Eleven years have passed since Islamic Jihad terrorists attacked the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa. A suicide bomber exploded herself, indiscriminately killing Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.
On October 4, 2003, two days before Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the Jewish calendar – several families gathered at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa for lunch. The restaurant was regularly described as the symbol of diversity in the metropolitan city of Haifa because Jewish and Arab Israeli customers frequently sat and dined together.
The day took a drastic turn as an Islamic Jihad terrorist armed with an explosive belt entered the restaurant and detonated the device. Twenty-one people were killed, including 3 children and a baby, and four Arab restaurant employees. Dozens of Jewish and Arab Israeli civilians were injured in the explosion.
The Zer-Aviv family from Kibbutz Yagur was devastated. The grandmother Beruriah, her son Bazalel, his wife Keren and their two children, Liran and Noya, ages 4 and 1 respectively, were all killed. Admiral Ze’ev Almog also died in the explosion along with several members of his family. His wife Ruth, their son Moshe, and their grandchildren Assaf, 11, and Tomer, 9.
In response to the suicide attack, the IDF (Zahal) launched an aerial operation in Syrian territory. The operation targeted a training camp used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad which contained an arms factory and bombs used against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
During an operation in Jenin on November 7, 2003, Israeli forces arrested Amjad Abeidi, the Islamic Jihad militant who planned the attack and other suicide bombings.
As we break our Yom Kippur fast, we keep the victims of this attack and all other terrorist attacks against the Israeli population in our memory.