I remember the time when I didn’t know what terrorism was; when I didn’t think planes could be used to hurt people, and when I felt safe traveling all over the world. This changed for me on September 11, 2001 and in the months and years following that infamous date. I am too young to remember the hijackings in the years before 9/11, and too old to forget the feeling of not knowing. Even though the terrorism still existed without my knowing, for me, ignorance was bliss. My friends, family, and other residents of Israel cannot say the same. Nevertheless, I still wish this for the next generation. I hope the day will come when my future children can live without fear of terrorists on their planes, or rockets landing in their backyards, or being attacked simply because they are Jewish.

After listening to various American media reports over the last few days, as well as an interview with U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, I wondered, do others share this wish? At the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Flynn said, “If Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse… Is there going to be a peace in the Middle East? Not in my lifetime.” Is he hinting that Israel should stop its current operation and deal with the status quo because things might not change? Should people all over the world accept 250 girls being abducted from their schools, or people being murdered because of their religious beliefs, or rockets being fired at civilians, preventing every attempt to lead a normal life, in fear that something worsemight evolve? What could be worse? I hear reports of alleged factions currently in Gaza that could potentially pose an even more radial threat than what is currently being faced by Israel. What does that even mean, “a more radical threat”? I think Hamas poses a pretty “radical threat”, in practice and in accordance to their charter.

In my opinion, we have hit rock bottom. Not only in Israel, but also in the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Iran France, Turkey, North Korea, and Nigeria (just to name a few).

Mr. Flynn, I am not sure that peace will be achieved in the Middle East today and I am not sure that it will take place in my lifetime either, but I am not willing to give up the fight. I know I am not living in Israel and do not hold Israeli citizenship (one day…), but I do feel the pain of war and I see the results of terrorism. I worry about my loved ones and about the world that will exist when I’m gone. I recognize that current events in Israel and Europe are manifestations of phenomena that exist all over the world, even in the United States. Terrorism, Anti-Semitism, Racism, Homophobia, and the like, are not acceptable anywhere, not matter who is delivering the message. And I want change.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, doctors create a treatment plan and seek to eradicate the cancerous cells from the body as soon as possible; they don’t pause out of fear that the cancer might grow back, or grow elsewhere. The same must be done with Hamas. We cannot live in fear of what might happen, but rather, we must take the necessary steps today so that those living with the disease can return to normal as soon as possible. Now is the time to stop terrorism. Now is the time to pave the way for change and maintain hope for a better future.