Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after Eilat attack 311.
(photo credit: GPO / Avi Ohayon)
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told more than 100 people gathered to
remember the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Sunday afternoon that “no
one can understand our pain as Israel can,” and praised Israel for showing
Americans how to deal with the threat of daily terror.
“As we watched
smoke rise higher, our sense of security was punctured as the planes struck the
towers, and we’ll never be able to go back to the way things were,” said Shapiro
to the gathering, which included politicians, families of some of the five
Israeli victims, American volunteers and representatives from Israel’s fire and
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Tragedy and faith
My Word: 9/11 - Then and now, here and there
“Israelis shared our mourning and Israelis understood
on a deeper level. Citizens who have mourned too many losses know how easy it is
for terrorism to overturn the way of life... But we must go on living our lives
and Israelis have shown us how to live and survive,” he said.
official memorial took place at the 9/11 Living Memorial, which is tucked away
in the Jerusalem Forest. The memorial affords a panoramic view of the Jerusalem
hills, though some complain of the difficulty in reaching the memorial along
narrow, winding forest roads twenty minutes outside the city.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu marked the anniversary by attending a photo exhibit
of 9/11, and also stressed the ongoing threat of radical Islamic terrorism at
the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. Islamic terrorists “seek to make an
historic change, an historic regression, through the use of violence that knows
no borders,” he said.
The Israeli monument to the 9/11 terror attacks is
the largest memorial outside of the US, and is designed as a billowing flag that
turns into an eternal flame, etched with the names of the victims, including
five Israelis who were killed, Alona Avraham, Daniel Mark Lewin, Hagai Shefi,
Leon Lebor, and Shai Levinhar. The monument was dedicated two years ago
and was designed by Israeli artist Eliezer Weishoff.
Minister Danny Ayalon pledged Israel would support America “as you defend the
core values of our civilization and pursue, in righteous anger, those who would
destroy our lives and our societies.” He also praised American officials for
their help in resolving the crisis with the six security guards trapped in the
Cairo embassy building while an angry mob swarmed outside over the
The memorial event was organized by the Jewish National Fund and
the Jerusalem Municipality. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat recalled how he was
across the river from midtown Manhattan at a meeting while the terror unfolded
on a cloudless day ten years ago.
“I saw the shock of the people around
me as we watched people dancing for joy in Gaza, and I knew this was the day
that Islamic terrorism was no longer exclusively an Israeli problem,” he said.
He also praised Jerusalem native Daniel Mark Lewin, a top businessman based in
Massachusetts who served in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and was on Flight 11.
Lewin was killed before the plane hit the North Tower, most likely trying to
stop the terrorists from hijacking the plane, and could be considered the first
victim of 9/11, said Barkat.
“The pain doesn’t leave,” Bessie Lebor,
mother of Leon Lebor, told The Jerusalem Post
after the ceremony. “I’m thankful
he was found and brought here to be buried in Israel, so that we have somewhere
to go,” she said. Lebor, who clutched a photo of her son during the ceremony,
added that the toughest part of healing from the loss was the day-to-day process
of learning to live without her son.
President Shimon Peres also sent a
message to US President Barack Obama expressing the solidarity of the people of
Israel with the American people.
September 11 also served as a milestone
in the collective war against terrorism headed by the United States, “with the
aim of building a better and safer world for our children and
Peres recalled that in the aftermath of September 11,
America waged an uncompromising war on terror, culminating in the death of Osama
bin Laden “and freeing the world of this scourge that threatened humanity,
without losing sight of the freedom and the rights of Man.”
America as a nation that has strived to promote the well-being of humanity
without seeking to dominate others.
“We are proud to be close friends and
allies with the USA,” he wrote. “The people of Israel have shared in the joys of
your nation and cried with you a decade ago on the day America was attacked. And
today, we again bow our heads as America mourns its loss.”