Argentina is giving millions in bomb reparations to Jews

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The July 18, 1994 bombing, which left 86 dead and more than 300 wounded, remains unsolved.

Of the total to be paid to the community, $1 million is for the opening of a Holocaust museum at a building the government donated last year to the Argentine Jewish community.

AMIA president Oscar Hansman, Chief Rabbi Ben Hamu, Menem, members of his Cabinet and other Argentine Jewish officials attended the ceremony.

Conspicuously absent, however, was Ruben Beraja, the president of the Argentine Jewish umbrella organization DAIA.

Beraja had previously said Argentine Jews should not accept reparations. This week, DAIA issued a terse statement that said, "The institution did not attend the ceremony, nor name a representative to attend it officially."

Hansman said after the ceremony that the money "was granted to cover the extraordinary material cost of upgrading security and giving special care to victims of the bombing."

He added that the funds would not be used to reconstruct the building leveled by the bombing because "our institution already has funds to do that."

Meanwhile, the Argentine Chamber of Deputies formed a commission to investigate the AMIA bombing.

The five-member parliamentary commission has a mandate "to closely follow the investigation being carried out by the police and other security forces."

The long delay in the formation of the commission has been harshly criticized by the local press and the Jewish community.

The 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires also remains unsolved.

Jewish officials here and abroad have cited incompetence, corruption and anti-Semitism among security and government officials as causes for the Argentine government's inability to solve the case.

The investigation of the AMIA case exposed an extensive ring of police officials allegedly involved in the sale of stolen cars, explosives and weapons.