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Bullies and blarney
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Date: Oct 1, 2002
Start Page: 09
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

Pontypass is a small sleepy village in Northern Ireland that straddles the Belfast-to-Dublin railway line. The locals know it affectionately as Pointlesspass. Though situated in what the British term "bandit country" it escaped "the troubles" for 25 years. That was until two Unionist gunmen from a nearby town walked into the Railway Tavern, Pontypass's only pub, and shot dead two men, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant. Their only crime, it later transpired, was that they were close friends who came from different religious backgrounds.

This was no indiscriminate killing, but rather as the killers later confessed a premeditated assassination of two people who refused to conform to the religious bigotry and ethnic divide that still today dominates Northern Ireland. It was also a warning to small communities in Northern Ireland, like Pontypass, where coexistence was the norm. Places in which so long as you bought your round of drinks in the pub nobody cared in which temple you worshiped.

Cut to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an institution famed for its efforts in bringing Arabs and Jews together. The shock of the recent attack on its Frank Sinatra Cafeteria has been compounded by the revelation that the bomber was an Israeli Arab employee of the university. Indeed, the following day he was asked to help clean up the blood-covered room and decorate the cafeteria so it could reopen. It transpires that his accomplices came from east Jerusalem where the university is located. They planted the bomb knowing that it could kill Arabs as well as Jews. The university was chosen because of its openness and the fact that it represents one of the few places in Israel where Israelis and Arabs can easily meet.

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