For a week, I have been planning on writing a post titled “Why Hamas is Ruining My Dating Life,” a title that made me laugh and cry at the same time. I was going to write about how, on dates, when I talk about wanting to live in Israel, the man’s face will instantly, yet politely, sour. He muses on how his career is here. Sometimes, he even thinks aloud about the family he would be leaving behind, his Jewish mother worrying on a constant basis whether her son was safe and sound. No Jewish boy wants to disappoint his mother, right?
One Israeli yored recently told me he had not been in Israel in over 4 years because he just didn’t see the point of visiting a place where he would be in constant fear. He did not want to put his life into someone else’s hands. I understand that sentiment. My family worries about these things, too, but Israel and her culture are firmly ingrained in our hearts. My parents and I live in the US, yet my mom watches Israeli TV shows on the computer all the time (she and my dad love the show Ramzor). I read the major news sites incessantly (what Israeli doesn’t obsess over the news?). My dad will still live-whatsapp me details from the recent Israel v. Bosnia soccer game. Both my siblings, and my nieces, live in the heart of Tel Aviv. We are connected, so our responsibility is to protect and love Israel.
Last night, when I was about to go to sleep comfortably in Manhattan, the news of what transpired at the Har Nof synagogue on Tuesday morning hit me hard. Terrorist acts against innocent Jews have not happened in New York, at this caliber, in many years. We don’t experience anti-semitism on the level that we have recently seen in Europe. We don’t have to fear sitting at bus stops because we inherently know that it is safe. The kippot can stay on. I know that I am sheltered from the violence and hatred that is being felt, like a shock wave, around the world. So why would anyone want to leave? Loyalty.
The people in Jerusalem are not sheltered or protected. They face a harsh truth on a daily basis: evil men and women lurk around the corner waiting to cause harm to Jews. Young or old, it doesn’t matter to them. A human life is evil’s best currency. They will go to any length to achieve their goals; and so, we should go longer. Harder. We need to meet Hamas/the PLO/Fatah, look them in the eye, and say “we don’t fear you, we will take you down.” Until we do so, they will not take us seriously and more Jews will continue to see Israel as a hotbed for terrorism. Evil will win and we cannot let it.
To the five innocent souls we lost Tuesday, may God avenge their blood.