It was a gruesome murder that shocked us all. The horrific image of a man and woman, a father and mother, a husband and wife being gunned down in their car by terrorists as four of their young children watched from the back seat is forever ingrained in our hearts and minds. As we learned about the brutal terrorist attack that claimed the lives of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin and instantly made their six children orphans, we mourned their tragic loss and grieved for their family. Little did we know that this heinous act of terror was just the beginning.
The ghastly attack on the Henkin family was followed by a wave of terror that swept through Israel. There were multiple stabbings in the Old City of Jerusalem, including one in which two men were killed, while the wife and infant child of one of the victims were injured. There was the man who was stabbed in Petach Tikvah, the Israeli soldiers who were stabbed in Kiryat Gat and Afula, and the man who was stabbed in Hebron. There was the terrorist who attacked people with a screwdriver in Tel Aviv. There were numerous stone-throwing incidents and firebomb attacks around the country. The attacks may have varied in their execution, but they were equally vicious.
I cannot help but think that if this outbreak of terrorism occurred in a country other than Israel, we would have heard unequivocal and unqualified condemnation from the international community. Instead, the widespread calls for a cessation of the violence that should have been ubiquitous have been conspicuously muted. The international outrage that one would expect in the wake of the terror attacks against Israelis that have become all too prevalent is curiously absent.
The fact that people have become somewhat immune to the terrorist attacks that take place fairly regularly in Israel is troubling. The complacency that pervades after “yet another terrorist attack” is extremely disconcerting. It is almost as if it takes a stark reminder in the form of a particularly horrific attack that shocks the conscience, such as the Henkin murder, to jolt us and remind us of the lasting impact that each terrorist attack has on our nation’s psyche. It is akin to the unforgettable massacre in Itamar in March 2011, in which five members of the Fogel family, including three young children and their parents, were slaughtered by terrorists as they slept.
The reality is that the victims in each of these terror attacks were targeted solely because they were Jewish. I am not quite sure how and when targeting and killing Jews became an accepted practice, but it must stop. The international community, whose relative silence in the wake of the terrorist attacks has been deafening, needs to intercede and take swift action against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in an effort to curb the violence and end the incitement. Those who encourage and endorse terrorism aimed at Jews are as culpable as the murderers who carry out the acts of terror.
As the parent of a daughter who lives in Israel, the rising tide of terrorism concerns me not just on a communal level, but on a personal level as well. When I spoke to my daughter at the end of a day that saw multiple terrorist attacks throughout Israel, I mentioned to her that she should make sure to be aware of her surroundings and to travel safely. Although she acknowledged my concern by telling me that she is always careful, she also noted that if something is going to happen, it is going to happen regardless and there is not much that can be done about it. She then proceeded to inform me that she was in Tel Aviv at the time when a 19-year-old Palestinian attacked passerby near the city’s Azrieli mall and described me how she felt when she saw the police helicopters hovering over the scene of the stabbing attack.
I yearn for the day when I no longer have to remind my daughter in Israel to travel safely. In order for that day to come, the barbaric acts of terror against Israelis must cease. Wake up world…this deadly tsunami of terror is not going to recede on its own. When it comes to halting the incitement and ending the violence, the intervention of the international community is critical and long overdue. It is time to act before an already tenuous situation spirals further out of control. The lives of innocent people and the future of the State of Israel depend on it.