We grieve for the victims of the bus bombing in Bulgaria

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Smoke rising from the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, after a terror attack on an Israeli tour bus, July 18, 2012.

Once again the grim hand of terror has reached out to strike innocents, and once again our hearts grieve for victims whose only "crime" was to be Israeli tourists.

At latest count, seven Israeli vacationers were killed today and dozens wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosion on a tour bus at Bourgas airport on the Black Sea.  The vacationers had just arrived for a summer rest and relaxation.

As Bulgarian and Israeli authorities investigate this heinous attack, we extend, on behalf of Chicago's Jewish community, our deepest condolences to the families of the dead, pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded, and implore the world to crush the scourge of terror. Too often in Israel's brief history have her innocents been targeted; too often in Jewish history have our people been mercilessly attacked by those who hate us.

As in the past, our Federation will help provide direct assistance to these latest victims through the Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for the Victims of Terror. First established in 2002, the Fund is designed to improve the quality of life for the victims and their families, and to ease their recovery and rehabilitation.

Today's attack is made more bitter because it falls on the 18th anniversary of the July 18, 1994, attack by Iran-sponsored terrorists on the Jewish center (akin to Chicago's Jewish Federation) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Those terrorists and their backers have never been brought to justice.

Jewish institutional security in Chicago, including the Jewish Federation, is strong. Even as we react with horror at today's all too familiar events, we are grateful for our excellent relationships with law enforcement at every level.

Erasing terrorism is a vital interest for every society, for every faith, and for every nation. In that vein we have reached out to the Bulgarian Consul General in Chicago concerning today's events. All who uphold democratic values have an obligation to work together to make the world a safer place.

Skip Schrayer, Chairman

Steven B. Nasatir, President

Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

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