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25 March 2011

Scottish Bible translator killed by Jerusalem bus stop bomb

A Scottish Bible translator was killed when a bomb exploded next to a bus stop   in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Mary Jean Gardner, 55, was caught in the bomb blast at the central bus station   in Jerusalem.

She was the only person to die in the attack which left up to 30 others   wounded.

Miss Gardner, who was a well-regarded Bible translator, came to Israel at the   beginning of the year to study Hebrew and took courses at Hebrew University.

She had come to Israel to hone her Hebrew skills before embarking on a   translation of the Old Testament into Ife, one of the languages spoken in   Togo, West Africa.

A spokesman for Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: “Wycliffe Bible Translators   are sad to announce the death of their member Mary Gardner in a terrorist   explosion in Jerusalem on 23 March 2011 where she was studying Hebrew at The   Home for Bible Translators.”


Miss Gardner, who is thought to have been born in Africa and whose parents are   from the Grampian area, had recently returned from a stint of more than ten   years in Togo, West Africa. She had already translated the New Testament   into Ife, finishing in 2009.

She had been staying and studying at the Homes for Bible Translators near   Mevaseret Zion, close to Jerusalem, where she had been living with other   students in a log cabin.

Miriam Ronning, a Finn who founded the centre with her husband in 1994, said   the dead woman was quiet but popular among fellow students and dedicated to   her task of translating the Bible for tribesmen in Togo.

"She was a very deep person, very motivated to study, very industrious,"   Mrs Ronning said. "You would often see her in the library. She was very   much appreciated. Gentle, introverted and very kind, it is a real loss for   the project in Togo and to our student body."

Mrs Ronning said students were taken from and to the Hebrew University by bus   every day for their own security, but that Miss Gardner had a day off and   had gone into town to meet an Irish friend who had just arrived in the city   with a tour group. Miss Gardner was heading to a restaurant to meet her   friend and happened to be passing the bus stop on foot when the bomb   exploded.

"She was very excited to be seeing her friend from Ireland," said   Mrs Ronning. "That friend is now broken hearted. She blames herself,   saying if she had not come to Israel, she (Gardner) would still be alive."

"We are really, really reeling from all this," said Mrs Ronning. "We've   had students coming here for 10 years and this is the first time anything   like this has happened. The shock of the evil behid the killing of civilians   for the sake of killing is hard to take."

Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: “She was   a very popular lady. She was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed.   She was highly regarded as a translator and a linguist. People who spend   more than ten years in an African village and devote their lives like that   are hard to come by.”

The bomb was the first in more than six years. It came hours after militants   vowed revenge for two deadly Israeli raids on Gaza. The bombing also came   several hours after two Grad rockets fired by Gaza militants hit the   southern city of Beersheva.

Following the attack, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said   that Israel would act "aggressively, responsibly and wisely" in   wake of a recent upsurge in violence.

Miss Gardner's death comes nine years after Glasgow-born teenager Yoni Jesner   was killed in a Tel Aviv suicide bomb, carried out by Hamas.



05:23 Posted in Middle East | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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