By Francesca Matalon
A ceremony to commemorate the Palestinian terror attack perpetrated at the Great Synagogue of Rome on October 9, 1982, was held last Sunday in the Italian capital city. Many people gathered to light a candle in the square that is now named after Stefano Gaj Taché, the two-year-old murdered in the attack.
Ruth Dureghello, the president of the Jewish Community of Rome, in particular welcomed those who survived the injuries after the attack; among them was Gadiel Gaj Taché, brother of Stefano. “Today I am speaking on behalf of all the injured, but I am persuaded that what happened 34 years ago is an injury for everyone in this Community,” he said.
Noemi di Segni, the president of Italian Jewish Communities, said that “Together we commemorate that tragic day, when Palestinian terrorists struck in a most deadly way not only a family, but all citizens in Rome and Italy who fight hate, extremism and violence.” She also quoted the words of Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, who reminded Stefano Gaj Taché in his first speech in office a year ago. “Stefano was our child, an Italian child,” he said.
Marcello De Vito, Rome’s deputy mayor, and Maria Teresa Petrangolini, a member of the Lazio regional council, also attended the ceremony. Dureghello thanked them and underlined the importance of the commitment by Italian institutions to remember what happened on that tragic day in 1982 and to protect the Jewish Community of Rome.
“The attack did not come from out of nowhere, but was the result of a process of ostracism, criminalization and seclusion of the Jewish Community,” said Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome.
“Italian institutions did not understand that a for long time and even today we have the bitter sensation of having been sold to the terrorists.” Nevertheless, rabbi Di Segni added, “the Community is still alive, which means that they did not manage to transform this place into a place of death.”
In the afternoon, Gadiel Gaj Taché also spoke about the tragedy of October 9 together with journalist Pierluigi Battista, in a conference organized by the youth division of B’nai Brith.