For years, Jews in Israel have lived under the threat of Palestinian violence and terror, in spite of continuous calls for peaceful coexistence. This reality is nothing new to us. It preceded the 1967 Six-Day War and preceded 1948, the year the Jewish State was re-established in our ancestral homeland. Noah Imerman z”l was a young Jewish baker in the city of Hebron, where he worked hard to support his family. On August 24, 1929, in the course of what was later known to be The Hebron Massacre, he was brutally and cruelly burnt to death in his bakery, by those who posed as his friends all but a minute before. Together with Noah, almost 70 other members of Hebron’s ancient Jewish community were executed, leaving scores of others injured and maimed and the community shattered. Since then Israel has unfortunately endured many more terrorist attacks against its people, through the Second Intifada of the past decade up to the recent incidents, among which the Henkins, who were shot in the presence of four of their children while driving home and the young Jewish family brutally attacked on their way to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, with Arab merchants standing idly by.
Netanyahu’s recent visit to the United Nations was a symbolic one: on the political front, Israel’s Prime Minister stood on the podium of the United Nations General Assembly, which only served to emphasize Israel’s loneliness, crying out against the world’s treatment of Israel and its acquiescence in the face of genocidal threats against the Jewish State by Iran. On the ground in Israel, Palestinian “heroes” were busy attacking innocent civilians, while Palestinian leadership (Israel’s supposed partners for peace) takes an active part in the incitement.
One of my favorite quotes of Israel’s late Prime Minister and leader, Golda Meir, was one she used in relation to Israel’s success in the battlefield: “Our secret weapon is that we simply have no other alternative”. Indeed. If we learnt something from our long history, it is that “if I am not for myself, then who will be for me?!” and the establishment of a Jewish State was meant to make sure that we, and only we, will be masters of our fate. Jews should fear no more for being Jewish.
For years, Palestinian terrorists have chosen the path of death in their struggle for … Well, I don’t even know what for. If it’s a state they desired, one could have been established years ago. Instead, a 19-year-old Palestinian wakes up one morning with a decision: not about a new idea, or a start up. Not about family or a business opportunity. He decides to take other peoples’ lives. What does that say about the individual? And woe to the society as a whole within which they grow up and live. These terrorists chose to maim and ruin rather than build and create. That is not the way to build a state, a society or achieve independence. No matter how many flags fly over major buildings around the world.
Nothing could be more opposite to the nature of the Jewish State. Ever since modern Israel’s establishment, it focused on the creation of a viable and successful member of the family of nations, one which not only focuses on internal growth but also plays a significant role in making the entire world a better place. Indeed, making life better even in faraway places, as I had the pleasure of witnessing myself when I served in East Africa. many a time I asked myself why is it Israeli experts could travel half the world to lend a helping hand, while they are not welcome only 45 minutes from Jerusalem?!
Israel stands today tall, strong and proud. A democratic state, not free of challenges and problems, but delighted in its achievements, dynamically looking forward and constantly doing better and striving to become better, with a populace more optimistic than most other places on earth about their future.
Yes, we mourn our dead and weep for those who left us prematurely, especially under such dreadful circumstances, but we stray not from our path of building a strong and successful society, a moral leader and an asset to all of humanity.
To Palestinian society we say: embrace life and dialogue. Israel and Israelis are much better for you as friends, than enemies. You have the power to make all of ours lives here better.
To Palestinian terrorists we say: your path of terror and violence will not succeed, but will only bring you further down. The more you try to kill us, the more we will continue to thrive and build. The more you try to injure us, the more we will create and the stronger we shall become in our Home. As some Palestinian children are taught to glorify death, the power of our existence – and the Palestinians’ – lies in the glorification of life.
Remember, we simply have no other choice. And neither do you!