'I know what it means for families to lose loved ones'

On the anniversary of the Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires, in which her mother was killed, a Jerusalem resident reflects on Hizbullah violence.

July 19, 2006 02:10
2 minute read.


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July 18 is always a hard day for Claudia Kreiman, but this year it was even harder. Not only was it the 12th anniversary of the terror attack at the Argentine Israeli Mutual Aid Association that killed Kreiman's mother and 84 others, but it came during a new bloody onslaught by Hizbullah, widely accused of being behind the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing. "It's like the story repeats itself again and again and again," said Kreiman, while sitting at a coffee shop in downtown Jerusalem. "It's hard [now] for everyone, but it happened to me. I know what it means for families who are losing their children or their parents. It's not only a bad movie we're watching on the news. I know it's something real." The parallels between the current violence and the Argentina bombing were not lost on the crowd who gathered to mark the tragedy in Buenos Aires Tuesday. A record 15,000 people were estimated to have attended the event, including top Argentinean ministers, the US ambassador and the leadership of the World Jewish Congress. Usually 10,000 people come to the annual memorial, according to Luis Grynwald, head of the rebuilt Jewish community center. "There's a difficult situation in Israel and the Jewish community in Argentina identifies very much with what's happening there," Grynwald noted, saying that the same people were responsible for the attacks in his hometown and in northern Israel. At the ceremony, Grynwald declared, "All nations must be united behind a common objective: terrorism is... a killer that must be fought and no longer tolerated in any country. We were the first; then came New York, Madrid and London." The commemoration also served as an occasion to demand that the Argentinean government do more to solve the the deadly crime, which the Jewish community feels has not been adequately investigated. Security was stepped up at the event because of its size and the high profile of some of its participants, and Grynwald said that security at all local Jewish establishments had been beefed up during this "hard week." But he stressed that no specific threats had been received and that he personally had no reason to be fearful. Kreiman, though, said that she would never feel comfortable in Argentina after what happened to her mother, who worked as a social worker at the community's job placement center. After the attack Kreiman, now 32 and a Conservative rabbi, decided to go to Israel on a one-year program. Three years later, she made aliya. "I felt safe here," she said, noting that she lived in Jerusalem during the height of the second intifada. "No one could say that it was a safer place to be and I can't explain it. It's not something rational, but there was something that made me feel safe here." She said that what's happening now doesn't make her feel afraid for her physical well-being, but it does concern her. "I feel nervous not because I'm worried something will happen to me, but because of the memories." The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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