Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It Happened in Argentina

Aside from the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem, many tragic events in Jewish history are associated with Tisha B’Av (technically the 9th of Av, but some of the associated events took place shortly before or after the 9th). One of the most recent tragedies occurred on the 10th of Av 5754 (July 18, 1994), when a bomb exploded at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. Tragically, 87 people were killed and over 100 were injured. It was the city’s second terrorist attack directed at Jews in two years, the first of which was a car bomb that was detonated outside of the Israeli embassy on March 17, 1992.

The AMIA originated as the city’s Chevra Kaddisha (burial society) in 1894. As the Argentinian Jewish community grew and developed, AMIA became a multifaceted organization, and, at the time of the bombing, the five story AMIA building was a community center that housed not only offices, but recreational space and a healthcare cooperative as well. 


In an era of complicated international relations, the investigation turned into a multi-decade story of intrigue, cover-up, bribery and mismanagement. To this day, the case is still open, even though it is commonly acknowledged that the bombing was carried out by Hezbollah, just as the 1992 bombing was the work of Islamic Jihad – both organizations supported by Iran.


As the 20th anniversary of the AMIA bombing approaches, it is important to note the continued strength of the Argentinian community. The AMIA is now housed in an 8-story building and serves a vibrant community of approximately 200,000 Jews.



Current AMIA building in Buenos Aires
Photo by Nbelohlavek, Created 9/2012

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