I am proud Catholic-Israeli, and I live in Haifa with my wife Carol and daughter Natalie, who my parents and siblings love to dote on. I like to play poker with my brother Youssuf. But I mostly have a passion for food and I am the cook at the popular Maxim restaurant on Hahagana Boulevard. It is a place that welcomes all people, with Jews and Arabs sharing tables and breaking bread together all year round.
A Christian and Jewish family operate the business in partnership, believing we are all Israelis first. Overlooking the sea, right on the beach, many in the community – and all across Israel – point to our restaurant as a symbol of peace. Not to mention players from my favorite football team, Maccabi Haifa, frequently dine here!
In the afternoon of October 4, 2003, Maxim was packed with its regular Saturday customers. It was just a few hours before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, when all Jews fast, so everyone was enjoying a final feast before the sun set. Palestinian terrorist Hanadi Jaradat, a 29 year old woman from Jenin walked past our security guard and sat down for lunch. Just weeks away from finishing law school and taking her exams, she had traveled to Israel in a cab, telling the driver she was visiting her sick father in the hospital. But once having crossed over, she insisted the two have lunch before being dropped off. While seated at the table she detonated an explosive device packed with shrapnel. 21 people, some Arabs and some Jews, some staff and some patrons – including children and babies- were killed. Another 60 people were injured. The terrorist was later awarded top honors for her crime by the Arab Lawyers Union.
My name is Osama Najar. I am 28 years old. And I am one of The Fallen Faces.
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