IDF rescuers honored for role after AMIA Jewish Center attack

20 years ago, team helped pull survivors from the rubble after bombing killed 85 and injured hundreds

The Israeli team that went to Buenos Aires 20 years ago to help in the search for life below the debris of the attacked AMIA Jewish Center building was recognized in Israel by AMIA authorities.

Roni Kaplan, director of the IDF spokesman’s Spanish office, explained that the special rescue unit was created in 1983, and has saved lives in Mexico, Lebanon, Armenia, and Kenya, and in Buenos Aires following the 1994 attack on the AMIA building.

“Our experience in Buenos Aires was different from any other, because of the collaborative work we did together with the local Jewish community,” said rescuer Shai Burstein. “More than one hundred youths joined us. The parents of these youths brought us hot food, kosher food.”

The ceremony was held on July 4 at the Keren Hayesod building in Jerusalem.

AMIA leaders were in Israel to mark the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish center and the 20th year commemoration of the AMIA attack in 1994 that killed 85 and injured hundreds.
Ariel Cohen Sabban, AMIA treasurer, said that “we will never forget the perpetrators of the attack that killed 85 people. We will never forget that Israel helped us.”

Among the rescuers recognized were Dror Ben Ami, Nahum Frenkel, Ronen Gazit, Nati Gefen, Mir Golan, Nurit Lev. Eyal Mizraji, Nissim Nesi and Ofer Pomerantz.

AMIA and the national Jewish political umbrella group DAIA filed a joint petition last month with the Federal Administrative Court arguing that Argentina’s Congress acted unconstitutionally in voting for the memorandum of understanding.

IN May 2013 the Iranian government officially agreed to establish a “truth commission” with Argentina to jointly investigate the bombing for which Israel blames Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel, the United States and international Jewish groups have objected to the bilateral pact.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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