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  Speech from Menachem Magidor
    President of the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem,
    after the bombing of the "Frank Sinatra" Cafeteria
    - 07/31/02



The forces of evil have struck yet again. For them, the entire State of Israel, its citizens, and its institutions are legitimate targets - this time, however, the target was chosen with much care. The attack required planning and determination in order to overcome the many layers of security and strike at the very heart of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This was not just an attack on our institution; it was an attack on a symbol of the rebirth of Israel in its own land, on a modern state that is rooted in tradition but embraces openess.

This attack was perpetrated against a university founded upon the principles of pluralism and tolerance, a university that seeks to understand the world in which we live and that - despite the wave of terror and murder we are experiencing - aspires to promote peace and understanding with its neighbors in this region. The aim of the terrorists responsible for the horrific scene that I witnessed several minutes after the explosion was to bring an end to those values that the Hebrew University embraces and embodies - understanding, tolerance, and the quest for peace.

The victims include many members of the University community - students, teachers, employees, and visitors from all parts of the world. They are Jews and Arabs, and citizens of the US, Korea, France, Italy, and other countries. This attack is a crime not only against Israel or the Jewish people; it is a crime against the free and enlightened world. 

As I stood facing the destruction, the pools of blood and the wounded, I was forced to ask myself how we can continue in our research, teaching and other vibrant activity while we mourn for the victims. The answer is clear and it is expressed by the Hebrew word davka, 'despite everything'. 

The perpetrators of such heinous acts may kill those dear to us, but they cannot destroy our vision and our determination to continue to create a society that is based on reason and mutual understanding, and to work as a community of researchers and students which welcomes Israelis of all backgrounds and guests from all over the world. Above all, we will not let them kill our aspirations for peace.


  © 2002-2019 Gabriel H. Ladowski