Dear Rabbi Ben-Chaim:

It is a sad day here in Jerusalem as another suicide bombing has taken the lives of 7 students at Hebrew University today, wounding 70 more, 9 critically.

We started the day at the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, visiting the victims of earlier suicide bombings, their families and their doctors. I
have chosen to withhold their names.

The first young man we visited is 17 years old. Several months ago, he and another man recognized a suicide bomber entering a building and put their bodies between the bomber and others. The terrorist looked at them and smiled his wicked smile and detonated the bomb. The other man did not survive. This young man was severely injured and was not expected to survive. He has no recollection of the bombing. His mother is at his side daily. We spoke to her at length in an on-camera interview.

What strikes at your heart when talking to the family members is the way in which the entire families' lives have forever been changed by cold and calculated acts of evil perpetrated upon innocent people going about their daily lives.

The second young man we visited is 14 years old. About six months ago, he and his classmates took a bus to a kibbutz to help with picking cherries at the end of the season. When they arrived, the bus parked and let them through the gate of the orchard. After their long day toiling in the sun, he and two of his friends walked out of the gate where a terrorist had planted a bomb under the ground. The bomb exploded, hurling all three boys into the air. Both of this young man's legs were shattered and he is partially paralyzed. He is undergoing intensive physical therapy but his Legs still aren't mended enough to be able to stand.

The third young man we visited is a member of the Israeli police force. He and his partner, a young woman, were at a checkpoint in the streets. They spotted a terrorist walking down the street. The tip off was the fact that he was using his cell phone upside down. Sometimes the terrorists use cell phones to detonate bombs. The officers approached this man and he shot both of them -- the young woman twice in the chest. She died there in the street. The young man wrestled the terrorist to the ground. The terrorist attempted to explode a hand grenade in the struggle, but by some miracle it did not detonate. All the while our brave young man is still wrestling with the terrorist, who puts his gun to the young man's head. By another miracle, the gun jammed and did not fire. Civilians in the street came to the aid of the young man and subdued the terrorist. He is currently in jail.

Ambassador Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn, then met with the head of the Trauma Unit at Hadassah Hospital, Dr. Avi Rivkind. This is Israel's premier trauma unit. Accordingly, they receive most of the victims of the bombings in the area. It was a moving interview, an honest human conversation with a doctor who has treated so many of these victims.

As we left the hospital and said our goodbyes to the wonderful doctors and nurses, little did we know that less than an hour later, only a few blocks away, evil was working its way into the cafeteria at Hebrew University. We were all sobered to think of what our new friends were dealing with in the aftermath of the bombing. We could not help imagining the fearful injuries of those of the 70 survivors who were being rushed through the very doors we had just left.

It is heartbreaking to think of all of those new families who today began the journey of those family members we had just met. It was very sobering, indeed.

After leaving the hospital we visited the offices of The Media Line in Jerusalem. Felice and Michael Friedman and The Media Line are our group's hosts in Israel and have made all of the plans for this trip. Theirs is a non-profit organization that assists journalists in better covering events in Israel.

At their offices they had arranged for us to meet with several groups who had stories that had not yet been covered.

The first meeting was with Avishai Kfir and Tsafrir Ronen of the Israel History Channel. They have been working with a scientist, Nahum Shahaf, on the story that gripped the world over a year ago of the death of the young Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, who was crouched behind his father and killed in the so-called "crossfire" of a "shootout" between the IDF and Palestinian forces.

The one-hour interview turned into two and we had to call a halt to it as our schedule was set for the day and we were running so far behind. The information these men have uncovered will rock the world when it comes to light in a documentary they are producing of the day of Mohammed's death. The documentation and raw footage of the day that they were able to obtain from different journalistic sources, including Palestinian television, among others, offers some startling possibilities. Among their assertions: the camera footage of the day shows artificial staging of battles and events using multiple cameras, directors and actors. Documentation and interviews show that the body of a young boy that was buried under the name of "Mohammed" was delivered to the hospital several hours before the shooting started. And a scientific reenactment of the boy's shooting shows that he and his father were both clearly out of the line of fire from the only IDF post.

They had hours of footage, interviews with those on the scene and information that will go into their documentary. If the substance of the
evidence they put forth is true, this will prove to be a shocking example of psychological warfare and deceit on the part of the Palestinians. We await the documentary in hopes that truth will be uncovered. Let the chips fall where they may!

Ambassador Keyes also met with representatives of the Center for Monitoring Peace and was shown some startling examples of current school textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority and given to their children in the classrooms with details of what these children are being taught. For example, did you know that Jews have never, throughout history, ever lived in the Middle East? I was as surprised as you are!

After a quick lunch in the offices, we joined Gil Kleiman, the spokesman for Israel's police force. He most graciously took us on a walking tour of terror locations in Jerusalem ending at the infamous Sabarro pizza parlor where so many young people were killed or injured by a suicide bomber.

Ambassador Keyes was then given a private briefing by Israeli security forces before we left in a bullet-proof SUV for the Israeli community of Efrat, Gush Etzion in the West Bank, courtesy of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the community's Chief Rabbi. We drove over the famous land bridge where so many people have been shot in their cars by snipers that the Israelis have erected barriers along the roadway shielding the bridge from the Arab community that overlooks this dangerous piece of roadway.

We were warmly greeted at a public reception in this modern community that has been painted in the press as a right-wing radical settlement. Quite the contrary, our hosts were doctors, lawyers and other members of the professional community including the high-tech industry. The landscaping was beautiful in the glow of the streetlights leading up to beautiful homes, some in the million-dollar range.

The tears flowed and the "thank yous" rang through the community center as Ambassador Keyes entered the building and was introduced by Rabbi Riskin. It was an emotional time for all as the Mayor of Efrat, Etian Golan, read a note from a friend of his stateside, who was not particularly religious, but had seen Alan Keyes is Making Sense and resumed his nightly prayers to "pray for Alan."

Ambassador Keyes then took the podium and there was not a dry eye in the house as he gave a dramatic speech on the courage and resolve of those throughout history who have faced oppression and evil only to rise above it without allowing their souls be turned to despair and evil. And he thanked the Jewish community for setting an example for the world in this regard.

Tomorrow looms brighter on the horizon as we pray for the first full day on our trip without a suicide bombing.

Until then,

Connie Hair

Keyes and Kleiman in front of Sabarro's pizza
parlor, the infamous location of the suicide bombing
killing and injuring many Israeli teens.


Keyes interviews the young Israeli policeman.


The 14-year-old boy injured by a bomb planted in the ground outside a cherry orchard.


Alan talks with the young boy's doctor.


We are not using the names of these victims.
Survivor of a suicide bomb blast several months ago.
This young man recognized a suicide bomber and placed
his body between the suicide bombers and others, along
with another man who did not survive. Both of this
young man's lungs exploded. He was not expected to
survive. He remembers nothing of the bombing.


Keyes speaks with the young man's mother.

Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn, interview the head of the Hadassah Hospital Trauma Unit, Dr. Avi Rivkind.


© 2002
All photographs are the property of Alan Keyes' Declaration Foundation and may not be used without consent.
All Rights Reserved.