"An Israeli, an American, and a Palestinian were standing at a bus stop. No. This isn't the start of a joke. They were all killed. And I'm just curious to see which one/s the media reports on."

An 18- year-old boy was murdered yesterday. He was out with a group of friends delivering cookies to the soldiers who were on guard duty on the road to the Gush, about 20 minutes away from Bet Shemesh where he was spending the year studying abroad on a gap year program before going back to the United States to start university. Their van was among the many cars stuck in traffic at the junction when a terrorist opened fire.

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18 years old. A victim of terror. So much unfulfilled potential. So much pain.

I can't help but flash back to my own gap year spend in Israel. I also spent my year studying in a quiet corner of Bet Shemesh back in 2012.  When the people who I cared about got called up to fight Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense I felt helpless and useless and I desperately sought out a way to help. 

When I get stressed out, I bake. Chocolate does in fact cure everything after all. So when my friends got called up to the front lines, I started baking. I baked a lot. Then I kept baking. Someone casually joked that I could probably feed a small army with everything I had produced.

And then it hit me.

There isn't much I could do during wartime to make a serious difference. What I can do is try and brighten the day of the soldiers spending sleepless nights guarding our borders, putting their lives on the line  so I didn't need to worry about my own.

I was that 18-year-old. I was the girl who showed up at a random military base with box after box of home made goodies desperately seeking to contribute in someway. I was not an Israeli citizen, I did not personally know any of the soldiers on that base; I was simply a Jewish girl who felt connected to the Jewish homeland and to the young boys fighting to defend the right to be here.

I never met Ezra Schwartz, and yet, his story has forever impacted my life.

I never met Ezra Schwartz, and now, I never will.

Terrorism has become a part of daily life in Israel. It has become a cliche' mentioned by politicians from time to time to make a point to the world which usually gets glazed over in the world media. Terrorism is expected, it is the norm.

What I find truly astonishing is that it took an attack on Paris, a westernized country in Europe, for the world to wake up and recognize the full extent of the reach of terrorism when Israel, a democratic state, has been experiencing and suffering at the hand of terrorism for decades.

Terrorism is terrorism when it kills 129 people in a series of coordinated attacks in Paris.

Terrorism is terrorism when it kills 43 in Beirut.

Terrorism is terrorism when it kills and American teenager delivering snacks to soldiers in a show of solidarity and support.

"Terrorism is a deliberate and systematic targeting of innocent civilians for political or ideological means," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained earlier this week. And yet, somehow, the State of Israel is blamed time and time again for the terrorist attacks against her own people.

My heart breaks for the family of the victims of the terror that impacts life in Israel on a daily basis, I cry for the unfulfilled potential and at utter ambivalence of the world at large. and despite it all, I pray that someday Israel will know what it means to live in peace.  

May the memories of all victims or terror be a blessing.

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