Hany Baransi is the proprietor of a Mideast type restaurant he named Nazareth, located in a suburb of Columbus City, Ohio. Hany, a very much an American, a Christian, born in Haifa, Israel, arrived to the USA when he was 18-year-old. Hany considers himself to be an American-Israeli-Christian-Arab. When speaking about Israel he often uses the phrase “my country Israel.”
Nazareth restaurant entrance
Nazareth restaurant entrance
Hany is a cordial, easy going, somewhat serious handsome man. I visited with him in his hometown and we set down to talk about what happened to him, his restaurant, and how he is coping with life nowadays.
Hany and me at his Nazareth restaurant
Hany and me at his Nazareth restaurant
Hany starts: on Thursday, February 11th, 2016, at 6:00pm, a man, later to be known as Mohamed Barry, entered the Nazareth restaurant and asked about the owner, where he is and where he is from. One waitress told Barry that the owner is from Israel, the food they serve is Middle Eastern and that the owner was not on the premises at that time. Barry left to only return half an hour later holding a machete in his hands. He looked around and started attacking the people dining in the restaurant.
Four people got hurt before one of the employees grabbed a baseball bat and one of the customers got hold of a chair and both attacked the assailant who ran outside the restaurant and got into a car that one person registered its license plate number. At the same time the police were called in and they got hold of Barry in a short distance from the restaurant. The policemen ordered the assailant to get out of the car and he did with the machete in hand ready to attack. He charged toward the policemen, yelling the standard Moslem phrase “Allahhu Akbar.” First the police Taser Barry unsuccessfully so they shot him dead.
Who was Mohamed Barry?
Mohamed Barry was not seen before in the neighborhood, never ate at the Nazareth restaurant and has been in Columbus for three months. What is so alarming is that he was from Guinea, Africa, and a nomad who was staying illegally in the USA and on the FBI list for four years for extreme Islamic views.
Barry is dead but we can assume that the only reason he attacked patrons of the Nazareth restaurant is because he saw a small blue and white flag of the State of Israel on display on one counter. We can further assume that the flag triggered his embedded Islamic hate for Jews and Israel.
When it all happened, Hany, out on an errand, was called to return to the restaurant at once. For the first few days he was too busy taking care of his staff and customers. He was too busy to take a moment to reflect on what has happened.
The FBI and the police investigation of the terror case started immediately and ended at about 3:00am the following day. The restaurant was a mess, blood everywhere, all the food had to be thrown away and Hany painfully says, no one came to help him. He was on his own, totally confused as to why his restaurant became an Islamic terror target. After all he is a Christian, not involved in politics and the name of the restaurant is after a town in Israel, mostly settled by Israeli Moslems and Christians.
That Friday, Hany had to close the restaurant, which he owned for 27 years. In those 27 years Hany never, even for one day, closed his dear eatery. He reopened on the new week Monday and Tuesday with a skeleton buffet menu so customers can come to show solidarity and they did, the line was around the block.
By Wednesday, when Hany did not hear from any government officials he became furious. To his knowledge, when the Columbus’ mayor delivered his state of the city speech two weeks later he did not as much as mention the terror attack on his restaurant. That was painful to endure. The government took no responsibility for its ineptness to protect its citizens. Hany was facing the responsibility, at no fault of his, all alone. He had to pay for all charges that were piling up, huge cost for a small business owner. No one came forward to share in the responsibility, not the legal, financial, humane or out of decency, that a nomad, illegal, Moslem terrorist unleashed a terror act on totally innocent people.
The Awakening and Reflection
First thing was anger. After all, Hany left the Middle East where Islamic terror is mainstream to live in tranquil Columbus, Ohio, and there, in his sanctuary, the Islamic terror reached him.
Hany had to now deal with a subject he never in his wildest dream dreamt about. He resents how the USA authorities mishandle Islamic terror cases and how they treat Islamic terror victims, which now he became one of them. “To me it seems that the government is pro terrorists and they deny the act of terror so in fact they promote terror; they help the terrorists win by destroying the victims,” Hany exclaims bitterly.
When Islamo-terror so often happens in Israel for Hany it was news from far away, but no more. Hany now knows that it is his duty to be active in defending Israel that has been struggling, for decades and almost daily with the same terror he has been through. He is going to be active in spreading the truth about Israel and the Middle East in general.
Hany is a proud expat. When the news came out, among the first to reach out to him was Israel ambassador to the USA Ron Dermer. Mr. Dermer invited Hany to the embassy in Washington and gave him a large flag of Israel, now proudly on display in the restaurant’s window next to the American flag. On behalf of the government of Israel Dermer offered Hany moral support. After all Hany was born in Israel and now more than ever Israel was deep in his heart. Israel and USA flags in the Nazareth restaurant window Plaque from a supportive person
Then came AIPAC, The Israel Project, several synagogues, Jewish community centers, churches, Israelis and American citizens alike, from all over the country, all reached out to Hany in support and encouragement. I can include myself in that list.
Not one Arab or Moslem organization, or individual reached out to show the same empathy and sympathy.
In between all the craziness and confusion Hany took a long overdue trip to Israel to catch up on visiting family and friends. That trip only strengthened his support for the country which he is now actively pursuing.
What is Taking Place Now?
At first Hany thought he is heading for bankruptcy but he managed to hold strong and above the stormy waters. The Nazareth restaurant is back to almost normal operation with slightly leaner menu. “It will take me a year before I am fully recover,” Hany makes a foreseeing statement. To say he is not still worried is an understatement. To bring people together to heal, to share good food, culture and even some politics, Hany plans to offer once a week an Arabian-Israeli night with belly dancing performance. You would like to perform in such night, just make the call: (614) 899-1177.
Hany is now committed to do whatever he can to educate people on the subject of Islamo-terror and the people who perpetrate it and how a civilized society must face and respond to it.
Hany Baransi, one other person, who, through a misfortune, was woken up to see our world’s present reality and act upon it.
Mohamed Barry wanted and tried to kill an Israeli at heart and an Israeli soldier was born out of it.