Remembering a Bombing, 10 Years Later

The Sinatra Cafeteria following the bombing; photo Israel GPO.

July 31, 2002  – official statement from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Terrorist bombing at Hebrew University cafeteria

Nine people – four Israelis and five foreign nationals – were killed and 85 injured, 14 of them seriously, when a bomb exploded in the crowded Frank Sinatra cafeteria on the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus campus shortly after 13:30. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bomber left the bomb in an innocent looking bag packed with shrapnel in the cafeteria. The device was professionally prepared, possibly in one of the factories in the Nablus casbah, which the IDF has refrained from entering since Operation Defensive Shield after Passover.

Though classes were not in session, students were taking exams at the time of the blast, and the cafeteria was crowded with diners. There were also numerous students in the building registering for classes for the coming school year.

The cafeteria is also near the Rothberg International School, where about 80 pupils from the US and other Western countries had arrived to prepare for the fall semester.

Most of the injured were between the ages of 18 and 30. The explosion gutted the cafeteria.


We remember:

David (Diego) Ladowski, 29, of Jerusalem
Levina Shapira, 53, of Jerusalem
Marla Bennett, 24, of California (US)
Benjamin Blutstein, 25, of Pennsylvania (US)
Dina Carter, 37, of Jerusalem (US)
Janis Ruth Coulter, 36, of New York (US)
David Gritz, 24, of Massachusetts (US-France)
Daphna Spruch, 61, of Jerusalem died of her wounds on Aug 10.
Revital Barashi, 30, of Jerusalem died of her wounds on Aug 13.


today, from Haaretz:

Ten years later, mothers of Hebrew U. bombing victims look back

It was a brazen attack that reverberated throughout Israel and struck deep into the heart of Israel’s English-speaking community. On July 31, 2002, a bomb packed with shrapnel was placed in a bag in a crowded Hebrew University cafeteria on its Mt. Scopus campus. The explosion killed nine people – four Israelis and five foreign nationals – and injured 85. Hamas claimed responsibility.

… “I don’t think time ever heals this kind of loss,” said Dr. Katherine Baker, a Penn State University microbiologist whose son, Benjamim Blutstein, was one of the victims. “There are days I can’t get through the day without crying, there are a couple of days in a row I can do it. But it’s extremely hard.”

Blutstein and his classmate Marla Bennett were both enrolled at Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School and at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. “These were two wonderful young people, preparing for a career as teachers of Jewish studies in North America.”