My Holocaust-survivor mother, who as a young girl spent the war years running and hiding in Belgium and France, was shaken by the news of the recent terrorist attack in Toulouse. “They are killing Jewish children in Europe again,” she lamented. And I, her daughter, now living in Jerusalem, could only empathize with her pain.
It is not just Jewish children in France in danger of being murdered in cold blood. Just last week hundreds of thousands of Jewish children, along with their families in southern Israel, were the targets of Islamic jihadist terrorists firing missiles at them.
Muslim extremists commonly justify the deliberate murder of innocent Jewish and Israeli civilians as an act of retaliation for what they deem to be the predicament of the Palestinians. Yet it is important to state loudly and clearly that jihadi terrorism is a grave threat to all law-abiding citizens — not just Jews. In France, it was not only Jews who were targeted by Mohammed Merah; French soldiers were also murdered, and by chance, they were all French citizens from minority groups, some of them Muslim.
Global jihadist networks are motivated by extremist interpretations of Islamic religious doctrines and by opposition to secular governments. They use such beliefs to justify overthrowing secular governments, establishing regimes based on Shariah Islamic law, attacking Western targets and removing all traces of Western influence in Muslim countries. Al-Qaeda, which apparently Merah was connected to, is only one such group.
It is clear however, that attacks launched by terrorists and Muslim extremists against Israeli and Jewish individuals and institutions are specifically focused on Israel. This fanatical and murderous anti-Zionist sentiment, which is, in its most basic form, anti-Semitism, is something that Jewish communities all over the world must deal with on a daily basis. As Danny Yatom, Israel’s former Mossad chief, stated recently, the attack on the Jewish school in France is part of a “wave of terror” being directed against Jews and Israelis worldwide.
Some examples of major attacks include:
- Last month’s bomb attack on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in New Delhi, which injured the wife of the Israeli defense attache, who was on her way to pick up her children from school. Indian authorities have implicated Iran.
- May 2009: Four American Muslims were arrested for attempting to blow up two New York City synagogues.
- November 2008: The terrorists who attacked Nariman House, known as the Chabad Jewish Center in Mumbai, India did so to “avenge the atrocities on Palestinians.” Four Israelis and two Jews from other countries were recovered from Mumbai’s Jewish Center.
- November 2008: Rabbi and Jewish students abused in Berlin: A rabbi and eight rabbinical students were harassed and abused by two people in a passing car in Berlin.
- June 2008: Jewish teen beaten in Paris: A 17-year-old French Jew, Rudy Haddad, was attacked and beaten by a group of youths of North African origin in Paris. Haddad suffered several broken ribs and a fractured skull.
- July 2006: Seattle Jewish Federation shooting: Naveed Afzal Haq, an American of Pakistani descent, killed one person and seriously injures five others in a shooting spree at a Jewish center in Seattle, Washington. Dayna Klein, who was shot in the arm by Haq, said in an interview about the incident, “He stated that he was a Muslim, [and] this was his personal statement against Jews and the Bush administration for giving money to Jews, and for us Jews for giving money to Israel, about Hezbollah, the war in Iraq.”
- February 2006: Ilan Halimi tortured and killed in Paris. A Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, 23, was kidnapped by a gang of Muslim immigrants in Paris and tortured for three weeks. He was left tied to a lamppost and later died of his injuries. Police said the gang attempted to kidnap several Jewish youths before capturing Halimi.
- November 2003: Istanbul synagogue bombings: Al-Qaeda operatives carried out truck-bombings at two synagogues in Istanbul, killing 27 people, including six Turkish Jews, and injuring more than 300.
- July 1994: Bombing of the Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) Community Center: The AMIA center was bombed, leaving 85 people dead and approximately 300 injured. The Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah was the primary suspect for the bombing. The special prosecutor in Argentina, responsible for the case, called for the arrest of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 2006, accusing the Iranian authorities of directing Hezbollah to carry out the attack.
- March 1992: Israeli embassy bombing in Buenos Aires: A truck bomb laden with explosives was driven into the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 29 people and injuring more than 240. It is widely believed that the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah and key Iranian figures were behind the bombing. Imad Mugniyeh, a Hezbollah commander who was killed in February 2008, was indicted by Argentina for the attack.
The sad tragedy is that the Muslim extremists who use the Palestinian cause as a way to recruit terrorists at the same time have been working to deny the Palestinians a state for so many years. Israel has called for a two-state solution and has been calling on Palestinians leadership to negotiate with it. However, some Palestinian leaders instead look to Iran to help them terrorize Israeli civilians. It’s time for Islamic fundamentalists the world over to stop using Israel as an excuse for their immoral and inhuman acts. It’s time for all children to grow up safe regardless of their religion.