Michael J. Salamon
Michael J. Salamon

I Feel Safe Here

As I write this I am sitting on a porch overlooking the Mediterranean. The sea is calm, comforting and despite the heat of the day there is a cool breeze. I have been here about a month working on several projects. Every time I speak with someone back in the States, every time we text or FaceTime they sign off with a “Stay safe!”

Strange statement that “Stay safe” is. The reality is I feel safer here than anywhere else I have been in a very long time. There have been some rockets fired at us, not near, but the precise location of the targeting is irrelevant especially to the terrorist who pulled the trigger. And despite that I feel safer here than places in the US or Mexico or other places I have been to recently.

I am not in a bomb shelter. There are safe rooms should the need arise. Hopefully they will remain available, not utilized. There are no random or mass shootings. It is safe to walk out at night. And it is clear who the enemies are. When we see women and men with guns we know that they have been fully vetted and are there to protect us, not rob us or overthrow the government.

Of course there is crime. Humanity has its dark side and that exists everywhere there are people. But “Stay safe” seems out of place here.

We are told that this is an apartheid country. Listen to the anti-Semites worldwide as they use Israel as the linchpin for their random boundless and unfounded hatred of Jews.

How many Jews live in Muslim countries? Are they not the true apartheid states?

The chief officer at the bank we went to is Muslim, as is the manager of the grocery store, the pharmacist that assisted us, the bus driver and many of the doctors at the local clinic. That is not to say that there aren’t issues between groups. Of course there are. How different are these issues from those between different communities in the US, or anywhere else in the world? Again, this is just the human condition. Still, I feel safe here.

When politicians seek to demonize this country they do so with a big lie approach. It is mere gaslighting and like the grooming that gaslighting is, many fall for it. When Linda Sarsour criticizes Israel she speaks lies designed to create a movement to demonize Jewish people. When a professor at NYU establishes an organization whose only goal seems to be to physically harm Jews how can anyone in America tell me to “Stay safe” here where I feel most safe? If you listen carefully to the comments from these hate filled individuals about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan you can hear … crickets. They say nothing. I am not sure why that is. Perhaps they approve of the Taliban lifestyle. But here their lies and deflections gain limited traction.

It is an interesting phenomenon that Jews are not allowed to define what antisemitism is. We are the only group not given that right to define what racist is to us. I can tell you though that I feel antisemitism emanating from the people who criticize Israel falsely and who hide their hatred of Jews as a call for anti-Zionism.

Most terror organizations in the Middle East are like the Taliban. If we give the anti-Zionist, antisemitic voices credibility we are giving them the air necessary to inspire an overthrow of all that is human, decent, modern and creative.

So I feel safe here. I will stay safe here because we are treated safely. We are protected. When I head back to the US I will “Stay safe” as safe as I can be in a country that, at the moment, seems to have a great appetite and tolerance for hatred and divisiveness.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Salamon ,a fellow of the American Psychological Association, is an APA Presidential Citation Awardee for his 'transformative work in raising awareness of the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse". He is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in New York and the author of numerous articles, several psychological tests and books including "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures" (Urim Publications) and "Every Pot Has a Cover" (University Press of America). His newest book is called "Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims."