuter plane Tues-
day carrying mostly Jews on a
flight between Panama City and
Colon.
All 21 on board were killed,
among whom 12 were Jewish,
and at least four of them Israeli,
according to the Israeli Embassy
in Panama City and other
sources.
The flight is a known route for
Jewish business commuters, and
the Jewish community feared
that the plane had been bombed
by terrorists. Most of the pas-
sengers lived in Panama City and
worked in Colon, an important
commercial city that is part of a
free-trade zone.
Panama's president-elect,
Ernesto Perez Balladares con-
firmed to reporters that the crash
"was not an accident, but a plant-
ed bomb inside the plane."
The incident sparked concern
among the 7,000-member Pana-
manian Jewish community, es-
pecially since it occurred only one
day after a bomb exploded in the
main Jewish community build-
ing in Buenos Aires, killing at
least 34 people.
"The whole Jewish community
is in shock," said Joseph Harari,
chairman of the Latin American
section of B'nai B'rith, speaking
from Panama City. Harari knew
all the victims and is an uncle of
one of them.
Mr. Harari had ironically been
asked by Kent Schiner, interna-
tional president of B'nai B'rith,
to go to Buenos Aires as the or-
ganization's Latin American rep-
resentative at a march to be held
by the Jewish community to
protest the bombing.
When asked about sabotage,
Mr. Harari said, `The community
doesn't wish to comment or spec-
ulate on what it can be."
Mr. Harari said "the commu-
nity wants to get the first find-

ings" from the Panamanian gov-
ernment, to determine the cause
of the accident. "We have sent our
request to the president," he said.
Warren Eisenberg, executive
director of B'nai Brith in Wash-
ington, said that because no one
was arrested after the bombing
in Argentina, "we are very
concerned with them catching
people.
"We have raised the issue with
the State Department," Mr.
Eisenberg added, and said that
the matter would be brought to
the attention of Panama's presi-
dent-elect.
Two sources familiar with the
Panamanian Jewish community
told the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency that the attack may be
linked to an extortion campaign
that has targeted several Jewish
business leaders in recent
months.
There was also some specula-
tion that the downing might be
tied to the recent kidnapping of
one of the crash victims, Saul
Schwartz, said sources in the
community.
The mystery was complicat-
ed by the fact that one of Mr.
Schwartz's cousins had placed a
bomb in his vehicle some time
ago. Mr. Schwartz was not in-
jured in that attack.
Mr. Schwartz, a wholesale jew-
eler, had also been recently
accused in Italy of smuggling gold
bullion. He had denied any
wrongdoing.
Two other victims were
Emanuel Attie, an active mem-
ber of the Panama Jewish com-
munity and president of a local
lodge of B'nai B'rith, and his
nephew, Alberto Attie.
The other Jewish victims of the
crash were identified in the Pana-
manian press as Chaya Yaker;
Joseph Gershon; Moshe Pardo;
Isaac Harroche and his son,
Mauricio; Rami Gabay; Simon
Chocron; Lizzie Philips; and
Freddy Moade.

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Detroit's #1 Cadillac Dealer

,

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By The Pubic Advisory Committee on Judicial
Candidates, An Independent Committee of the
Oakland County Bar Association

American Bar Association
State Bar of Michigan
Oakland County Bar Association
Southfield Bar Association
American Arbitration Association
Oakland County Circuit Court Mediator
B.S. - Wayne State University
Juris Doctor - Detroit College of Law
Immediate Past President -
Hebrew Benevolent Society
President Young Israel of Southfield
Captain - U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate

A rabbi prayes over three of the victims of the airline crash.

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