Recently in Israel, a Palestinian terrorist killed Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old girl who was stabbed to death while sleeping in her bed at home. The next day, another Palestinian terrorist shot and killed Rabbi Michael Mark, a husband and father of 10, and injured his wife and two kids as they drove before Shabbat. Several weeks earlier, in a restaurant at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, several Palestinian terrorists who deceptively dressed as Orthodox Jews shot and killed four people and injured 16 more. The Sarona Market is a vibrant atmosphere where people go to enjoy the company of friends, family, strangers, and to soak in its modernity. But terror struck.
My heart aches more than I can put into words – not only for these recent tragedies, but for every tragedy the people of Israel have had to endure. When will it stop? When will Israelis be able to live in their country without the fear, without the danger?
Imagine going to a market with some friends one evening, driving in your car, or even sleeping in your bed, and suddenly your night turns into a threat to your life. This is the reality Israelis may face at any moment. However, critics of Israel have rationalized terror as an acceptable occurrence. They view it as ‘okay because it’s Israel, so that’s expected.’ They think fear and sometimes death is the price Israelis must pay simply for living in Israel.
But let’s think about this for a moment. Should Israelis constantly live in fear because of where they live in the world? There is no reason to legitimize the violence Israelis are subject to, no matter where within Israel it occurs.
There’s a double standard that Israel faces. When the rest of the world feels personally threatened by terror, they ask Israel for advice on how to overcome it. But when Israel is threatened by terror and implements its defenses, oftentimes the others blame Israel as the problem. How is it fair that the same terror happens worldwide yet when it happens to Israel, it’s rarely even considered terrorism?
Many non-Israelis, especially those in the media, have accepted and justified the terror Israelis face. In order to establish any type of remedy to the lives of Israelis, critics must recognize and understand that there is no reason Israelis should be exposed to the intimidation, fear, and terror they face on a daily basis.
My mind is filled with questions. Why did this happen? When will the terror stop? How can the world accept terror in Israel as okay but terror in other countries as horrific?
I have family in Israel. I have friends in Israel. I have a people in Israel to whom I belong. I am worried about their lives, about their well-being.
But, I am not scared. I am not scared because I know the perseverance of Israelis. I have seen not only how they live, but how they live despite the undue risks, threats, and dangers they face. Israelis are a willed people. They will not take no as the answer if they know the true answer is yes.
Oftentimes I see support for Israel in the form of condemning an attack or signing a document expressing support. These are good actions, and the support is admirable. However, what Israel needs is not only a world who will support it verbally. It needs active support. It needs unconditional support for the security of the citizens of Israel. Supporters should take action without fear of how they will be perceived by the public.
Go visit Israel and share your experiences with others, speak up when you hear people accept or justify the terror Israel endures, understand that Israelis are just like you and me and they want to live normal, peaceful lives.
If the safety of Israelis is truly a concern, the worldwide perception of supporting Israel should not play a role in deciding whether or not to extend this support. This should not be a left-wing or right-wing issue. We’re talking about innocent lives here. We must oppose terror on Israelis, for justifying it contradicts human dignity.
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