Argentina moves to designate memorial day for Israeli embassy attack
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Argentina moves to designate memorial day for Israeli embassy attack

Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly backs law to have schools nationwide mark deadly suicide bombing, including noting Iran’s involvement

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Firemen and rescue workers walk through the debris of Israel's Embassy after a terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 17, 1992. (AP Photo/Don Rypka)
Firemen and rescue workers walk through the debris of Israel's Embassy after a terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 17, 1992. (AP Photo/Don Rypka)

The lower house of Argentina’s parliament last week overwhelmingly voted in favor of creating a national day to commemorate the deadly 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.

In a November 8 vote, 186 MPs supported the proposal, with one no vote and one abstention.

If confirmed by the Senate, March 17 will annually be marked as “Day of Memory and Solidarity with the victims of the terror attack on the Israeli embassy.” Schools nationwide would be instructed to mark the event and discuss the implications of international terrorism.

Included in these educational activities would be noting that Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah were responsible for it, Israeli diplomats in Buenos Aires said in a cable to Jerusalem headquarters.

Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem in Thursday tweeted that he was “encouraged” by the vote, saying it showed the Argentine government’s “true commitment to the fight against terrorism.

According to Israeli diplomats stationed in Argentina, the bill has a good chance of getting the required simple majority in the Senate, though a vote is likely to be held only in May 2018.

On March 17, 1992, an Iranian-sponsored suicide bomber blew himself up at the five-story embassy building, killing 29 people and wounding 242, in what remains the deadliest attack on an Israeli diplomatic mission.

On the 25th anniversary of the bombing in March, a senior delegation of Israeli officials, headed by Rotem, was hosted by the Chamber of Deputies in Buenos Aires.

Prior to the ceremony, Argentine President Mauricio Macri met for the first time with the Israeli survivors and relatives of victims of the attack at his official residence.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara take part at a ceremony at the site of the 1992 attack at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 11, 2017 (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

In September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid a wreath at the site of the bombing, at the corner of Arroyo and Suipacha streets. At a memorial ceremony attended by survivors, he thanked Macri for Argentina’s “commitment to fighting terrorism, fighting anti-Semitism, remembering the lessons of the past and doing everything in its power to prevent a recurrence of such tragedies.”

The plaque PM Netanyahu unveiled at the former site of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, September 11, 2017 (Raphael Ahren/TOI)
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