Deadly Haifa suicide bombing followed many thwarted attacks.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
suicide bus bombing
Wednesday, March 5, in
Haifa shattered a relative
period of calm in Israel and
served as a stark reminder.
With the United States stepping up
military and diplomatic preparations
for a possible strike against Iraq, much
of Israel was focused this week on
when a war might break out and
whether it would affect Israel.
But the focus changed abruptly
Wednesday when at least 15 people
were killed and more than 30 wound-
ed in a suicide bombing on a Haifa
Heftziba Shetreet, who was in a
building opposite the bombing site,
described the initial confusion: "In the
first few seconds, we thought the war
had started," she told Israel Radio.
"We felt the explosion right above our
"Within seconds, we realized that
there was a terrorist attack," she said.
We went outside and saw the bus,
completely scorched, cloaked in
smoke, and the wounded strewn all
over. Without thinking, weimmedi-
ately ran to help them."
It was the first suicide bombing in
Israel since Jan. 5, when 23 people
were killed, some of them foreign
workers, after two suicide bombers
launched an attack near Tel Aviv's old
Central Bus Station.
But Israeli security and political offi-
cials stressed the feeling of quiet was
only an illusion, and that Israel has
thwarted numerous attempted bomb-
ings since the Tel Aviv attack.
Ya'acov Borovsky, the police chief of
the northern district, noted that there
were 50 alerts for possible terrorist
attacks across Israel on Wednesday,
but no specific warnings of an
impending bombing in Haifa.
Immediately following the bombing,
police in other northern communities
went on alert for a possible attempt by
terrorist groups to stage a string of
Moscow/JTA — A Russian synagogue
was desecrated over the weekend.
Vandals painted a swastika, the
word "death" and a Star of David on a
wall of the synagogue in the Siberian
city of Krasnoyarsk, Russian television
reported Monday. Police have been
unable to identify the perpetrators.
danger" in French schools, Luc Ferry
said Feb. 27 when he announced the
Ferry said the government is setting
up committees to monitor and re-
spond to racist activity among students.
Teachers and principals will no longer
be allowed to turn their heads when it
comes to harassment of Jewish stu-
dents, Ferry said at a news conference.
"No forms of racism, even verbal, will
be tolerated in French schools."
Sill, Okla.; and the U.S. Military
Academy are among those joining
Shabbat Across America on March 7.
More than 700 synagogues from all
denominations will participate in a
service dedicated to the U.S. Armed
Forces. The National Jewish Outreach
Program leads the annual campaign to
unify the American Jewish community.
France To Tackle
Paris/JTA — France's education minis-
ter announced a package of measures
to combat the growing wave of anti-
Semitism in the nation's classrooms.
Anti-Semitism has become a "true
New York/JTA — A handful of U.S.
military bases will join an annual cam-
paign to encourage Shabbat observance.
Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; Fort
Bragg, N.C.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort
Police and religious volunteers inspect the charred remains of a bus destroyed in a
suicide bombing attack in Haifa on March 5.
A New Shul-
Rome/JTA — For the first time in
nearly 500 years, the capital of
Slovenia has a synagogue, a Torah
scroll and an official rabbi.
Government officials, diplomats,
and representatives of local Christian
and Muslim communities joined local
Jews and visiting Jewish leaders at a
There was no immediate claim of
responsibility for the attack. But
Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the
bombing, saying it came in response
to Israeli military actions in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
As he has done following previous
acts of terror, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon blamed the Palestinian
Authority for the bombing, saying it
had done nothing to stop such attacks.
Interior Minister Avraham Poraz of
the Shinui Party, a new member of the
Security Cabinet, said Israel should
not dramatically alter its response 'to
terrorist attacks. "We must continue
to fight terrorism all the time," he told
Army Radio. "There is no difference
between an attempted attack — and
there are many of these — and an
attack that succeeds.
"We should not act with an intent
for revenge," he said. "We must keep
constant pressure on the Palestinians
until the moderates understand that
they must put pressure on the extrem-
Political sources said the relative
quiet of recent weeks was the direct
result of the Israeli army's ongoing
anti-terrorist activities in the West
Bank and Gaza.
The United States and Britain were
among foreign nations condemning
the attack. President Bush "stands
strongly with the people of Israel in
fighting terrorism, and his message to
terrorists is that their efforts will not
be successful," White House
spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
Earlier this week, both the U.S. and -
Britain had criticized Israel for harm-
recent ceremony in Ljubljana formally
installing Ariel Haddad as the nation's
Attendees also welcomed a Torah
scroll donated by members of a
British-Slovenian friendship society.
Earlier last month, Shabbat services
were celebrated for the first time in
the community's new synagogue. They
were the first synagogue services held
in Ljubljana since the Jews were
expelled in 1515.
Dies In Israel
Jerusalem/JTA — Rabbi Yisrael Ya'acov
Fisher, a prominent rabbinic scholar,
died in Jerusalem on Feb. 27 at 78.
He had served as president of the
fervently Orthodox rabbinical courts.