Spring 2003


American Society Sponsors Benefit Recital for Haifa Bus Victims


The American Society University of Haifa dedicated a piano recital that it sponsored on May 1 to the recovery of the injured and to the memory of those killed in a Haifa bus bombing.  The tragic incident took place the first week of March.  Irena Friedland, a talented chamber musician from the Ukraine who came with the large wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union in 1991 and now teaches in the University’s Dept. of Music, performed.  Among the pieces she played was “Memories,” composed in 2000 by the department’s chairman, Oded Zehavi.

Three University of Haifa students were seriously injured, two employees were killed, and a rescue attempt was made by a professor on the scene of the bombing not far from the University of a public bus whose final destination was the University’s campus.  The tragic incident took place in the first week of March.  Several days later, the Student Union, under the banner, “They will not stop us from studying,” organized a convocation at the site.

        Prof. Arnon Soffer had just started his car after buying a loaf of bread when he heard the blast.  Realizing what had happened, he jumped out and halted oncoming traffic and pedestrians.  He then ran to bus and helped carry out one of the victims, who as he later learned worked as a guard at the University.  He thought the man was alive at the time.  Soffer, who is deputy director of the University’s National Security Studies Center , went back in the charred vehicle and carried out another victim who looked like an older woman because of the ash covering her face and hair.  It turned out to be a 20-year-old girl, who died of her wounds a week later. 

        Soffer said that the enormity of the crime did not sink in while he was attempting to rescue passengers, only the next day.  Otherwise, he admitted, he might not have been able to function as he did amidst the carnage. 

        The two employees killed were Mark Takatsch, who had immigrated 13 years ago; and Anatole Broyokov, 19, a Christian who was employed on the University’s janitorial staff.

        The injured students represented in a sense a microcosm of the University’s student body, as the bomb spared neither Jew nor Arab, neither new immigrant nor native born:  Guy Shetreet, who is studying philosophy and political science; Salim Zaydeen, Middle East history and sociology; and Yelena Shetzigrin, art history and interdisciplinary studies.  All three are pursuing their Bachelor’s degree.  The University is providing full tutorial help, assistance with financial problems resulting from the attack, and psychological counseling.


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