British Bible Student Identified as Bombing Fatality

Mary Jane Gardner came to Jerusalem to help translate the Holy Scriptures into the Ife tribal language, which is spoken in Benin and Togo, her place of residence for the last 20 years.

The woman killed in Wednesday's bombing of a Jerusalem bus stop was named yesterday as Mary Jane Gardner, a 55-year-old British tourist, after the Foreign Ministry located and informed her family. Gardner, who was critically injured in the blast, was pronounced dead at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem despite resuscitation efforts.

Born in a small town in Northern Scotland, Mary Jane Gardner was passionate about languages, which brought her to Jerusalem this January. Her latest project was to help translate the Holy Scriptures into the Ife tribal language, which is spoken in Benin and Togo.

gardner - March 25 2011

Gardner had just spent 20 years in Togo when she arrived in Israel to enroll in a six-month program that the Hebrew University's Rothberg International School runs together with the Home for Bible Translators and Scholars in Jerusalem.

"She was a quiet, sensitive and introverted person, highly motivated. She had a seriousness and commitment that is to be admired, being over 50 and coming to study Hebrew, archaeology, the land of the bible and the history of the land. You need a commitment for that, and you saw that language was really her life," said Miriam Ronning, a Bible translator from Finland who co-founded the center in 1995.

The British Ambassador, Matthew Gould, came yesterday to the scene of the bombing and placed a wreath on behalf of the United Kingdom. Gould denounced the bombing, calling it a repugnant terrorist attack against innocent civilians, and denounced the rocket attacks on the south of the country. He said London was concerned by the escalation, and called on all sides to prevent any further violence.

Eleven people remained hospitalized in Jerusalem yesterday, one of them in a very serious condition and another in a serious condition.

Fourteen injured, four of them seriously, were admitted to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center after Wednesday's blast, as well as 10 people in a state of shock. Most were released within a few hours.

One of the injured was Yair Zimmerman, 29, who was on the no. 75 bus as it pulled over to the bus stop near the capital's International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha'uma ) shortly before the bomb went off. "There was a very strong blast and a smell of something burning," Zimmerman, who suffered shell shock, told Haaretz. "Both buses were hit by metal pellets that flew all over place. Most of the people injured were inside the bus stop - it's always crowded and it was crowded when the explosion happened. I'm a Magen David Adom volunteer so I got off the bus to help the wounded. I saw one woman who couldn't really be helped, and I started treating someone else. The ambulances arrived very quickly."

Five of the injured were eighth-graders from Netivot, who were heading home after sitting an entry exam for a Jerusalem yeshiva.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai paid visits to hospitals yesterday, and called for a military operation to be launched. "The combination of what happened in Itamar, what's happening in the south and the Jerusalem bombing all indicate a general intention," he said.