IDF rescuers honored 20 years after AMIA Jewish Center attack

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli team that went to Buenos Aires 20 years ago to help in the search for life below the debris of the attacked AMIA Jewish Center building was recognized in Israel by AMIA authorities.

Roni Kaplan, director of the IDF spokesman’s Spanish office, explained that the special rescue unit was created in 1983, saving lives in Mexico, Lebanon, Armenia, and Kenya, and in Buenos Aires following the 1994 attack on the  AMIA building.

“Our experience in Buenos Aires was different than any other, because of the collaborative work we did together with the local Jewish community,” said rescuer Shai Burstein. “More than one hundred youths joined us. The parents of these youths brought us hot food, kosher food.”

The ceremony was held on July 4 at  the Keren Hayesod building in Jerusalem.

AMIA leaders were in Israel to mark the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish center and the 20th year commemoration of the AMIA attack in 1994 that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Ariel Cohen Sabban, AMIA treasurer, said that “we will never forget the perpetrators of the attack that killed 85 people. We will never forget that Israel helped us.”

Among the rescuers recognized were Dror Ben Ami, Nahum Frenkel, Ronen Gazit, Nati Gefen,  Mir Golan, Nurit Lev. Eyal Mizraji, Nissim Nesi and Ofer Pomerantz.