Mary Jane Gardner
The one person killed in the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem was a British missionary who was studying Hebrew so she would be able to translate the Old Testament for the people of Togo.
Officials with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the United Kingdom said Mary Jane Gardner had arrived in Jerusalem earlier this year and was studying Hebrew so she could develop an Ife-French Old Testament for the Togoese people.
Wycliffe U.K. Executive Director Eddie Arthur said in a statement posted on the Wycliffe U.K. website that Gardner was a courageous woman.
“I cannot tell you how highly regarded she was. She was an extremely gutsy person, highly intelligent, with huge drive and the ability to stick with the project for 20 years in far from comfortable conditions,” Arthur wrote.
Gardner died when terrorists detonated a bomb near a Jerusalem bus stop on March 23. Officials worked long hours to identify her, as she was not carrying any identification at the time of the blast and had no relatives in Israel searching for her at local hospitals after the attack.
Arthur said Gardner had the ability to endure hardship and her dedication was well-known.
“It must have been incredibly isolating at times. But she was completely dedicated to her work, and to the Ifè people,” Arthur also wrote.
Wycliffe Bible Translators U.K. did not respond to WND’s request for comment.
Religious Freedom Coalition Chairman William Murray said the missionary’s death didn’t get much play in the mainstream media. In the United States, her missionary status wasn’t reported at all.
“American newspapers reported that she was a tourist, and in fact, I don’t think the mainstream media has reported anything about her studies there or that she has done a translation of the New Testament into a very obscure language in Togo,” Murray said.
“She was learning Hebrew in Israel for the purpose of going back and being able to translate the Old Testament,” Murray added.
Murray said that while Gardner was the only person killed in the bus stop attack, five Americans were wounded. He says that he was in Jerusalem during a major wave of terror attacks and observed a pattern of how terrorist attacks are reported in the press.
“I was in Israel during one of the times when there were frequent bombings on
the buses. I interviewed several people and in one case, I talked the parents of a child who was killed,” said Murray.
“Many Christians have died during these attacks and it is never reported. It isn’t reported when American citizens die. It isn’t reported when Europeans die or for that matter, when some of the workers are brought into Israel from The Philippines or China,” he said.
He says the media is misreporting the violence in Israel.
“There seems to be a desire in the media to make it appear as if Palestinians only kill Israelis, and that makes it OK,” he said.
Murray said world opinion would be much different if the real casualty lists were known.
“If it were known how many American citizens died in the last intifada and the last series of bus bombings, how many British, how many French, how many German citizens and how many Christians had died, the world would be taking an entirely different view of those suicide bombings,” he said.
Murray said Israel’s situation is different now that the Jewish state has lost two important allies.
“There is an increase in violence,and I think it’s related to everything else that’s going on in the Middle East,” he said.
“The fall of Mubarak meant that an ally to Israel fell. The Turkish government, since it is now in the hands of Islamists, has turned from being a friend to Israel to an antagonist and an enemy. Even though it is a member of NATO, it is now an enemy of Israel,” Murray said.
Murray added that Gardner’s death takes place inside a wider context and a bigger conflict.
“That has given hope to the jihadists in and around Israel, that now is the time, with the fall of any allies that Israel had in the region, or any that were expressing peaceful motivation in the region, that those being out of the way, that the violence on Israel can be there,” he said.
“It is a general uptick in violence and the only thing odd about this missionary’s death is the fact that it was reported. This has happened in the past and as I said, oftentimes, Americans and Europeans, Filipinos and Chinese were killed and the media absolutely refused to report it,” he said. “Somehow it’s OK if only Israelis die.”
Palestinians handed out cookies in the streets of their cities to celebrate the successful bomb attack, he noted.