Jewish Rage over Bus Attack Spurs Violent Attacks on Arabs
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Jewish Rage over Bus Attack Spurs Violent Attacks on Arabs

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Jewish rage against Arabs flared into violence over the weekend, as 12 of the 14 passengers killed in the Arab-caused Egged bus disaster Thursday were identified.

They range in age from 12 to 74 and include two Canadian tourists. Seven Americans were reported injured, but not all of their names are yet known.

Anger at the outrage was universal. But reprisals were primarily the work of roving gangs of right-wing Jewish youths, who attacked at random Israeli Arabs or Palestinians from the administered territories, at least one of whom was killed.

Israeli politicians, particularly those representing dovish viewpoints, were also targeted.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres, leader of the center-left Labor Party, narrowly escaped physical assault Friday, when he attended the funeral of one of the bus victims.

A cursing mob tried to break through a cordon of security guards and, failing that, stoned his car as he beat a hasty departure.


Right-wing youths also stoned the Jerusalem home of Dedi Zucker, a Knesset member of the left-wing Citizens Rights Movement, who has spoken out for Arab civil rights.

Little information has been released about the Arab passenger who grabbed and twisted the wheel of the packed Tel Aviv-to-Jerusalem bus and sent it careening hundreds of feet down a rocky hillside, where it burst into flames.

The attacker, one of 27 passengers injured, was identified as Abdul Rahadi Rafad Agam, 25, a resident of the Nuseirat refugee district in Gaza.

He was transferred over the weekend from Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Kerem to a prison hospital, where the Jerusalem Magistrates Court has ordered him held in custody.

He reportedly is now cooperating with his interrogators and has told them he acted alone, not on behalf of any Palestinian terrorist group. Initial reports said he was a member of the Islamic fundamentalist movement Hamas.

Police say the attacker did not shout “Allah akhbar” (God is mighty), as widely reported, but rather the name of a friend reportedly wounded by Israeli soldiers.

He is said to have traveled the bus route from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem several times recently, to check out where best to carry out his attack.

Most of the bus victims have been buried. The youngest was Kinneret Cohen, 12 of Jerusalem, who had been on a shopping trip to Tel Aviv for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah celebration.

The Canadians who died were Fern Rykiss, 17, of Winnipeg and Dr. Sheldon Halpenny, 33, a dentist from Vancouver.

Others who died were Fabian Reznik, 25, who emigrated from Argentina four years ago, and Esther Naim, 44, and her husband, Yitzhak, 47, from Holon.

Shimon Dahan, 27, a reserve soldier from Herzliya, was killed, as were Mordechai Rosenberg, 50, from Sha’arei Tikva; Shaul Hai-Tsur, 21, a soldier from Netanya who was to be demobilized Sunday; Shlomo Atzmon, 60, from Lod; and Ya’acov Shapira, 74, from Jerusalem, probably the oldest victim.


Another victim, Miriam Zarafi, 40, of Jerusalem, is survived by her husband, a personal acquaintance of Peres, and three children, 6, 15 and 17 years old.

Zarafi was employed as a secretary at the Housing Ministry. It was at her funeral Friday that Peres, representing the government, encountered angry mourners who beat on his car shouting “Peres go home” and threw stones as he was hustled away by police.

Among the wounded were four identified as Americans: Eliezra Ben-Yehuda Kassutto, 52, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Fella Feingrish; Rita Levine, 39; and Sylvia Martinez. The nationality of another injured passenger, Mel Feingrish, was not immediately available.

Kassutto, who is the granddaughter of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the scholar who revived modern Hebrew, was on her way to watch her daughter, Sigall, perform in the women’s gymnastic competition of the Maccabiah.

At the Maccabiah, the international Jewish sports competition, a minute of silence was observed before the start of events Friday. During the day, drivers all over the country kept their headlights on as a sign of mourning.

Aspirations for coexistence between Jews and Arabs are receding as extremists on both sides become more vocal and more active.

Over the weekend, Arab sunbathers on the beach at Caesarea were stoned and beaten by Jewish gangs. Bystanders reportedly made no effort to intervene and, in fact, encouraged the assailants.

Jamal Nasser, an Arab from Gaza, was killed when a fist-sized rock was thrown into his car from a passing car believed to have been driven by a Jew.

The incident occurred near Moshav Shibolim in the Negev. Nasser died at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Four passengers in his car were slightly injured when it overturned.

Other Arabs were stoned by Jews in Jerusalem. Near Ashkelon, an Arab driving a car was seriously injured by stones. His car was set on fire by a mob, after the driver was taken away in an ambulance.

Many observers fear that the continuing intifada and Jewish reprisals could create two political entities inside Israel and the administered territories, each tending to withdraw into itself.

Already there is a tendency on the part of Jews to avoid non-essential trips through Arab areas, including the Old City and rest of East Jerusalem.

On the Arab side, there are more defiant displays of the outlawed Palestinian flag and residents of the territories are paying greater heed to calls for general strikes and the withdrawal of Arab labor from Israel.

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