Grapevine August 9, 2021: A time to remember

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Families of the victims of the suicide bombing at the now defunct Sbarro pizza parlor at Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road-King George Avenue intersection are this month commemorating the 20th anniversary of the murder, on August 9, 2001, of their loved ones who were among 15 people, including seven children and a pregnant woman, who lost their lives. Of the 130 people who were wounded, many still bear the physical and psychological scars.

Best known among the victims is teenager Malki Roth, whose parents established a memorial foundation in her name to provide support for families in which a child with mental and/or physical disabilities is being cared for at home.

Also known to the public through the interviews they have given to the media are surviving members of the Schijveschuurder family, whose mother and father, Tzira and Mordechai, and siblings Ra’aya, 14, Avraham Yitzhak, four, and Hemda, two, were killed. Two other sisters, Leah, then 11, and Chaya, then eight, were critically injured.

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Mordechai and Tzira Schijveschuurder, immigrants from Holland, were both offspring of Holocaust survivors. Tzira’s parents had been prisoners in Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt. Mordechai’s parents successfully hid from the Nazis.

Ahlam Ramimi, who orchestrated the bombing, is living happily in Jordan, where she went following her release in a prisoner swap.

OneFamiy, an organization that cares for survivors of terrorist attacks and families of victims, will be commemorating the Sbarro bombing on Thursday, August 5, at Vista, 10 Emile Botta Street, Jerusalem. Keynote speaker will be former chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.

The release in Israel last week of a new book, The Bloody Price of Freedom, by prominent Washington attorney Richard D. Heideman, coincided with the Hebrew calendar date of the Sbarro bombing, and the preface paid tribute to the memories of several people murdered by terrorists.

The first person named was Malki Roth, whose family Heideman has represented. Heideman represents American victims of terrorism and their families. Malki, who was born in Australia, and came with her parents to Israel when she was two, was the daughter of an Australian father and an American mother.

■ NOTWITHSTANDING THE spike in antisemitism in Australia, good things are also happening to give Australian Jewry cause for cheer. In what is believed to be a first, Rabbi Marcus Solomon, an Orthodox spiritual leader, has been appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

The appointment was announced last week by WA Attorney-General John Quigley, who said that Solomon “has a long-standing commitment to legal governance, substantive law, ethics and mastery of professional practice.” Quigley added: “He is not only an eminently qualified advocate and lawyer, but he has also demonstrated his commitment to public service through his roles in the education and mentoring of his fellow practitioners, membership of various boards and committees, and his advisory and honorary positions in a variety of Jewish educational institutions.”

Solomon, who is a barrister and legal educator, has broad experience in a variety of complex legal cases, and is an expert on commercial matters. He has acted both as counsel and arbitrator, and is also well known for handling pro bono cases.

There’s a distant Israel connection in that Solomon’s late father-in-law, Joe Berinson, who was also a lawyer, served as Australia’s minister for the environment in the Labor government headed by Gough Whitlam, after which he spent 10 years as attorney-general of Western Australia. Berinson’s parents were born in Safed. His father, Shulem, arrived in Australia in 1913, and his mother, Rivka (née Finkelstein), some 10 years later.

News of Australia that finds its way abroad usually relates to Sydney in New South Wales or Melbourne in Victoria, both in the Jewish and general sense. But in this instance, Western Australia has scored big-time over both.

However, New South Wales Jewry can boast an Olympic gold medalist in the person of Jessica Fox, who captured the gold in the canoe slalom. She’s a second-generation Olympic medalist. Her mother, Myriam Jerusalemi, who is her coach, won a bronze for France in 1996. Her father, Richard Fox, who was a member of the British Olympic team in 1992, just missed out on a bronze. But Jessica has canoes and kayaks in her DNA on both sides. As far as is known, though not the only member of the Jewish faith to represent Australia in the Olympic Games, Jessica Fox is the first Australian Jewess to win a gold medal.

■ IN ISRAEL, Australian expat brothers Paul and Danny Hakim, who have been involved in several social interaction movements aimed at acceptance of the other, are the key movers and shakers behind the Israel Lifesaving Federation, which they aim to turn into a national project with the full backing of Australian Ambassador Paul Griffiths, who last week hosted a reception to mark World Drowning Prevention Day and to highlight the work of ILF.

Danny Hakim, an international martial arts champion, is best known for Budo For Peace, which uses sports – primarily martial arts – as a platform for creating a shared society; promoting coexistence among the different sectors of Israeli society; integrating immigrant children; empowering women; and providing therapy for special needs children, including those stricken with cancer.

Hakim and his wife, Dana Azrieli, who heads the multifaceted Azrieli business group as well as the Azrieli Foundation, sponsored Olympic judoka Timna Nelson Levy, who has been active in Budo For Peace. The Azrieli Foundation is also among the sponsors of the ILF.

Among the people attending the reception at the Australian ambassador’s residence were Belgian Ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson, Gideon Shavit of JNF Australia, Paul Israel, the executive director of the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce, Hod Hasharon Mayor Amir Kochavi, various deputy mayors and city council members, CEOs of various NGOs, representatives of the Israel Parents Association and beach managers.

Griffiths noted that, for the first time, communities around the world came together for World Drowning Prevention Day, established by the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He als
o underscored that of the 350 kilometers of Israeli beaches, only 17 kilometers are supervised.

He expressed regret that on the previous weekend, there were six drowning-related deaths, adding that time spent at Israel’s beautiful beaches and springs “can turn fatal in an instant.”

In commending the ILF, Griffiths said that it was bringing a 100-year-old Australian tradition of lifesaving to Israel with a commitment to significantly reduce drowning-related injury and death, by teaching greater water awareness, safety and skills. He emphasized that the ILF is not trying to replace professional lifesavers, but, rather, to train and teach youngsters who can help them in an emergency situation, or who can rescue drowning people when professional lifesavers are not present.

Toward the end of the evening, some of the ILF young men and women gave a series of lifesaving demonstrations in the ambassador’s pool, and one spoke of having…

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