ORT staff join Europe-wide silence for terror victims


15 July 2005 World ORT staff observed a two-minute silence outside their London offices at noon yesterday in respect for the 54 people killed and hundreds injured in last weeks terrorist attack on the city. They were joined outside ORT House by staff from other organisations that have offices in the building, including British ORT, Friends of Hebrew University and The Weizmann Institute Foundation. Throughout London traffic came to a halt and thousands of people spilled out onto the streets to observe the two-minute silence. Many more across the European Union are also reported to have joined what is seen as a symbolic stand against terrorism. ORT House is situated less than three kilometres from Kings Cross station, which bore the brunt of the second of the four devices detonated by Islamist suicide bombers during the morning rush hour on July 7. World ORT received hundreds of emails and telephone calls from friends, supporters and colleagues around the world expressing concern for staffs safety and solidarity with the people of London. Fortunately, no-one from ORT was among the casualties. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said he was grateful for the interest and concern shown. It was a very difficult day to say the least, and the people in London and all of us here truly hope that such events are the last of its kind, both here and throughout the world, he said. ORT is no stranger to terrorism: since September 2000, more than 45 ORT Israel students and graduates have died as a result of terrorist action. Special counselling skills have been developed within the ORT system to help students recover from the stress and trauma of experiencing terror attacks. This expertise was shared with a group of Russian psychologists in a training seminar in Israel in March. The psychologists have since been using what they have learned to help survivors of last years Beslan school massacre, in which Islamist terrorists killed 331 people (172 of them children).