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(E) Croatian Killed at Hebrew University
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/1/2002 | News | Unrated
(E) Croatian Killed at Hebrew University

 

Croatian Killed at Hebrew University

The following was reported by AP. One of the American citizens killed in
the Hebrew University bombing, David Gritz, is Croatian through his mother's
side. John Kraljic

Americans Die in Jerusalem Bombing
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Filed at 7:47 a.m. ET


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Marla Bennett knew that every day she stayed in Jerusalem,
the simple choice of whether to turn left or right each morning could make
the difference between life or death.

``This question may seem inconsequential, but the events of the past few
months in Israel have led me to believe that each small decision I make --
by which route to walk to school, whether or not to go out to dinner -- may
have life-threatening consequences,'' Bennett wrote in a May 10 column in a
newspaper in her hometown of San Diego.

Bennett, 24, was one of five Americans killed Wednesday when a bomb ripped
through a cafeteria at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Two Israelis were
killed and four other Americans were wounded.

Bennett had been doing joint graduate work at Pardes Institute and Hebrew
University in Judaic Studies. She was due to return home on Friday, said
family spokesman Norman Greene.

``Marla was incredibly bright, top of her class. She was extremely outgoing,
bubbling young lady, very seriously involved in investigating her Judaism.
She was interested in human beings, and finding a peaceful resolution to the
Arab-Israeli conflict,'' Greene said.

Also among the dead was Benjamin Blutstein, 25, of Susquehanna Township,
Pa., who was on a two-year study program to be a teacher of Jewish studies.
He had planned to return to Pennsylvania on Thursday.

``We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear this news,'' said Ted
Bernstein, president of the United Jewish Community of Greater Harrisburg.
``His life was taken for an inexplicable reason.''

Another victim, Janis Ruth Coulter, 36, was an assistant director of
graduate studies for the university's Rothberg International School in New
York. She had been escorting American students when the attack occurred.

``Janis Ruth was a wonderful, loving, caring person,'' said Harry King, a
family spokesman. ``We, her family, are devastated. Her death is such a
pointless thing to have happened.''

A fourth victim, David Gritz, 24, of Peru, Mass., held dual American-French
citizenship.

The son of a Croatian mother and an American father, Gritz grew up in Paris,
but spent his summers at his parents' house in the small town of Peru in the
Berkshires. Family friends said he was to begin a graduate course in Jewish
thought.

``It's a very sad thing,'' said longtime family friend Nancy Kreger. ``He
was a great kid. He wasn't even supposed to be there. His classes didn't
start until tomorrow (Thursday).''

A fifth person with Israeli and American citizenship was not identified.

Bennett was in the second year of a three-year master's program in Judaic
Studies, and had been at the university to take a final exam in her sole
Hebrew University class of the semester, Hebrew language.

Bennett had long rejected pleas from friends and family to leave the
country, spelling out her love for Israel in a column for the weekly San
Diego Jewish Press-Heritage.

``My friends and family in San Diego are right when they call and ask me to
come home -- it is dangerous here,'' she wrote. ``I appreciate their
concern. But there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be right now.

``I have a front-row seat for the history of the Jewish people. I am a part
of the struggle for Israel's survival. Paying for my groceries is the same
as contributing money to my favorite cause.''

The explosion occurred at the university's Mount Scopus campus, a Jewish
enclave surrounded by Palestinian neighborhoods in the eastern part of the
city. The university said 23,000 students attend the school, about 5,000 of
them Arabs and 1,500 from abroad.

Spencer Dew, 26, an American student from Owensboro, Ky., was lightly
wounded by flying glass. He said he had worried about such attacks in
Israel, ``but it didn't deter me from coming. I assume I'll come back next
year.''

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