Buenos Aires - Twenty Years Later, Jewish Community Still Cries for Argentina
Buenos Aires - A single candle is lit, memorializing the lives lost 20 years ago in the bombing of the Israeli Consulate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, stands silently beside the flame.
“Their memory unites us in our grief and in our determination to never forget,” says Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Israel’s Consul General in New York, amid a crowd of both Israelis and Americans at a memorial Monday night in New York City. “We are inspired. Their legacy inspires our resistance.”
On March 17, 1992, the Israeli embassy in Argentina’s capital was destroyed by an 800-pound car bomb. Twenty-nine were killed, 242 were injured. The Islamic Jihad Organization—linked to both Iran and Hezbollah—perpetrated the attack.
“Terrorism knows no boundaries,” says Aharoni. “Israel is determined to continue its diplomatic outreach and enhance understanding… Our mission is to maintain good relations, to build bridges between nations.”
Peace, Aharoni says, will come only when terrorists and Israel’s enemies “love themselves more than they hate us.”
“At a time when even the signs of Jewish identity can put one in danger, the unique Israeli spirit is the ultimate example of how the soul can survey heal and blossom again… Every Israeli innovation proves that our presence among the nations is vital,” he says.
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Biran was there that day in Buenos Aires. As he spoke of colleagues lost—four Israeli diplomats, 25 five others—his sorrow was still strong 20 years later, evidenced by the tears his eyes could not contain.
“After 20 years, we have not forgotten,” he says.
Biran was at a meeting outside of the Israeli embassy building on the day of the attack. Moments after the explosion, he returned to the site and began clawing through the glass and broken concrete in a determined search to find his wife. Twelve hours later, he found her in a local hospital, injured but alive.
“I realized her survival was a miracle,” he says.
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