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Bennett, Barlev visit as Tel Aviv bar hit in deadly terror attack reopens

Just 4 days after attack, 100 people attend reopening filled with music and drink as patrons vow terror won’t win; PM: ‘We will not let them, our enemies, stop our lives’

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends the reopening of Tel Aviv's Ilka bar days after it was hit in a terror attack, on April 11, 2022 (Courtesy)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends the reopening of Tel Aviv's Ilka bar days after it was hit in a terror attack, on April 11, 2022 (Courtesy)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Internal Security Minister Omer Balev were among dozens of people who came to Tel Aviv’s Ilka bar as it reopened on Monday, just four nights after a terrorist opened fire on the site, killing 3 and wounding 13.

“I came here tonight to give strength to the bar’s owners and local residents. A really difficult event happened here, people were murdered here, people were hurt here, good people,” Benett said as he spoke with bar patrons a little before midnight on Monday night.

“We will not let them, our enemies, stop our lives. We will not let them defeat us. We are returning to life and at the same time we are fighting in their places, in their bases, their resources, and we will, with God’s help, win,” Bennett said, telling people at the bar that he “loved them very, very much.”

During his time at the bar, the prime minister lit candles in memory of Tomer Morad, Eytam Magini and Barak Lufan who were shot and killed while sitting at the bar in the city’s central Dizengoff Street on Thursday night.

He also spoke with members of the crowd and the bar’s owners and sat for moment with a man who told him that he had been injured in the last attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street, which took place in 2016 about 200 meters (yards) down the road.

More than 100 people crammed into Ilka, with the crowd overflowing the bar’s normal sidewalk presence.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lights a memorial candle as he attends the reopening of Tel Aviv’s Ilka bar days after it was hit in a terror attack, on April 11, 2022 (Courtesy)

With music pumping and drinks flowing it was hard to comprehend that the site had been a scene of carnage and destruction just four days ago.

Visitors echoed Bennett’s message that terror must not stop life from going on.

“We came here tonight to show support,” said Hani, a Druze high-tech worker in his 20s who came to Ilka with friends.

“If we are afraid, our situation will not be better. We have to continue to live,” Gilad Harel, 22, told the Ynet news site. “This phenomenon where we return to our daily routines is healthy because we have to return to normal and not let (terror) win.”

“However, we have to remember those who were murdered,” he said.

Police and rescue workers at the scene of a terror attack on Dizengoff street, central Tel Aviv, April 7, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

Also visiting the bar was police minister Barlev.

“Alongside the terrible pain and loss of life — this evening — in a pub filled with life we see our great strength, our gaze toward the future, the knowledge that even if they hurt us we will not break,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to live, to flourish, and to blossom. We will win.”

ToI Staff contributed to this report

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