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Attack could signal intifada, Israeli journalist says

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tuesday’s bloody attack at a Jerusalem synagogue may signal another Palestinian uprising, an Israeli journalist visiting Metro Detroit said Wednesday.

“I think Israelis are concerned they’re at the start of an intifada,” said Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil, Washington correspondent for the Times of Israel. “Low-scale and low-tech attacks (like the one Tuesday are) on the upswing. Historically, that means that the really bad stuff is coming up next.”

Israel has faced two Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings. The first lasted from 1987-93 and the second lasted from 2000-05. Tuesday’s attack by two Palestinian cousins killed five people, including a rabbi who grew up in Oak Park

Shimoni-Stoil made the remarks during a luncheon organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Detroit Athletic Club.

She said the synagogue attack, while horrifying and tragic, was small compared with others in the past.

“I’m sure the terrorists were hoping for a bigger reaction,” Shimoni-Stoil said. “That’s the nature of terrorism.”

Before joining the Times of Israel, Shimoni-Stoil was acting Washington bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post and also covered stories about rocket attacks in Sderot, suicide bombings and the second Lebanon war.

She is a history doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University and teaches a military studies course.

Based in Bloomfield Hills, the Jewish Community Relations Council works to establish relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic and religious groups and advocates on issues, seeking consensus with a commitment to Jewish values.

“In Detroit, Israel is not just another story on the nation-world page or the network newscast,” said Beverly Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Community Relations Council. “In Detroit, it’s a local story.”

The five people killed in Tuesday’s attack on the Jerusalem synagogue included four rabbis, among them Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, who attended school in Metro Detroit as a child.

Fellow American rabbis Kalman Levine, 55, and Moshe Twersky, 59, also died in the attack by the Palestinian pair, who used knives, axes and guns. The other victims were British Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, 68, and Zidan Saif, a police officer from Israel’s Druse minority.

Five others were wounded.

Police shot and killed the two attackers

Authorities said the attack was the deadliest in the city since a Palestinian assailant killed eight students at a Jewish seminar in March 2008.

Nearly 75 people, many of whom were Detroit area journalists, attended the luncheon where Shimoni-Stoil spoke.

Lisa Pernick of Franklin was among them. She said it was the first time she’d attended one of the council’s luncheons.

“(Shimoni-Stoil) was phenomenal,” said Pernick, an attorney. “She was thoughtful, insightful and I thought she gave brilliant, well-thought out analysis.”

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