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October 10, 2003 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-10

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

Deadly Disaster

Haifa bombing leaves families devastated.

DAN BARON
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

r

Tel Aviv

. .,_

or Israeli newspaper editors, it's a macabre
convenience. Most terror attacks require
gathering up head-shot photographs of the
victims in time for publication. But some-
times, as was the case in Saturday's suicide bombing
at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, the dead come pre-
arranged in family photographs that show several vic-
tims together.
Two families were devastated in the blast — the
Almogs of Haifa and the Zer-Avivs of nearby Kibbutz
Yagur. Each family lost five members from three gen-
erations.
Ze'ev Almog, 71, a former submarine captain and
commander of the Israel Navy Academy, was a regu-
lar at the beachfront steakhouse, at peace among
Maxim's mixed Jewish-Arab staff and clientele. But he
was felled by a 29-year-old Palestinian woman wear-
ing a bomb belt — along with Almog's 70-year-old
wife, Ruth, their son, Moshe, 43; and grandsons
Tomer, 9, and Assaf Staier, 11.
Almog's daughter, Galit, was seriously wounded.
The loss drew an uncharacteristically emotive eulo-
gy from a relative and fellow career soldier. "At family
gatherings, Ze'evik was the center of it all, like a
lighthouse," Maj. Gen. Doron Almog wrote in the

Yediot Achronot newspaper, using a term of endear-
ment for his friend Ze'ev. "If Ze'evik were standing
here now among the living, he would command us to
continue living and creating and rejoicing and fight-
ing for what is ours — and never to be broken."
The flowers piled high on the fresh graves dug side
by side in a Haifa cemetery were mirrored in nearby
Yagur, a kibbutz that already had lost 46 of its sons in
Israel's wars.
Bezalel Zer-Aviv, 30, and his wife Keren, 29, were
killed at Maxim's — along with their baby daughter,
Noya, 1, their son, Liran, 4, and Bezalel's mother,
Bruria, 59. Reporters' access to the funerals was
restricted. But those who had watched television cov-
erage of the Oct. 4 bombing's aftermath already had
seen one of Bezalel Zer-Aviv's sisters interviewed as
she desperately searched hospital emergency rooms
for her loved ones.
"I don't have any grandchildren left," Keren Zer-
Aviv's mother, Margalit Almakias, told reporters. Her
grieving son, Shai, demanded an explanation from
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the name of an
anguished nation. "Are you listening, Sharon? Tell
me, what will happen?"
But there are no answers, and for the nine others
killed in the bombing, their final rites had the silence
of resignation.
Student Nir Regev, 25, was laid to rest with what
appeared to be military honors. But in fact it was a

contingent of colleagues who came to support his
father, a naval officer.
Mark Biano, 29, a television reporter, was buried
along with his wife of one year, Naomi, 25. Biano's
colleagues at Haifa's local station, Matav, scoured
archives for stories of Biano's that might serve as a
memorial.
Four Arabs who worked at Maxim's — Osama
Najar, 28, Mutanus Karkabi, 31, Hana Francis, 39,
and Sharbal Matar, 23 — were laid to rest in their
communities amid calls for continued coexistence.
They left wives and children behind, as did Zvi
Bahat.
Bahat, 35, died in the blast, but his daughter
Hadar, 3, was left in critical condition. Another
daughter, Inbar, escaped with light injuries.
One of the mourners at the Bahat funeral was Avi
Ohayon, a friend who lost his own wife and two chil-
dren to a Palestinian shooting spree last year in
Kibbutz Metzer. In an odd twist of fate, Israeli special
forces killed the terrorist responsible for the Metzer
attack only hours before the Maxim bombing.
But Ohayon refused to be vindictive.
"It did not bring me comfort, only a sense that jus-
tice had been done. And then — this terrorist
attack," he said.
"Fate has brought us together. This is the first time
I am allowing myself to deal with someone else's
pain."



Ze'ev Almog

Assaf Staier

Bezalel Zer-Aviv

Moshe Ahnog

Mutanus Karkabi

Bruria Zer-Aviv

Hana Francis

Irena Soft-in

Keren Zer-Aviv

Liran Zer-Aviv

Mark Biano

Naomi Biano

Nir Regev

Noya Zer-Aviv.

Osama Najar

Ruth Almog

Sharbal Matar

Tomer Almog

Zvi Bahat

10/10
2003

17

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