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Jewish Journal

Students Seek Justice for Americans in Israel

by Sharon Schatz Rosenthal

May 22, 2003 | 8:00 pm

Armed with reams of notebook paper and plenty of pens, 600 yeshiva students rallied for legislation that would support American families whose loved ones have died in Israel at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

In honor of Yom HaZikaron (the Jewish Day of Remembrance), students from Yeshiva University High School (YULA), Maimonides Academy, Emek Hebrew Academy, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and West Valley Hebrew Day School gathered at B'nai David Judea Synagogue in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 6 for YULA's third annual memorial rally and letter-writing campaign. This year's event was in memory of Yael Botwin, a Los Angeles teenager who was murdered in the September 1997 Palestinian bombing on Ben-Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

After hearing heart-breaking stories of lives lost, students wrote letters to U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) urging them to co-sponsor the Koby Mandell Act, which would create a special unit in the Justice Department to pursue Palestinian terrorists who have harmed Americans. Last year's rally led to co-sponsorship of the bill by several representatives, including Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys), Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles).

"I think it's important to pass the [Koby Mandell Act]. I don't know why it hasn't received more attention," YULA senior Motti Klein said.

Ezra Pinsky, another YULA senior, has a personal interest in the act, as he plans to study at a yeshiva in Israel upon graduation from high school this June.

"I'd like to know that America is going to take actions against those who could be threatening me," said the 17-year-old, clutching his letter. "It's not going to be a pleasant year if I'm in danger."

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