JERUSALEM (Sep. 12)
In statements, ceremonies and music, Israel expressed its solidarity with the United States on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
In a message to President Bush, Israeli President Moshe Katsav said the people of Israel stand by the American people. Katsav also said that for the past decade, the world ignored warning signs of such attacks.
In New York, meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told a Jewish communal Sept. 11 remembrance that Israel stands alongside “a great nation trying to save humankind” from terrorism.
“Let’s pray together, let’s fight together and let’s win together,” Peres said.
At an official ceremony Wednesday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the events of Sept. 11 showed there is no difference among those who engage in terrorism.
“The free world has gradually come to the realization and understanding that there is no such thing as ‘good terror’ and ‘bad terror’ and that terrorism knows no geographical boundaries,” Sharon said. “Bin Laden’s suicide terror, the terror of Hamas, Tanzim and Hezbollah, the terrorism engineered by the Palestinian Authority, Saddam Hussein’s involvement in and support for Palestinian terrorism, and the terrorist networks directed by Iran, are all inseparable components of that same axis of evil which threatens peace and stability everywhere in the world.”
Sharon also said that despite the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks, the terrorists failed to destroy the spirit of freedom.
“While the attack did succeed in destroying buildings and lives, and in causing agony, grief and profound shock to millions of people, it failed to extinguish the spirit of freedom and the eternal flame of the Torch of Liberty — that spirit which beats in the hearts of all New Yorkers and indeed all Americans, and the spirit which was then and is now shared by all freedom-loving people,” he said.
Peres, who attended a Sept. 11 ceremony at the Park East Synagogue, which drew at least 700 people, said Israelis were shocked by last year’s attacks on America as they watched the events unfold.
He recalled a prayer in describing the Israeli mood: “On the depth of our existence, I call to you my Lord.”
But Peres said a “new America” arose from the ashes of Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Flight 93 crash site, a nation with “unmatchable dignity.”
This reinvigorated America commands a campaign against terror, with Israel its “loyal and reliable” foot soldier, he said.
Israel and the United States confront “fanatics” who are not in the service of the Lord, but believe they are “the Lord’s replacement, and will decide who shall live and who shall die.
“We are fighting for the same thing, for the same purpose,” he said.
Israel and the United States will win this conflict, he said, and their victory “will be a triumph for humanity.”
The New York event was organized by the Metropolitan Coucil on Jewish Poverty, which offered crisis counseling, cash, food and housing to lower Manhattan victims of Sept. 11; Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, which provided counseling in the months after the attacks, the Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance Service, which aided attack victims at Ground Zero; the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and the UJA- Federation of New York.
At the Israeli event, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, thanked Israel for its support of the United States. He said Israel and America are fighting the same war against terrorism with the shared goal of protecting the innocent.
Relatives of Israelis killed in the attacks also attended the ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Efrat Avraham, whose sister Alona was on the flight that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, said it is difficult to believe that a year has passed.
Avraham said the televised images of a year ago were part of her personal grief as well as an international tragedy.
“It is a sad moment, but we have to move on,” she said.
Events marking the anniversary of the attacks included a memorial ceremony at the Israel Museum, and academic seminars at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Institute.
Earlier Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Museum, there was a performance of Mozart’s Requiem.
It was one of a series of memorial concerts being held around the world, each scheduled to begin at 8:46 a.m. local time — when the first plane struck the World Trade Center.