Our Responsibility

Ten years ago I was a soldier in Jerusalem. I was that border policeman sitting behind the bus driver on my way to and from base looking for suspicious activity in the crowd. I was the one stationed at the checkpoints and on the security fence, passing ambulances with urgent medical cases while trying to stop homicidal fanatics from blowing themselves up in the name of Allah.

Until recently, the days of relentless terrorism in Jerusalem seemed like a thing of the past. But for the fifth time in one month I woke up with déjà vu. That haunting past feels like it is back. It is manifesting itself through knives and cars instead of suicide belts and AK47s, but it is still indiscriminately killing innocent people- in a house of worship, on the light rail, and in the middle of the street.

No question marks, no quotation marks, no passive language. This is terrorism.

Against the butcher knives and vehicle-weapons stand the soldiers of the IDF and officers of the Israeli police forces. Their duty is to stop would-be-terrorists before they cause havoc and create grief. More often than not, as I know firsthand, they do.

But that alone is not enough. Both in Israel and around the world we have a collective responsibility to ensure that this latest wave of terrorism achieves nothing.

Alongside the IDF and the Police, in Israel, we have the responsibility to continue living, working and fighting to keep Israeli normality normal. The cowardly, despicable acts that we have experienced in the past months, following a trying summer, are far from enough to shake Israel’s resilience. We have always stood up to cowardly terrorism by continuing to live our lives to the fullest. Never have they got the better of us, and never will they.

And alongside Israel, we have a worldwide responsibility to develop informed opinions and to truly understand the complexities on the ground that Israelis face every day by seeing past the warped, shallow reporting. Israelis need to know that they are not alone and that when innocent people are gunned down and hacked to death in a synagogue, around the world there is an understanding that this is not politics. It is murderous terrorism.

In the past Israel has faced challenging times, and has overcome them thanks to the worldwide support of human decency that has understood and chosen the higher moral ground. Today is another day to join Israel in mourning and solidarity. Tomorrow is the day to show that our lives will not be changed or deterred by despicable acts of barbarism.

May the memories of the five victims of the terrorist attack at Kehillat B’nei Torah in Jerusalem be a blessing. 

About the Author
Yoav Cohen is a career high tech junkie, and former senior emissary of the Jewish Agency to Westchester, NY. He is the photographer and author behind the lens and journal of "Point of View" - a new travel & photography blog on Israel.
Related Topics
Related Posts