BOSTON – On Monday afternoon, my wife, Chaya, and I had plans to attend an
Independence Day celebration at a synagogue in a suburb near Boston.
when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line, I felt compelled to
go downtown to see the aftermath. Together with two other fellows from my
program at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, we walked along the
route of the race and spoke with some of the stunned runners, still roaming the
streets in search of loved ones and belongings.
The streets were still
mostly blocked off, littered with empty water bottles and thousands of the shiny
thermal blankets handed out to runners after they cross the finish line. I saw a
pink pair of running shoes left on the side of a street, leaning up against a
Police bomb sappers were directing us away from a nearby
building. Someone had found a backpack in a garbage bin. They had to rule out
The scenes were all too familiar. As a reporter in Israel
over the past decade, I have covered too many terrorist attacks – bus bombings,
shooting attacks, explosions at random cafes and restaurants.
At the same
time that the bombs went off in Boston, Israelis were filling the streets of
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities and towns across the country celebrating 65
years of independence. Had we been home, we would have been celebrating as well,
probably with the kids waiting for the fireworks show. But we were here in
Boston, where Chaya had taken two of the kids to watch the marathon just a few
miles from the target of the attack.
Walking near the finish line at
Copley Square, I was impressed by this city’s fortitude and resolve to press
forward, move on and not to stop running. Terrorism, people told me, would not
stop this vibrant city or its people “We will run again,” declared Lynne, a
nurse who had been stationed near the finish line and had treated some of the
That is a message we Israelis know well. I am often asked how
Israelis can sit in coffee shops in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem when rockets are
landing in the South. How can people board a bus down the block from another bus
that had just been blown up by a suicide bomber?
I think the answer mostly has
to do with one word – resilience. In my 20 years in Israel, I have always been
impressed by the people’s resilience. It is that resilience that I believe has
helped Israel not just move forward but also thrive for 65 years in the face of
Today, Boston needs to be resilient. I am confident
it will know how.