1997 – Maccabiah Bridge Collapse

By Benji Rose (Chanich and Moezta Rep)

On July 14, 1997 a pedestrian bridge over the Yarkon River collapsed. The collapse injured 60 Australian athletes attending the 1997 Maccabiah Games. 4 people were killed, one due to falling from the bridge, and 3 others due to getting infections from the polluted river. The five designers of the bridge faced a criminal trial for causing death by negligence. They each faced a variety of punishments, from community service to 21 months in prison. However, many Australian Jews are angry that Yoram Eral, who was sentenced to six months community service, became an executive board member of the Maccabi World Union. They feel that Israel’s response to those guilty for collapse shows a disregard for Diaspora Jews from Israel.

I was interested to find a tragic event that has caused political divide between Israeli Jews and Diaspora Jews. I find it ironic from a political zionist standpoint that Diaspora Jews are not listened to in a zionist state. I think this event is very important in Israeli history as not only is it tragic but it is an interesting case study into the divide between Jewish people in Israel.

1996 – Bat-Chen Shahak

By Hannah Strauss (Bogeret abd Rosh)

In 1996, on her 15th birthday, Bat-Chen Shahak was killed by a suicide bomber in the Dizengoff Center. This terror attack killed 20 people and injured 75, including children celebrating Purim.

 

At the tender age of 10, Bat-Chen started writing her first diary in response to the Gulf War, entitled “The War Diary”. Only after she was killed did her parents find her diaries, four in total, and decide to share her writings with the world. Bat-Chen’s diaries consisted of beautiful wisdom far beyond her years in the format of poems, letters and drawings. Amongst some of her most well-known work is a letter she wrote to Leah Rabin after the murder of her husband, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

 

Bat-Chen’s parents have tried to continue her legacy by joining with other families, both Palestinian and Israeli, who have lost loved ones in the conflict to call for peace and reconciliation. Her parents hope that by encouraging dialogue and rejecting violence, they can make their own contribution in the wait for peace. Many of her poems and letters have been translated into English and I would urge you all to read some of her remarkable writing.

 

“A Dream of Peace

Every person has a dream

One wants to be a millionaire

Another wants to be a writer

And I have a dream

About peace.”