Always on the lookout for possible danger—this is Israel’s reality. For months, Israelis have lived with one constant: the knowledge that the next terror attack is not far off. A stabbing in Jerusalem, car-ramming in Hebron, shooting in Tel Aviv, rockets from Gaza; all ‘quasi-normal’, all part of the accepted daily schedule. These attacks and their motivation are nothing new. Rather, they are born out of rampant incitement and a desire to terrorize civilians, kill Israelis, and destroy the Jewish homeland.
As the world has come to slowly understand, terror can strike anywhere. But for Israelis, this is not one tragic event or a particular date we memorialize, it’s 24/7. This relentless campaign of terror is designed to intimidate and scare us, but Israelis will not be victimized. So instead we understand the facts on the ground, the threats and the danger, and then we push it out of mind as soon as possible. An attack on IDF soldiers; it could be your son or daughter who is currently serving. An attack on the Jerusalem light rail; it could’ve been your brother or sister who takes that route to work every morning. An attack at a popular bar in Tel Aviv; it could’ve been you and your friends sitting there celebrating a birthday.
I don’t expect every Facebook user to superimpose their profile picture with blue and white and I don’t expect world leaders to come and march on Dizengoff Street. But I do expect the rest of the world to understand that labeling our products or supporting boycotts on Israeli businesses and universities is biased, hypocritical, morally corrupt, and approaching blatant anti-Semitism.
And while I wish more countries would support Israel and recognize that we should be united in fighting terror, we are prepared to defend ourselves by ourselves against any threat. This is our homeland, our struggle, and our challenge to overcome, and we must succeed. Living life fully is our defiance and we do that by continuing with our daily routines, guarding ourselves against terrorism while refusing to give into fear and despair. Sadly, we are accustomed to responding to the inevitable violence; we mourn, we pick up the pieces, clean the blood from streets and continue to live each day like it’s a gift because nothing is guaranteed.
There will be another siren, another breaking news announcement, another warning of an imminent attack. For 67 years, it has not stopped; the passing of time has not made it easier. But it’s important to realize that despite the challenges, the opportunity to live freely in our homeland is an honor and responsibility that generations earlier could’ve only dreamed of.
Many have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure our safety and security in the modern Jewish State. That is why I live here, that is why I made Aliyah and volunteered for 3 years of combat service in the IDF. Every second we must be vigilant, every second we must appreciate this miracle. Having our own sovereign nation after nearly 2,000 years of exile and oppression is a reminder of Chaim Weizmann’s words that “miracles sometimes occur, but one has to work terribly hard for them.”
Tomorrow brings another day. Hopefully one of peace, quiet, and security. It is up to us to make it so.