Haifa memorial to terror victims stolen

Police suspect scrap metal scavengers who sell bronze on black market.

terror memorial 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
terror memorial 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Thieves broke into the Hanna Szenes Ort School in Haifa overnight Sunday and stole a memorial board made of metal that served as a monument commemorating four students who were killed three years ago in a suicide bus bombing. Workers who arrived at the school Monday morning discovered the memorial board was missing and contacted the Haifa Police, which immediately launched an investigation. There has been an unprecedented wave of the theft of metal for sale as scrap recently. A few weeks ago thieves pried loose the bronze names of 557 soldiers etched on the wall of memorial for the fallen of the Logistics Corps at Hadid, just north of Latrun. Police reportedly said the desecration was done by scrap metal scavengers who sell the bronze lettering by weight. There have been a number of other desecrations reported at various military memorials, where bronze lettering and plaques have disappeared, as well as memorials to victims of car accidents. Four names were etched on the memorial, belonging to the four students who were killed in the number 37 bus bombing three years ago. The inscription bore the names of Assaf Tzur, Tom Hershko, Moran Shoshan and Meital Katav. "It's hard to find the right words to describe it," said Rivka Schab, the school's principal. "It's shock at this inhumane act of vandalism." Schab said that when she arrived at the school on Monday morning, the memorial plaque was gone. Schab said that the plaque was built a year and a half ago, on the one-year anniversary of the attack, and was designed by one of the teachers who had taught some of the terror victims. "We did it in order to preserve their memory, and for the past year and a half it was a place that people walked by with a sense of respect, or sadness. Someone, for reasons that are not yet clear, pulled off the plaque, and it's very sad to see it missing." Schab said she preferred to think that the desecration of the memorial was an act of individuals, and not indicative of wider change in Israel in terms of attitudes towards memorial sites of terror and war victims. She also said that the students reacted in shock and frustrations when they saw what happened, even though they did not personally know the victims of the attack. "Right now, we are hoping the police finds whoever did it," Schab said. "Later on, in cooperation with the parents, we will make sure to replace it. It was created to commemorate the deaths of those who perished in the attack, and we will continue to do so."
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