This has been a difficult week. First the terror attack in Boston and then the horrific explosion in the Texas fertilizer plant. The coming weeks and days will shed more light on these two events as we do not yet have the full picture of either tragedy.
Here in Israel unfortunately we have lots of experience dealing with tragedies and terror in our homeland. In our short 65 years since the modern State of Israel was declared we have experienced 7 wars, over 170 suicide bombings, 2 Intifadas (uprisings),1000’s of successful and thwarted terror attacks, over twelve thousand rockets and mortars fired at civilian populations and close to 23,000 soldiers killed. Yet we are not discouraged, nor broken----we are stilled filled with hope that the future will be peaceful and our children will live with security.
What advice could Israel humbly offer the citizens of the U.S?
First of all, take comfort in knowing that you have the moral high ground. When you are attacked for your beliefs in freedom, democracy, justice and religious tolerance you should never crack and allow your enemy to make you feel as if you have done something wrong. You are a victim of terror. You are not part of the “cycle of violence” as the foreign media likes to call it here in Israel, thereby equating Israel’s reaction to terror with the terrorists themselves. There is a right and wrong. You are right, we are right and the terrorists are wrong. Never allow for moral obscurity. Murdering innocent people is always wrong. When you hear people say that the U.S. foreign policy causes and instigates terrorism, please reject this whole heartedly. If not, you create a moral equivalency between the perpetrator and the victim.
Here in Israel our reaction to terror is to return to normalcy as quickly as possible and not grant the terrorists the victory of disrupting the lives of good people longer than necessary. Just recently in November, when terrorists blew up a bus in Tel Aviv, the police did what they had to do and the street was re-opened within a couple of hours. The authorities want to make a statement: “You will not stop us from living the lives we want to lead. Even when your evil plans sometimes succeed, we will live on and we will hunt you down.”
The final and perhaps the most powerful idea is that the reaction to terror here in Israel is to build. Many of the communities in Judaea and Samaria (what the world called the West Bank) were built when someone was killed by a terrorist. For every Jew killed, we will build another community. In the town of Itamar, a little over a year ago, two terrorists entered the town on the Jewish Sabbath and murdered almost the entire Fogel family while they were asleep in their beds. In less than a year, Itamar built a brand new Yeshiva (Jewish school) and are also about to complete a brand new synagogue. The terrorists love death, we love life.
Another example: On March 28, 2001 a family member of Rabbi Josh Fass was murdered in Israel. What was Rabbi Fass’ reaction? He created an organization called Nefesh B’Nefesh (A Soul for a Soul). The organization helps and encourages Jews from around the world to move to Israel. Through the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh , close to 20,000 Jews have moved here from North America including my own family. You want to kill Jews living in Israel? Well, we will go out and bring more! I should add here that for years, Pastor John Hagee has been donating one million dollars annually to help Nefesh B’nefesh.
A final example: In 2001 two men were killed by terrorists on the road from their home to Jerusalem. The reaction? The towns all along the road from their home to Jerusalem built the “Pina Chama” (Cozy Corner) which is a place that soldiers who are on duty can stop in for a bite to eat. It is open day and night and staffed by volunteers from the local communities. The food is all donated by locals who will bake cakes, send popcorn or other treats for the soldiers. The Pina Chama serves over 200 soldiers a day.
Darkness cannot dispel darkness, only light can (Martin Luther King Jr.). The terrorists try to snuff out the light of the good people in this world. We must never question our moral position, we must never equate the reaction to terror with terror and finally we must continually add light where the terrorists try to bring darkness, until we succeed in illuminating the entire world.
Teach Israel helps provide the Pina Chama with cakes and other needs. If you would like to help us with this project and bring a little more light to our part of the world you can donate $10 by clicking here