Israel should add Diaspora terror casualties to list of fallen - opinion

Why should we also remember the ones killed in antisemitic attacks? As they were murdered for the same degrading purpose that will never be achieved: to remove the Jews from the face of the earth.

 Demonstrators gather at the Place de la Republique square, to protest against antisemitism and commemorate the 2012 Toulouse attack against a Jewish school that left three children and an adult dead, in Paris, France March 13, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER)
Demonstrators gather at the Place de la Republique square, to protest against antisemitism and commemorate the 2012 Toulouse attack against a Jewish school that left three children and an adult dead, in Paris, France March 13, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER)

The State of Israel quotes the number of IDF casualties and the number of casualties of terror attacks separately. And every year, this division raises questions. Since no one in the world can decide whose death is more chilling, I will not express my opinion on the issue. I would like to talk about a third set of casualties. They are not soldiers. And they are not civilians. And yet, they are left without mention and without knowing how many of them were murdered, without an official count of their numbers. I'm talking about those killed in antisemitic attacks.

Hatred of the Jews is as ancient as our people. The Sages demanded the name of Mount Sinai because it is reminiscent of the word hate - sina’ah. Why is it called Sinai? Because antisemitism began the moment the people of Israel were born. All over the world, almost every day, Jews are harmed because they are Jews. Unfortunately, the attackers succeed. Planned attacks against Jewish targets have claimed the lives of hundreds, sometimes even by the same Palestinian organizations we know too well. We know their names. We know who the victims are. But unfortunately, the law in Israel does not apply to those killed outside of Israel. There is a memorial ceremony held by the Zionist institutions, but if they are not Israeli citizens, and the attack did not take place in Israel, there is no state ceremony to commemorate them

During the Shabbat morning prayers, a terrorist entered the "Tree of Life Community" synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "All Jews must die," he shouted in English, killing 11 worshipers. Four years earlier, during the morning prayers, two terrorists entered the Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof in Jerusalem. "Allah is Great," he shouted in Arabic and murdered six worshipers. The list is lengthy and painful. The attack at the kosher Jewish supermarket in Paris and the attack at a supermarket in Kiryat Yovel in Jerusalem. The bombing of the "Goldenberg" Jewish restaurant in Paris and the bombing attack of the "Matza" restaurant in Haifa.

Yaakov Hagoel ( Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)Yaakov Hagoel ( Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Terrorism does not distinguish between blood according to the color of the passport. Through the rifle of the Muslim terrorist who murdered seven people in Toulouse, three of them children, there was no "French Jew," only a "Jew." If he could reach any of us, in Israel or around the globe, he would not be lazy and wouldn’t hesitate to shoot us all. The enemy is the same enemy, the war is the same war, the Jew is the same Jew. So why do the victims of antisemitism across the globe not find a place in Israeli memory?

Norma Rabinovich, a Mexican Jew, who was killed in a terrorist attack at a Chabad house in Mumbai, is not counted as a murdered victim. The five Israeli citizens murdered with her are. Norma was scheduled to make aliya a few days after the attack. Relatives of the 85 people killed in the attack on a Jewish building in Argentina in 1994 will not be recognized by the National Insurance Institute as bereaved families if they immigrate to Israel. And I am not talking about a pension or monetary reward. It is enough just to be recognized for their loss and pain.

These fallen were murdered for the same degrading purpose that will never be achieved: to remove us from the face of the earth. Their lives were cut short just because they were Jews. In 1963, the Day of Remembrance for IDF Martyrs was regulated by law. In 1980, the victims of the underground, the Mossad and the Prison Guard Service were added. In 1998, civilians who were victims of terror were added. It is time to address the victims of antisemitism, our Jewish brethren, as well.

 Yaakov Hagoel is Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Jewish Agency.