MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE A BLESSING: AACI Annual Memorial Ceremony 2012


We invite you to view this video prepared by the U.S. Embassy.



September 24, 2012 

ח’ תשרי תשע”ג

The AACI Annual Memorial Ceremony will take place at 3:30 pm on Monday, September 24, 2012  ח’ תשרי תשע”ג at the AACI Memorial Site (see driving directions at the bottom of this post) near Sha’ar Hagay.

The Memorial Ceremony is held each year during the autumn High Holiday season to honor the memory of AACI members or other North Americans, and members of their immediate families, who have fallen while in service to the State of Israel or as victims of terror.  This is a moving tribute to those who have made the supreme sacrifice so that Israel can exist as an independent and strong Jewish state.

Our main speaker will be Sherri Mandell, the mother of Koby z”l, who was killed in a terror attack in 2001 at the age of thirteen.  She and her husband, Rabbi Seth Mandell, founded the Koby Mandell Foundation, which runs healing programs for families that have been directly affected by terror in Israel.  Mrs. Mandell has also written a transformational book about her son’s murder entitled The Blessing of a Broken Heart She has impressed many people with her ability to carry on after the horrific tragedy that struck her family, and is an inspiring and moving speaker.

US Ambassador Dan Shapiro is also expected to join us as he did last year.

Special mention will be made of the 11 Israeli athletes who were killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Palestinian terrorists. In particular, we will remember David Berger, z”l, an American oleh who was a member of the Israeli Olympic team and was killed along with 10 of his teammates.

The following people will be remembered and their names inscribed on the Memorial Plaques this year:

Asher Palmer

Yonatan Palmer

Netta Blatt-Sorek

May their memories be a blessing.

(Scroll down for more background information on these three people.*)

Please join us for this very important and moving ceremony.


If you need transportation from Jerusalem, phone the AACI National office at 02-5661181 and sign up for the bus.


Take the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway. Take the turnoff toward Beit Shemesh (road #38) and turn right onto a dirt road when you see the AACI flags and signs.

Donna Grushka and Rabbi Jay Karzen,

Co-Chairpersons, AACI Memorial Ceremony



Asher Palmer was the son of Molly and Michael Palmer of Kiryat Arba, Americans who came to Israel as olim about 30 years ago.  Asher graduated from a hesder yeshiva and served in the Israeli Navy.  Shortly after completion of his Navy service, he began engineering studies, hoping to work in Israel’s high tech industry.

On Friday, September 23, 2011, Asher and his one-year-old son Yonatan were killed when their car overturned on the road near Kiryat Arba.  The incident was originally reported as a traffic accident. However, police and IDF officials later concluded that most likely Asher and Yonatan were victims of a terror attack. Apparently father and son were killed when rocks thrown at their car smashed the windshield, injured Asher and caused him to lose control of the vehicle.

They are survived by Asher’s parents and his wife Puah – Yonatan’s mother.  In February 2012, 4 ½ months after the death of Asher and Yonatan, Puah gave birth to a baby girl, Orit.


Netta Blatt-Sorek was born at Kibbutz Afikim on July 10, 1957, the daughter of Dina and Amos Blatt.  The family later lived in Beer Sheva and Rishon Lezion. Netta finished high school in Gedera, completed her army service, and then traveled to Sweden before settling for the next 17 years in New York where she completed her BA at HunterCollege.  During her stay in New York, Netta became an American citizen.

Although intending to continue for a doctorate, Netta decided to come back to Israel after her grandfather’s death. Falling in love simultaneously with a place – Zichron Yaakov – and with a man – Amotz Sorek, she returned to Israel, married, worked as a teacher, and studied drama therapy.

Her passions became storytelling festivals and advocating for peace between Jews and Arabs.  Netta dedicated her life to building a bridge between Israel and her neighbors by finding common ground for dialogue.  She taught at an Arab-Israeli school and took an active role in creating communities of Jews and Arabs.

In February 2010, Netta left home for a five-day vacation at the monastery of Beit Jamal near Beit Shemesh.  The monks reported her missing after she failed to return from an afternoon walk.  When her body was found, the initial police report called her death a suicide but that was subsequently changed to murder.  The investigation a year later into the attack on Kristine Luken and Kay Wilson led police to charge members of a Palestinian terror cell with the murder of Luken and later with Netta’s murder as well.

Netta is survived by her parents; her husband; a daughter, Noga; and a brother, Eran.

AACI Jerusalem – Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center
Pierre Koenig 37, corner of Poalei Tzedek 2 (across from Hadar Mall)
Talpiot, Jerusalem
Buses # 10, 21 & 49 stop on Pierre Koenig across from AACI; 71, 72, 74 & 75 stop  at Tzomet Habankim, a 10-minute walk away.
(02) 566-1181 for more information about any programs or to register.


We Remember: Dan Alon Speaks about Surviving the Munich Massacre

As the world looks forward to the 30th Summer Olympics beginning in London at the end of this month, Israel looks back. Back to the autumn of 1972. That is when the 20th Olympic Games, meant to be a celebration of internationalism and ethics in sport, were turned into a tragedy. The games were held in Munich that year, the first time Germany had hosted the event since the Nazi era. As a result, the Israeli team was on edge – and rightfully so, as it turned out. In the early hours of September 5, Palestinian terrorists calling themselves the Black September movement invaded two of the apartments that housed the Israeli athletes and attempted to capture them. When the Israelis resisted, two were murdered and one escaped. The remaining nine were taken hostage and eventually killed by the terrorists.

The attackers ignored a third apartment with an additional five Israeli team members, who were awakened by the noise of gunshots and shouting. As bullets blasted through their wall from the shooting next door, they discussed trying to fight the terrorists with the Israeli marksmen’s pellet guns. However they had no idea how many enemies or what kind of weapons they would be up against. In the end, they decided to escape via the balcony. All members of this group survived.

Dan Alon, an Israeli fencer and one of the residents of this third apartment was silent about his horrific experience for over thirty-five years. Although permanently traumatized, he went on to marry and have children. Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film “Munich,” about the aftermath of the massacre, prompted Dan finally to begin speaking up about his story. Alon has just released a book, Munich Memoir:  Dan Alon’s Untold Story of Survival.

Now you can meet Dan Alon in person and hear him describe what happened almost 40 years ago and what happened afterwards. He will be speaking at AACI on Tuesday July 17, at a benefit evening for AACI’s AACI Memorial Ceremony and Forest which commemorates over 300 fallen in the IDF or as victims of terror, including David Berger, an American-Israeli Olympic weightlifting athlete killed in Munich.

So often, in the wake of tragedy in Israel, we concentrate on the lost, rather than on the survivors. Yet Dan Alon and others like him have a vital message to convey – that Israel is here to stay and even terrorists cannot extinguish this country’s proud spirit.

IN REMEMBRANCE: Sign a petition for one minute of silence at the 2012 London Olympics in memory of the murdered 11 Israeli team members.



Date: July 17, 2012  Reception: 18:30   Program: 19:00

Admission to this Fundraising Event: 100 NIS / AACI members 75 NIS

Where:  AACI Jerusalem – Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center, Pierre Koenig 37, corner of Poalei Tzedek 2, Talpiot    MAP

Buses # 21 & 49 stop on Pierre Koenig across from AACI; 71, 72, 74 & 75 stop  at Tzomet Habankim, a 10-minute walk away.
For information click here and to register for the event click here , or call (02)566-1181.