Barak Raz
Business consultant, former IDF spokesperson, Jewish, Zionist, human, in no particular order

Awake, yet?

In Israel, we either went to sleep last night or woke this morning to terrible, horrific news, that as we can see from a quick glance at social media, shocked and appalled the world no less. Some might see themselves as bystanders to what happened in France, but I have argued and will continue to argue, that these events are of global proportions and should concern political, defense, homeland security, law enforcement, and intelligence leaders around the world.

In this latest act of terrorism, dozens have been murdered, including children, in the beautiful coastal town of Nice during Bastille Day by a car-ramming attack. My heart aches for France right now and I wish the French people and the French government all the strength and the courage to meet the escalating challenges they are facing head on. The reports of ~70 dead in a car-ramming attack is insane absolutely terrifying. We here in Israel, unfortunately experienced these types of car-ramming attacks in Israel for years, but never has it reached this level, so our shock is certainly unrestricted.

It is concerning and mind-boggling when wondering how such a thing can happen, and it is even more concerning and boggles the mind further when considering what the future may hold. France, no doubt, will continue to be shaped and molded as it apparently continues to be battered, attack after attack. Once, these attacks were targeting only the Jewish community of France, and was regrettably unnoticed, but since Charlie Hebdo, when it has become a national and international issue, France no doubt has begun to look itself in the mirror. The question is, as the rest of the world watches on in dismay and disbelief, what internalizations are being made? How is the world trying to learn from Israel’s unfortunate experiences with terror when understanding the problems it now faces? Above all else, how will this all convert into solid action?

A few thoughts to consider:

1. Prayers aren’t enough, we should all know this, so why then are social media poats consisting of #prayforfrance and not #actforfrance or  #stoptheterror. Firm, decisive, and resolute action is needed – and now. Recalling the ridiculous video of the father with his son at the vigil in Paris some 8 months ago – listen to the little boy, who his father no doubt confused and destroyed with senseless words: no, flowers and candles will not stop the bad guys (absolutely absurd).

2. Can we please stop calling these acts “violent extremism;” call a ‘duck’ a ‘duck,’ and face the problem head on – Islamic terror is the term that describes what’s happening here. It is agreeable that the world appears to be experiencing an overall rise in acts of extreme violence, perpetrated by individuals and/or groups that are fueled by hatered, radical ideas, and media glorification and sensationalism (from video games, through the Internet and social media, to the 24 hour news-cycle). Nonetheless, bunching these acts together is making no sense, and by labeling it as such, are we really giving each of these grave issues the attention they individually, rightfully deserve. On the matter of Islamic terror in the West, we mustn’t be fooled or naive – more will come, unfortunately. It’s worth noting that as of my writing this, it appears ISIS has not taken credit. If this attack was not ISIS, and this turns out to be yet another group, or worse, a lone-attacker (the likes of which have been carrying out the majority of terror attacks in Israel in recent years), France is about to face a whole new series of dilemmas.

3. In Israel, we’ve been having our people getting plowed into by car-ramming terrorists for years now. In addition to shootings, bombings, stabbings, and murderous acts of all sorts. If someone came out and started pointing at “root causes” for this atrocious act in France, they would be ostracized! And rightfully so. Nothing can justify such barbarism. Same goes for Israel, by the way. Worth keeping that in mind next time people are discussing the “root cause” of a young girl who was murdered in her bed a few weeks ago, or of the dozens of stabbing, bombing, shooting, car-ramming attacks Israel experiences quite regularly (as absurd as ‘regularly’ sounds).

About the Author
Barak's observations, opinions, and ideas are drawn from a wide range of professional, academic, and personal experiences, which together fostered in his passions and areas of concern. A former IDF officer and spokesperson of eight years into 2014, Barak has since ventured into the business world of investments and international trade from Israel through East Africa and back to the United States. Barak has an EMBA from Kellogg-Recanati, a joint program of Tel Aviv and Northwestern Universities (2018). Barak also earned a MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University (2011) and a BA in Political Science, Judaic Studies, and International Studies from SUNY-Binghamton University (2005).
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