NEW YORK (May. 6)
A dozen friends of two of the yeshiva students murdered in Hebron Friday as well as four of the injured held a press conference yesterday to stress that their friends were not militants but “normal” young people who had gone to Israel to study and live there.
“Our purpose in convening this conference is to give flesh and bones to otherwise cold statistical facts,” declared Tuvyah Gross, national youth leader of Bnei Akiva to which all of the young people belonged. Many, including Zvi Glatt, who was one of the six killed in Hebron, had worked with Gross since he had been a local Bnei Akiva leader in Brooklyn.
“These kids were vibrant, warm, concerned, gifted typical American kids,” Gross said. He said talking about them “is our way of venting our anger, frustration and pain. And by making them more than just names in a list, we hope to personalize them and memorialize them.”
Gross said that “hopefully” the attack will demonstrate “to the American public that the PLO and their ilk threaten all of us and our way of life, here and around the world. “He added that “there can be no compromising with baby slayers and butchers of innocent, peaceful students, coming home from their Sabbath prayers.”
In addition to Glatt, who would have been 21 on June 13, the group yesterday spoke of Shmuel Marmelstein, 19, of Montreal, who was also killed, and four of the wounded, Mordechai Shevat, 21, of the Riverdale section of The Bronx; Robert Brosovsky, 21; Simha Wollman, 21, of Brooklyn, and Lisa Sherman, 20, of Queens.
Gross devoted most of the time to Glatt, who was a student at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and, like Marmelstein, was visiting friends at Kiryat Arba when the attack occurred. He said that Glatt devoted his free time to trying to instill faith in God in American youth and dreamt of eventually opening a high school in the diaspora. “Just one month ago Zvi organized a Passover service of a United Nations liaison base for both Israeli and UN soldiers,” Gross said.
One of the participants, Moshe Pack, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he received a letter from Glatt Saturday, the day he learned of his death. “Everything, truly everything which happens is for the best…,” Glatt wrote., “Everything, even death, is not just good, but very good. Even death, which seems to be evil, reveals itself as being truly good, and part of the goodness of God.”
1000 STUDENTS HOLD ‘VIGIL OF REMEMBRANCE’
In a related development, about 1000 high school and college students from seven yeshivas in the New York metropolitan area gathered today on East 65th Street and Park Avenue near the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization for a quiet “Vigil of Remembrance” for the six dead yeshiva students. The rally was held a few hundred feet from the townhouse headquartering the PLO at the request of the police. A large number of police surrounded the demonstrators and guarded the PLO offices.
The vigil was sponsored by Bnei Akiva and the Yeshiva University Student Council. The demonstrators carried placards denouncing the PLO as “murderers,” “butchers” and “barbarians.” They also carried posters with the pictures of the six victims.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Louis Bernstein, president of the Religious Zionists of American, sent a telegram to President Carter urging him to publicly condemn the murder of American citizens in Hebron and that this condemnation be carried through the United Nations.
The Emunah Women of America, at its annual convention in Fallsburg, N.Y. last weekend, adopted a resolution urging Carter to speak out in all international forums, including the UN, for the expulsion from membership or observer status of the PLO. The PLO took responsibility for the Hebron attack. In another resolution, the Emunah Women called on the Israel government to reinforce its military units on the West Bank to protect Israeli citizens living there and to take stronger measures against terrorism.