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Bomb brings anxiety home



Published: Fri, August 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former student said she hates the idea that a place of peace and hope has been hit by hatred and destruction.

By SHERRI L. SHAULIS

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Chaya Kessler was relieved when she talked to her niece and found she already was on her way home from school.

After watching the news Wednesday, she was worried that her brother's daughter could have been one of the students injured in the bombing at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

"I just pray and worry every time I see the news," the Youngstown woman said. "All of my family is still there, and I always worry, especially when you see them replay the horrible things over and over again on the news here."

Attended Hebrew University

Kessler, who was reared in Israel and attended Hebrew University in the 1970s, said it is difficult for her to come to grips with the fact that such a beautiful campus has turned into a such a violent site.

The militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the cafeteria blast at the school's Mount Scopus campus.

The group said the bombing was revenge for an Israeli attack last week in Gaza. The bomb was detonated by a cell phone and killed seven people, five of them Americans.

That Israeli attack killed the leader of Hamas' military wing and 14 others, including women and nine children.

"I do not want to speak out against the Palestinians, but whoever sent these people has no regard for life," Kessler said. "They picked a place and a time when they knew there would be the most people and there would be the most damage.

"It is such a shame that this university, which is supposed to be a place of peace and hope, where you should just be starting out your real life, has become a place of hatred and mistrust."

Kessler said after seeing the news about the bombing, she was reminded of the times she spent in that same cafeteria.

"I can see it in my mind, I have been there so many times," she said. "It was so long ago, it almost seems like a different lifetime ago."

Will not leave

Despite her concerns, though, Kessler said she knows her family will not consider moving from their homeland.

"That is their home, their language and their culture," she said.

Kessler herself returned just last week from a 10-day visit, and said she can understand their reluctance, but still worries.

"You get into a rhythm of life in that culture when you are there," she said. "They will never leave. But when you see something like this happen, it is such a small country that everyone is affected by it somehow.

"These people who are doing this need to be taught a lesson that you cannot go into places of hope and learning and bring destruction and hatred. I don't know how they can learn that, but they must."

slshaulis@vindy.com




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