“Do not fear sudden terror; the destruction of the wicked will yet come. Their plots will be frustrated; their threats will come to naught, for God is with us.”
– (Daily prayer, from Proverbs and Isaiah).
Two weeks ago, terrorism did, indeed, come to our quiet little Ra’anana neighborhood. In the midst of a pleasant Shabbat afternoon, a terrorist from Nablus/Shechem – arguably the heart of Palestinian darkness, a city known since biblical times for its murderous nature – invaded our peaceful street, intent on death and destruction.
He stabbed three people outside a small synagogue, including an elderly woman setting up the afternoon meal, and then, scared by a warning shot, fled onto our block. He ran into the house of our neighbor, stabbing her, but she courageously resisted and pushed him out the door. He then entered the home next door – miraculously leaving the parents and their daughter unharmed – jumped out a back window and was finally subdued by security forces.
As the stab-in-the-back attacks continue unabated – this new strain being the latest installment in the now 100-year Arab war against the Jews of Israel – it is primarily the man and woman on the street who constitute the front line. Forced to look constantly behind them, never sure where the next menace will come from, the average citizens of Israel are reacting with amazing bravery and a stoic refusal to succumb to the enemies in our midst.
They still go about their daily routines – albeit with added caution and some nervousness – and, rather than flee the scene of terrorist attacks, they rush to the aid of the victims. Last week’s tragic murder of Ofer Ben-Ari, who dashed across the street near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate when he saw a stabbing attack in progress, and was killed while trying to stop the Palestinian attacker, is typical of the heroism displayed on a daily basis by our fellow Israelis.
Many – may they be praised and rewarded – have even stopped or killed the murderers before the police or army could arrive.
Of course, it is the legitimate government of Israel, and our many security services, that bear the brunt of our defense, and it is to them that we look for ultimate protection and safety. To that end, it is encouraging to see that, by and large, they have rallied to the cause and taken the fight to the enemy. The widespread use of the army in civilian areas; the creation of a multi-unit commando force; the accelerated demolition and destruction of terrorists’ houses; and the targeted strikes against leaders of terrorism worldwide are welcome, encouraging actions.
It was particularly heartening to see the arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar recently erased from humanity. Kuntar is a symbol of just how despicable and barbaric our enemies are. In 1979, he smashed the head of fouryear- old – yes, I said four-yearold – Einat Haran on the rocks of Nahariya beach and then crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle. Kuntar, who was continuing his terrorist activities when he was killed in an air strike, had been released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two IDF soldiers – yet another disastrous “prisoner release,” a la the Schalit fiasco, for which we have paid a terrible price in dead and wounded. He was then elevated to terrorist chieftain by arch-murderer Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah, who paraded his “heroism” for all the world to see.
While I applaud Kuntar’s dispatching – although it was long in coming – I regret that Israel refused to take credit. I wish we would have openly proclaimed our involvement, and proudly declared that every terrorist is a legitimate target for us, and that Nasrallah – who also should have been taken out long ago – is next on the “hit parade.” This would have been a strong message to the world that anyone who targets civilians will be mercilessly hunted down and eliminated.
Speaking of the world: as Islamic terrorism grips virtually every corner of the free world, the world’s reaction has been disappointing, to say the least.
Rather than recognizing the enemy for who and what he is, and then doing anything and everything to stop the plague, world leaders have been timid and tentative in their response to the killers. They placate and enable them, they coddle them and compromise with them, and they cloud the issues.
They even – as in the case of US President Barack Obama and the terrorist nation of Iran – embrace them. They declare that “Islam is a peace-loving culture,” denying history, and refusing to acknowledge that Islam has been hijacked by its most extreme, violent element, which effectively holds all the others in its grasp. Every time a terrorist attack occurs – a Muslim name invariably associated with it – they rush to visit a mosque and hug an imam, repeating their inane mantra, “We are not at war with Islam.”
Maybe not, but it’s certainly at war with us.
Not every German was a Nazi; not every Japanese was a kamikaze. But as long as their populations supported them and allowed them to perpetrate their evil, they became legitimate targets for those who would be free to pursue normal lives and restore freedom. So, too, as long as Arab or Muslim countries – Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Pakistan and Iran chief among them – permit terrorist organizations to operate freely on their soil and export their hateful, hate-filled message to the world at large, there must be a global struggle to stifle and shut them down. The launching of a multi-national anti-terrorism squad, dedicated to eradicating terrorist leaders whenever and wherever they can be found, would be a good start.
Jews, it seems, are always at the forefront of epic struggles against tyranny and evil. We took on the Roman Empire, despite the consequences; we were the primary target of the Nazis’ racist ideology. We fought mighty Russia, until the Iron Curtain came down. And now, Israel is at the epicenter of the battle against terrorism; we are the microcosm of this universal struggle. The Palestinian obsession with killing Jews is not an exception to the rule, as some would like to believe.
It is the rule; it sets the standard and creates the precedent for virtually all the terrorism being perpetrated worldwide, even in places where nary a Jew is to be found. The United Nations’ blatant blindness notwithstanding, until anti-Israel hostility is condemned – rather than choreographed and coordinated – the entire planet will not be safe.
At the end of the day, if this ever-growing scourge is to be stymied and stopped, then good people everywhere must join Israel in the fight, refusing to be brow-beaten or blackmailed into submission. But if the response is indecisiveness and inaction, if the world stands by and does nothing to destroy evil, then it is the world itself which is the world’s biggest terrorist.
So, world, stop going in circles and spinning around aimlessly.
Get off your axis and join the battle. The world you save, most definitely, will be your own.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana and a member of the Ra’anana City Council.