Lighting the flame: Julio Alberto Alguea; Osc
Lighting the flame: Julio Alberto Alguea; OscSasson Tiram, the Jewish Agency

The Jewish Agency for Israel held its annual ceremony in memory of victims of anti-Semitic incidents and terror attacks around the world Monday, in the plaza of its Jerusalem headquarters building.

According to Jewish Agency figures, some 200 Jews have been killed in anti-Semitic terror attacks around the world since Israel's establishment.

This year's ceremony marked twenty years since the murderous terror attack at the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were killed.

Representatives of the Jewish community of Argentina attended the ceremony and relatives of two of the victims – Andrés Gustavo Malamud, 37, and Silvana Alguea de Rodríguez, 28 – kindled a memorial flame.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky spoke at the ceremony, stressing the connection between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

"Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people and it belongs to all Jews, no matter where they may live," Sharansky began. "When Israel defends itself and asserts its sovereignty, it does so in the name of all Jews."  

"Likewise, to our enemies, fighting against Israel and fighting against the Jewish people are one and the same – they hate Israel and the Jewish people with equal fervor, and they target both as representations of one another," he continued. "From Argentina to Pakistan, Kansas to Toulouse, Bourgas to Jerusalem, Jews continue to be targeted for nothing more than the perverse 'crime' of being Jewish."

Sharansky vowed, along with the Jewish Agency, to bring the perpetrators to justice - as part of Israel's fundamental role as the Jewish homeland. 

"The State of Israel embodies the struggle for Jewish independence and self-determination, and we will continue our proud march through Jewish history on behalf of the entire Jewish people," he said. "Twenty years ago, when Hezbollah wished to strike Israel and Jews, it dispatched murderous terrorists to Argentina, aided by the Iranian regime. We are grateful to the government of Argentina for its efforts thus far, but we will not settle for anything less than bringing the murderers to justice."

On July 18, 1994, a Hezbollah terrorist detonated a massive car bomb in front of the AMIA Jewish community center in central Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring more than 300. Most of them were Jews.

It was one of two major terror attacks targeting Jewish and Israeli targets in Argentina in the 1990s. Two years earlier, in March 1992, an attack at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires killed 29 people and injured 242.

Sharansky lit a memorial flame at the ceremony with Julio Alberto Alguea, father of Silvana Alguea de Rodríguez, and Oscar Malamud, cousin of Andrés Gustavo Malamud.

The ceremony was held by several major organizations, including The Jewish Agency for Israel, the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), Keren Hayesod-UIA, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), and the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA (UIAC).

Ambassador of Argentina to Israel Carlos Faustino Garcia, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky, World Zionist Organization Chairman Avraham Duvdevani, Keren Hayesod-UIA Chairman Eliezer Sandberg, JFNA Senior Vice President for Global Operations and Director General of JFNA Israel Rebecca (Becky) Caspi, KKL-JNF Director-General Meir Spiegler, UIAC Director-General Yossi Tanuri, AMIA Secretary-General Mario Sobol, Jewish Agency Director-General Alan Hoffmann, and Chairman of the Jewish Agency Workers' Committee Hanan Mor all attended the ceremony.