The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Crisis Management

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


On July 31, 2002, a terrorist bombing at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem killed nine people, including five Americans, one of whom worked in the University’s New York office. Immediately, this office found itself at the center of arguably the world’s largest news story at the time. The staff was understandably shaken and grieving, as they had lost one of their own. Even as details of the event remained sketchy, camera crews lined up on the street outside, tabloids camped out in the lobby, and major media lit up the phone lines seeking facts and comment.


Soury Communications rushed to the client’s office and set up a temporary press center, which they staffed for weeks. An emergency meeting was held with key executives to exchange current information and delegate tasks. To deal with the media onslaught, daily press conferences were scheduled. Statements and press releases were written and delivered to the media. Executives were coached and made available to the media for interviews. A team was dispatched to Boston, to assist the family of the New York victim, Janis Coulter, in dealing with the local media. We then made an emergency trip to Israel to assist the University in Jerusalem.


There is no happy ending to a story like this. We were able to help a grieving client, as well as a victim’s family and friends, through a difficult situation in as professional and painless a way as possible. We established relationships between the university, the media and with elected officials in New York which resulted in a memorial street naming in midtown Manhattan: Janis Coulter Way.