A Decade Later, Israelis Reflect on Deadly Jerusalem Suicide Bombing

This year Shushan Purim, the observance of the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem, coincides with the 10th anniversary of the terrorist bombing at Moment Cafe in Jerusalem which killed 11 Israelis and wounded 54. Though Purim is one of the most festive holidays on the Jewish calendar, for many Jerusalemites, the holiday will never be the same:


For them, it is a day, a week, and a new month that coincides with some of the most brutal terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel in recent memory.

“It’s nothing to get excited about anymore,” says Marlin Butchins of Durban, South Africa, whose mother and sister were among the 12 civilians and one Israeli soldier murdered on Purim eve in 1996, when a suicide bomber detonated a 20-kilogram nail bomb outside Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Butchins’ sister had been shopping for a wedding dress for her daughter.

“All the joy of Purim is gone,” she says.

It’s something we’ve come to terms with,” says Butchins’ husband, Larry. “What is most difficult is the fact that my wife’s sister would now be a grandmother to seven grandchildren, and my mother-in-law would have 10 great-grandchildren.”

This year, Shushan Purim – the observance of Purim in Jerusalem – coincides with the 10th anniversary of the terrorist bombing at Moment Cafe in Jerusalem. Yishai Sompolinsky, the son of a New York City native, was only 17 when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive inside the cafe, killing 11 Israelis and wounding 54. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Sompolinsky, an off-duty volunteer medic who was in the neighborhood at the time, was forced to improvise, using his religious fringes as a tourniquet to stabilize a 20-year-old woman whose femoral artery in her thigh had been severed. Sompolinsky was later credited with saving her life and her leg.

“You have to develop nerves of steel. Otherwise, there’s no other way,” says Sompolinsky.

Join the discussion:

What are your thoughts?

First Name:
Last Name: (Remains Private)
Email Address: (Remains Private)
Read our Terms of Agreement