A year ago they came to the Park Hotel for the seder, to remember ancient sorrows, the Hebrews’ enslavement in ancient Egypt and their eventual liberation.
This year the memories (and the wounds) were fresher.
A year after the terrorism attack that took 29 lives and wounded 100 and triggered Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield against terrorist leaders in the West Bank, Passover was observed again in the resort along the Mediterranean.
Last year, the Park Hotel suicide bombing capped the bloodiest month in the new intifada. This year, after the military operation that drew worldwide criticism but reduced the bloodshed, the night passed peacefully.
Outside, an armed policeman stood guard. Inside, a rebuilt hall awaited.
Some of the celebrants came b’davka, because the site had been a target, to make a statement of survival. Some came because the hotel, as in the past, was a convenient place to share the matzah and maror with friends.
About 120 guests came last week. Manager Arik Cohen said, "During the seder itself, we did not make any direct reference to the terror attack. The person who conducted the seder said that ‘in spite of everything, we are continuing and holding a seder in the proper tradition.’ "
And this week, Israel observed another tradition ó democracy. The four Hamas activists who planned the massacre were sentenced, after a trial in a military court, to life prison terms.