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August 02, 2002 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-02

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No Safe Haven

University bombing violates the sanctity ofd place considered common ground for Jews and Arabs.


8/ 2


reaction is that the
sanctity of a place
dedicated to intellec-
tual pursuit and the
struggle to find the
meanings of life, has
been invaded," she
Not only does she
feel academic free-
doms are challenged,
but that "such a ter-
ror attack seeks to
destroy the hopes of
peace and normal life
in the Middle East.
"What they are try-
ing to accomplish is
to make it impossible
for Jews and Arabs to
work, live and study
together," she said.
"Education is an
equalizer. As students come together and work
Special to the Jewish News
together, the fear of the unknown disappears. They
become more comfortable. Without it, how will
he Hamas terrorist bombing July 31 of
life ever be normal?"
a student cafeteria on the Mt. Scopus
She also noted that the work of collaborative sci-
campus of Hebrew University in
entific and engineering projects vital to the region
Jerusalem, leaving seven dead and more
— like the Nancy and Steven Grand Water
than 80 wounded, raised new questions about the
Resource Institute at the Technion-Israel
openness of Israeli society, coexistence
Institute of Technology in Haifa, which
between Israeli Jews and Arabs and pro-
brings together Israeli Jews and Arabs,
grams for Americans to study abroad.
Palestinians and Jordanians — is made
Dr. Irvin Reid, president of Wayne State
even more difficult by such attacks.
University in Detroit, has visited Hebrew
Les Goldstein, Midwest executive direc-
University twice and has been in the cafete-
tor for Friends of Bar-Ilan University, the
ria that was bombed. He interrupted prepa-
Ramat Gan campus, believes "this was a
rations for a board of governors meeting
against all Israeli universities, and
Dr. Ir yin
Wednesday afternoon to comment personal-
though it was very painful, particularly for
Hebrew University, it will not have a neg-
He said it was "chilling" to have been in a
ative affect. We've already absorbed the
room that was bombed and where people
impact of extended reserve duty for stu-
were murdered. His first reaction was
dents and faculty, and taken into account
the significant decreases in government
"A university is thought of as a place of
funding and increases in security costs."
refuge from whatever is going on in society,
Goldstein thinks "Hebrew University
a place where people can come together
was selected because of the availability of
with different ideas and concepts and from
the target," because of location and stu-
different origins. [Hebrew University] is a
dent body, and notes "this is poor pay-
place of high diversity. Such an attack shows
ment for their great efforts to educate all
such mindlessness and callousness toward
human life."
Rachel Weiss, program director for the
Nancy Gad-Harf, the Farmington Hills-
Sol Drachler Jewish Studies Program at
based regional director of the American
the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor,
Technion Society, also was deeply concerned
spent six months at Hebrew University
about the selection of a university as a tar-
two years ago and has great memories of
her time on campus and socializing at the
"As a mother of a college student, my first

"I was in tears when I heard about the attack.
I've been affected by the violence, but there is
something different when those killed walked in
your footsteps," she said.
"It was the main place to hang out. Everyone
went there. You met friends for coffee or had
lunch, and you saw everyone
Left: Israeli rescue
there: Jews, Arabs, Israelis and
workers carry
foreign students. I saw no
bodies to waiting
problems between students. It
was an academic place."
near the scene
Weiss hopes the attack will
of an explosion
strengthen Israel advocacy and
at Hebrew
campus understanding for
Israel. "It will be interesting.
Will pro-Israel students come
out in full force or will they be intimidated? It is a
question of whether or not they will feel prepared
to speak out."
Michael Brooks, director of the University of
Michigan Hillel Foundation, spoke with friends
and colleagues at Hebrew University soon after he
heard about the bombing.
The friends he spoke to were understandably
shocked. "In Israel, they expect this kind of thing,
but nevef think it will be that close to them."
Brooks sees the bombing as a strike against coex-
"Besides the obvious tragedy, it is all the more
depressing for being an attack on one of the few
places, and a fairly successful place, for Arab-
Israeli coexistence," he said.
Brooks hopes it will not negatively impact on
Americans choosing to study in Israel. Questioned
about safety, he noted he has a daughter who lives
in Israel and that "it is still safer than New York."
Dr. Reid also expressed concern that the bomb-
ing could hamper efforts at WSU, and in
American higher education in general, to encour-
age study abroad. "It is a blow to the way that we
are trying to develop in American higher educa-
tion — to go abroad and study, to reach out to
understand other people's perspectives and society.
The Jewish Community Council of Metro-
politan Detroit quickly issued a statement on the
attack. Executive Director David Gad-Harf called
the bombing a "particularly cruel act, targeting
university students — the future of Israel — and
choosing a target where it would be likely that not
only Jews but foreign students and Israeli Arab
students might be killed as well."
The statement noted the bloody week that Israel
has endured, and reiterated its strong support for
American policy stating: "Nov more than ever,
President Bush's call for a new Palestinian leadership,
which will reject terror, destroy the terrorist infra-
structure, ban incitement to . hatred and terror and
begin to democratize, is the correct message from
our government and other civilized nations."

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