Sbarro reopening ceremony draws Katsav, N.J., politician

JERUSALEM — The Sbarro pizzeria at the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road, the restaurant where a suicide bomber killed himself, 15 others and wounded 130 Aug. 9 reopened Wednesday.

President Moshe Katsav attended the reopening ceremony, which in addition to serving as a memorial for the 15 victims, is also a symbol of defiance to those who seek Israel's destruction.

The pizzeria's franchisees had initially considered re-opening at another location, but felt that would have been giving in to terrorism. Instead, they repaired the damage to the premises.

New Jersey's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler visited the restaurant Monday. He said his brief glance at Sbarro was part of an effort to better understand the link between New Jersey's large Jewish community and Israel.

"They're only going to have peace if there is an appreciation for Israel's right to exist by its neighbors," said Schundler, on his three-day trip to Israel. "There's nothing more horrible than this situation where entire families and children are being targeted."

Judith Shoshana Greenbaum, 31, an elementary school teacher from Passaic, N.J., was killed in the Jerusalem blast.

Schundler had dinner Monday with American Jewish leaders on a solidarity mission to Israel and listened as Foreign Minister Shimon Peres spoke about the country's efforts to restart truce talks with the Palestinians.

The former mayor of Jersey City, home to large immigrant communities, said he has tried to bring Muslims, Jews, and others together through cultural events and festivals.

However, "there are strong sentiments in New Jersey in the Muslim community — there is a lot of antagonism towards Israel," he said. "In the Jewish community there is tremendous support [for Israel]. You can't reconcile that."