'Je Suis Nazareth' - Support Pours in for Ohio Deli after Machette Attack
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The FBI is investigating what may be a lone wolf terror attack at an Israeli restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
The machete-wielding assailant injured four patrons last Thursday before police shot and killed him. This week, however, the restaurant has become a place of hope.
Several thousand loyal customers flooded the Nazareth Deli & Restaurant on Wednesday, responding to a Facebook invitation to come and show support – and enjoy a buffet-style meal.
The owner, an Arab Christian who emigrated from Israel, said the assailant checked out the restaurant before he attacked.
"So he double-checked to make sure that I was from Israel and then he left because I wasn't here and then he came back, half an hour later – maybe hoping that I was here and I wasn't – and he attacked the other customers," Nazareth Deli owner Hany Baransi told CBN News.
For two nights this week, Baransi and his staff came together with their customers to lift each other up and stand together against the atrocity.
It's hard to believe that just last week there was a terrible attack in this very space because this week there's an incredible sense of joy, love and community here.
"The Lord has His hand on this place," Baransi said.
"The only way to show that this was not a good act is by filling this restaurant with patrons and showing our support so that's what we're here to do," one customer told CBN News.
"This is really overwhelming. I can't imagine how the staff and owner feel – how I feel just as a customer," another said.
Most in Columbus probably never thought they might share a connection with the Paris terror attacks, but at least one customer did.
"It says 'Je Suis Nazareth' -- one of my customers made it and I'm Israeli, I'm Arab. 'Je suis' -- You know, we're all one," Baransi said.
While he's not yet sure what he'll do next, Baransi said what is clear is that in the aftermath of terrorism in their own backyard, the people in this community have taken a stand and demonstrated they are indeed one.