Israel’s greatest weapon against terrorism is unity - opinion

Our best weapon against terrorism is our unity and our inability to let extremism cripple our passionate (and sometimes obnoxious) society from moving forward.

 THE FUNERAL of Avishai Yehezkel, which took place last week, a day after he was murdered in a terrorist shooting attack in Bnei Brak. I am grateful to be part of a society that mourns its casualties together, writes the author.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
THE FUNERAL of Avishai Yehezkel, which took place last week, a day after he was murdered in a terrorist shooting attack in Bnei Brak. I am grateful to be part of a society that mourns its casualties together, writes the author.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

I have made Israel my home for almost four years now and in the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve gone through more emotional rollercoasters than I can count, both good and bad.

I am writing this article only a couple of days since the deadly terror attack in Bnei Brak, marking the third major terror attack in one week. In Beersheba, a terrorist from a Bedouin town in southern Israel stabbed several people, murdering four civilians. 

Days later in the city of Hadera, two ISIS-affiliated terrorists opened fire and shot two young border patrol soldiers dead (this happened on the same day that Israel hosted five foreign ministers for the historic Negev Summit as part of the Abraham Accords). 

Before Israel could process these two back-to-back attacks, a Palestinian terrorist from Jenin (who was previously imprisoned in Israeli jail) opened fire and shot several civilians in Bnei Brak. He murdered four civilians and a brave Arab-Israeli police officer whose last act was neutralizing the terrorist.

Three deadly terror attacks in one week. Eleven innocent lives were stolen from us. Jews, Arabs and Ukrainians. Terrorism and hate can’t tell the difference between whose Jewish and who isn’t. Israelis (both Jewish and Arab citizens) are in a lot of pain right now.

 FOREIGN MINISTER Yair Lapid, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meet with the Bahraini and UAE foreign ministers at the Negev Summit on Monday. (credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/REUTERS) FOREIGN MINISTER Yair Lapid, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meet with the Bahraini and UAE foreign ministers at the Negev Summit on Monday. (credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN/POOL/REUTERS)

I am writing this from my home in Tel Aviv and I am writing to keep myself busy. The truth is that I don’t want to leave my home because I’m scared. I don’t have pepper spray to defend myself if there is another attack. There are police stationed all over the city but what if they don’t get to me in time? I’ve read up about how to recognize distinct characteristics of terrorist stabbings but what if I miss something?

Everyone is saying that violence always erupts during Land Day, March 30, so it’s easier to just stay home. 

PAIN AND loss are not something new to Israelis. Terror attacks, stabbings, shootings, and rockets are our reality. It occurs so regularly that it doesn’t always make the news. You would think we would just become immune to these types of attacks but they are just as painful every time they occur. 

My company works with many organizations and NGOs, including Israel’s national EMS organization Magen David Adom. Reporting these attacks has become second nature to me. I see every attack, I hear every report, I see every victim, and it stings the same way every time. 

But it seems the rest of the world doesn’t understand our reality (either that or to them, Jewish blood is cheap). The individuals who were so quick to condemn Israel last May while over 4,000 rockets were fired at us are completely silent now. 

While we were hiding in staircases and bomb shelters, TV personalities like Trevor Noah used their platforms to minimize the very real security concerns that we face here. What does Trevor Noah have to say now?

The worst part was watching celebrations erupt all over the Palestinian territories. Mere hours after the five people were murdered, residents from Gaza, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, and east Jerusalem took to the streets and fired celebratory gunshots in the air.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad handed out sweets and posted celebratory banners online and Bir Zeit University near Ramallah called for a student rally to support the attack. 

In Gaza, they baked a cake in celebration of the terror attack (icing it with the words “Tel Aviv” operation) and a Palestinian mother named her newborn child after the Bnei Brak terrorist. 

It is important to note that the wave of this Arab terrorism is coming from extremists. The Arab terrorists who murdered civilians last week are not representative of Arab-Israelis (who are also the victims here and who are also the ones treating wounded victims and are in the police force trying to stop the terrorists). The Palestinians who celebrated death on the streets are also extremists.

While this is coming from the fringe, it is still a part of our reality that we can’t ignore, because when we do, we pay a heavy price. The keyboard warriors who spent last May spreading lies and distorting the very real security concerns that exist here are responsible for fostering the hate that took 11 lives. 

Individuals who have never stepped foot in Israel and who have never had to face the types of hardships that we do to in order keep our civilians from terror should either offer their condolences or stay silent.

Despite this terrible week, I am so grateful to be living in Israel. I am grateful to be part of a society that mourns its casualties together. Our best weapon against terrorism is our unity and our inability to let extremism cripple our passionate (and sometimes obnoxious) society from moving forward.

The writer is the cofounder and COO of Social Lite Creative, a digital marketing firm that specializes in geopolitics.