Israelis are used to the visuals. The solemn flag draped coffins that bear the bodies of those that return home to Israel, killed because hatred knows no borders. Targeted because they are Jewish.
This past week, our collective hearts were shattered when terror struck a group of Israeli tourists who had just arrived for their vacations in Bulgaria. These were husbands, wives, best friends, sons and daughters. One of the victims had just discovered that she was pregnant and was carrying another precious soul. And then their lives and many others were changed in an instant by a vicious, hatred-filled enemy.
Terrorism is stealth, knows no boundaries and its intentions are of the direst cruelty.
One could have mistaken the Bulgaria blast suicide terrorist as just another long-haired, backpack carrying student. I am not going to immortalise him by mentioning his name and neither am I going to refer to him as a “militant” and dilute his heinous intentions but as a terrorist. A coward who will never have to take responsibility and accountability for the deaths he has caused and the lives he has shattered. He will never have to look the victims families in the eye and see their pain.
It was a poignant coincidence that this bombing occurred on the 18th anniversary of the AMIA Bombings in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it is a brutal reminder that despite Israel’s warnings and appeals to the international community we continue to fight an asymmetrical war with Iran and its proxy agent Hizbollah.
One would have thought that after having endured the number of terror attacks that Israelis have, the international community would have a tad bit more empathy for the victims. Sadly this isn’t so. This week, the world’s finest sporting event, the Olympics starts. The Olympics celebrates sportsmanship and epitomises good will. Athletes aspire to fulfill its motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) but the Olympic organising committee seem to prefer Forgetful, Uninterested and Complacent. Despite a vigorous international campaign launched by the Israeli government and endorsed by many western governments, including Germany, the Committee is still refusing to allow for one minute of silence in remembrance of the slain 11 athletes. We will not allow their deaths to be in vain and will never become blase to the effects of ongoing terror campaigns.
In the interest of sportsmanship, goodwill and the apolitical spirit of the Olympics we continue to ask for this minute of silence. Remember them as athletes who aspired to faster, higher, stronger. Remember them not for just the manner in which they died but as competitors representing the hopes of a nation.
Remember these athletes as men, husbands, lovers, sons, brothers and friends. Join the global campaigns that have gone viral across various social media platforms. Say the Yizkor prayer in memoriam at your synagogue this Friday, stand in silence for a minute this Friday and remember these names:
It will only take a minute.