Rina Ne'eman
Translator. Traveler. Challah baker. Salad maker.

A letter to my Facebook friends – and yours

I wonder whether my Facebook Friends around the world have perceived me over the past six weeks or so as a person obsessed. It is hard to believe that just six weeks ago, a journalist friend called me one glorious and care-free Friday morning as I was happily taking in the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, and told me that there had been a terrorist kidnapping of three young Israeli boys, but it was not yet public. It is difficult to fathom that it has been just six weeks since the magnificent Israeli summer escalated and conflagrated so miserably. And I, like so many other Israelis and Jews, have been posting furiously, out of a desire for others to understand the reality in which Israel lives and the difficult decisions that it must make.

Hopefully, not all of you have unsubscribed from my updates. So, for the few of my Facebook Friends who are still reading me, this one’s for you – especially those of you who have no personal connection to Israel. I know that you don’t see the same things that I do every day in your news feed, and that you read and view different media.

I am not a fan of infographics and I find that much of the social media milieu that aims to support Israel is too slick and orchestrated for my liking. What I would ask you is this: imagine a tiny country that has been subjected to *thousands* of missiles aimed at its cities and towns, missiles that are launched at you and your loved ones *every, single day* for weeks, now. Imagine that all of its citizens must drop everything, scoop up their children and run to find the nearest bomb shelter in less time than it takes me to find where I left my shoes. Imagine a reality in which – Al Qaeda, say – had dug dozens of assault tunnels around New York City or Los Angeles or Sioux City, Iowa, and all that their operatives need do is to lift a manhole cover to emerge and launch a murderous, mass terrorist attack.

You keep hearing about Hamas in the news – maybe you don’t really know who they are. Well, we do. Hamas is responsible for a long list of heinous terrorist attacks in Israel, including the Dolphinarium attack in Tel Aviv, in which 21 teenagers were murdered by a suicide bomber, the Sbarro Pizzeria attack in Jerusalem, in which 15 people were killed, including five people from the same family, the Park Hotel Passover massacre in Netanya, which claimed 30 victims, and more. And more. And more. And more.

Friends, I am confused. The world cries out against the cruelties of Al Qaeda, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram and stands united in its outrage at atrocities like 9/11, the Westgate Mall massacre in Kenya and the abduction of the schoolgirls in Nigeria. But somehow, inexplicably, in our fight against the very same genre of terror, we are portrayed as the perpetrator, as being guilty of war crimes. And at the very same time, we are witnessing the most vile manifestations of anti-Semitism around the globe. Why?

I don’t know a single person in Israel who does not ache at the need to act in Gaza and does not hurt for innocent Palestinian civilians. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza nine years ago. You can argue about the details, but the fact remains that the international community had pledged unprecedented amounts of money in aid to the Palestinians, in the hope that what (still) has the potential to be a paradise by the sea could be built up and made to flourish. Instead, we got thousands of missiles raining down upon Israel, death tunnels reinforced with untold tons of concrete, leading to the heart of our communities, and Hamas.

Israel does not want to bomb Palestinian residential neighborhoods and certainly did not want a ground invasion. It is a well-established fact that Hamas launches its missiles at Israel’s cities and towns from apartment buildings. From schools, From hospitals. So, what choice do we have but to act? It is a gut-wrenching choice, but I ask you – what would you want your country to do in that situation?

Israel is not only fighting its own war. It is fighting the war against the ever-encroaching and excruciatingly violent phenomenon of global Jihadism. I, for one, think that we deserve your whole-hearted support.

About the Author
Translator. Traveler. Challah baker. Salad maker. Enamored savta. Proud Israeli. Family, food, fashion and photography. Tel Aviv is my happy place.
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