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  Speech from Menachem Magidor
    President of the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem,
    at the Ceremony Commemorating the First Anniversary 
    of the Terror Attack on Mount Scopus
    - 07/31/03

 

 

 
Just one year ago at exactly this moment, this was the scene of a ghastly event, a scene of broken glass, overturned tables, blood and the cries of the injured and dying.

"Desolation, devastation and destruction!"

One year has passed - the murdered have been laid to rest, and among the injured, there are those who have recovered fully, and there are those who will never return to their former selves. The blood has been washed away, the blackened walls have been repainted, students rush to classes, and young people gather at the new tables in the cafeteria, engaged in lively and friendly conversations.

Has life simply returned to the way it was before? Of course not, because of those who are no longer with us.

Because Marla Bennett and Benjamin Blutstein will never continue on their marvelous journey of discovery of their roots and traditions; 
Because David Gritz will never continue with his unique combination of philosophy, Jewish Studies and music; 
Because David Diego Ladowski will never serve society and the country as he had aspired to, and to promote the peace in which he believed despite the forces of darkness exemplified by those who murdered him; 
Because Revital Barashi will no longer share her pleasant manner with her colleagues in the corridors of the Faculty of Law; 
Because Dina Carter will never continue with her dedicated work in the Library and Janis Ruth Coulter will never continue to devote herself to the University in America.
Because we will never again see the wonderful smile that lit up the face of Levina Shapira, 
Because the intelligence and the wisdom which Daphna Spruch personified has gone and will never return.

And even those amongst us who were not here last year, or who arrived after the dreadful explosion, cannot return to being how they were before. Because we all understand that this University, which is so dear to us all, is hated by the forces of darkness, and that it was not by chance that the University was chosen as a target because we are Israeli or Jewish, but dafka because we are dedicated to openness and tolerance, because we are part of the free and enlightened world and the wicked spared no effort to strike at the University, dafka because our Campuses are oases of wisdom, of dialogue between people of different faiths and backgrounds, of different beliefs and religions.

And then, you realize that this Campus is part of the war zone in the war for the rebirth of the Jewish people in its land, part of the war zone in the war of the free world against the forces of hate, intolerance and tyranny.

The year that has passed has not been an easy one. Those who lost their dear ones have found it difficult to accept their loss; the wounded have fought to rebuild their lives again, but the emotional and physical scars will forever be with them.

The Hebrew University family gritted their teeth, and returned to the sacred work of research and teaching. We were faced with almost impossible decisions. The threats against this University, its principles and all that it represents haven't disappeared.

We have had to make painful compromises between security considerations and maintaining a free and dynamic Campus. The economic situation and the budgetary burdens have not made it any easier, but the year that has passed has proved to us all, as has happened so many times during the 78 years of the existence of the Hebrew University, that this living and growing tree, called the Hebrew University, is difficult to uproot.

Because the University's existence draws its life's breath from the never-ending struggle for truth; because it aspires to help the advancement of humanity; because it is rooted deep in the essence of our traditions while its branches stretch forth to the winds of tolerance, openness and respect for one another; because despite the forces of darkness that tried to destroy it, it has not lost its aspirations for peace.

May the memory of the nine be blessed.

 

  © 2002-2016 Gabriel H. Ladowski