A week after a memorial to victims of a suicide bombing was found vandalized, members of the Yale Friends of Israel held a vigil on Cross Campus Monday, remembering the dead and injured Israelis from another suicide bombing that took place over the weekend.
About 50 students held candles and sang hymns in front of a memorial of the attack. Four men were killed, including the Palestinian suicide bomber, and about 20 were injured Sunday, at a gas station in the West Bank.
The vigil came on the heels of several incidents of vandalization targeted at YFI activities, which led YFI members to express concern about anti-Israeli sentiment on campus. The memorial erected after a similar vigil last Tuesday for victims of a car bombing in Israel was found strewn across Cross Campus. Earlier, the words “Zionism is Racism” were written across one of the YFI’s anti-divestment posters, which called for Israel to be recognized as an independent state.
Two Yale police officers were on hand throughout the rally Monday but declined to comment on whether they were assigned to monitor the vigil.
YFI members at the vigil left a memorial to the victims that included brief eulogies for the three Israeli men killed and large pictures of them. It also included pictures of the bombing and newspaper accounts of the incident.
During the vigil, the organizers alternated between reciting passages from the Hebrew Bible and reading the eulogies and accounts of the bombing. Robert Spiro ’06, an organizer of the vigil, said the passages were chosen because they are traditional Jewish passages for mourning the dead and praying for the injured.
Spiro said he could not understand why anyone would deface a monument commemorating innocent people. However, the YFI is taking measures to ensure that vandals do not damage the new memorial.
“As a precaution, we’re taking [the memorial] down at midnight and putting it back up tomorrow morning,” said Michael Marco, the other organizer of the rally. “We would like to have kept it up all night, but in light of recent events, it doesn’t seem like a prudent thing to do.”
“These types of occasions are unfortunately all too common in Jewish tradition,” Spiro said.
Many of the psalms read also mentioned Israel.
“For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentious redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all its inequities,” Spiro read from the Book of Psalms.
At the end of the vigil, participants held a moment of silence for the dead and injured. They then joined in a Hebrew hymn and laid their candles in front of the memorial.
After the event, organizers spoke about the vigil’s significance.
“We have to let the world know that Yale is aware that terrorism is going on,” Spiro said. “It is our duty as conscious civilians, conscious people, to mourn [the victims] and to pray for them.”
Students were visibly touched by the vigil, with some hugging each other and openly weeping. Many expressed their frustration with the continued violence in the Middle East.
“I’m here because every killing is a tragedy,” said Josh Eidelson ’06, a participant in the event.