Irene Rabinowitz
At home in Jerusalem

The jihadists are coming! The jihadists are coming!

Whether history or Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem have revised the tale, every kid in the United States learned about Paul Revere’s ride in April of 1775 at an early age: “The British are coming! The British are coming!”  It is said that this early warning about the British incursion paved the way for the successful revolution that eventually deposed British rule from the then colonies.  And the myth of American’s fighting against tyranny was born and continues to this day among some.

As the furor over Israel’s response to blatant terror attacks by Hamas increases, demonstrations against Israel are occurring all over the globe and are taking a particularly nasty anti-Semitic turn. It is not just Israel, it is all Jews who are subject to the rage of those who like their Jews better when they do not fight back.  And in the United States, demonstrations include those who believe that support for Israel by successive administrations harms the country. And demonstrations also include those who are just out and out Jew haters.  And some of them are Jews who have bought into the anti-Semitic propaganda that Israel should just accept the terrorism that Hamas has wrought.

In making the decision to leave the United States and go home to Israel later this year, I tried to avoid the navel gazing that often accompanies these kind of changes to a life path. But it is unavoidable and I am looking not down, but out at the country of my birth. Has this nation of believers in a just fight turned into a nation of ostriches who never look up or out?  If Osama Bin Laden himself had landed in Boston in 2001, and some idealistic American rode through town yelling “Jihadists are coming! Jihadists are coming!” the country would have gone back to television, popcorn, and denial.  Meh.

We only have to look back forty plus years for a hint. On June 6, 1968, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.  In 1989, Sirhan told David Frost, “My only connection with Robert Kennedy was his sole support of Israel…..”.  At that time, support for Israel was a badge of honor among most Americans.

Since then the warnings have come fast and furious. As much as some would like to believe that support of Israel is the only reason that the United States has more recently been targeted by Islamic terrorists (word that is rarely used but supplanted by the lesser “militants” which used to be a word associated with second wave feminists when burning bras), it is not the only reason.  Free thought is the antithesis of sharia law and is not tolerated in the vision of a global jihad.

The April 1983 attack on the United States Embassy in Beirut and the attack on the United States Marine barracks in the same city later that year were clear warnings.  Ten years later, in February 1993 a truck bomb was detonated at the World Trade Center. Six people were killed and over one hundred were injured. Those subsequently arrested frequently prayed at a New Jersey mosque. After being convicted, Ramzi Yousef is sentenced to 240 years in prison for his role in organizing the bombing. “I am a terrorist and proud of it,” he tells the court.

In November 1995 a bomb was set off in Riyadh at a military training facility used by the United States and Saudi Arabia. This scenario was duplicated in 2003 and again in 2012. Riyadh is a popular target because of the many sites that have a United States presence.

In 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by suicide bombers while refueling at the port in Aden, Yemen.  Al-Jazeera broadcasts Osama bin Laden reading a poem mentioning the attack ”In Aden, the young man stood up for holy war and destroyed a destroyer feared by the powerful.”  This was in March 2001. No mention of Israel or Jews; the United States was targeted because of its power.  Could there have been a more obvious warning?

Do the United States administrations have to get slapped across the face with shouts of “wake up!” to take these warnings seriously?  There is an indication that some FBI field officers might have given strong warnings prior to September 11, 2001 that there might be a terror attack in the offing based on flight school reports and street buzz. If this is true, it does not mean that the September 11th could have been averted, but there would have been a better chance if more resources had been dedicated and if better use of the information collected had been instituted.  Invading Iraq and Afghanistan did nothing, except give jihadists good recruiting tools. By not understanding the culture, the threat was increased.  After each terror incident, including the Boston Marathon bombings, Americans seem surprised.  Immediate anger is followed by apathy.

Granted the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 may have been implemented by two muddled losers, but the influence of jidhadist theory was their inspiration. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of young people in the United States working their way to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and elsewhere with a fervor for Islamic terror.  As the battle for supremacy among different factions in the Islamic world rages on, each side is collecting acolytes from the western world.

When three Israeli kids are murdered by terrorists, the silence from the United States was stunning, especially since one of the boys was also an American citizen. Tacit comments and an acknowledgement of the sad loss of young lives is not enough.  The reluctance of the past and present administrations to aggressively take action or even argue against the increased risk of Islamic terror is the utmost in political correctness gone wild.  Yes, Osama Bin Laden is dead, but the back of Al Qaeda and its offshoots and equally dangerous enemies was not broken as many Americans believed.  It has only strengthened. The only thing these warring factions agree on is “death to Israel” and “death to America.”  The reluctance of the government of the United States to actually acknowledge this continues. And that this reluctance to challenge global jihad in any meaningful way risks the lives of millions of people, makes it even more shameful. And scary.  This is a wake up moment:  Israel’s proportional response to Hamas makes Israel the front line against global terror.

For quite a while, I have said that I am not leaving the United States to live in Israel because I am anti-American, but because I feel more at home these days when in Israel.  That holds true. I am not an alarmist, but what recent events have taught me is that until the United States heeds the call of a changing world where no one welcomes the theory of exported democracy and in which global jihad spreads, there will be increased terror within its borders.  And this Jewish American, born and bred just miles from Paul Revere’s ride, would rather live in a country that protects its citizens rather than one that acquiesces out of fear to those who would use terror within its borders.




About the Author
Irene Rabinowitz made aliyah in 2014 and lives in Jerusalem. Prior to making aliyah, she lived in a small odd town at the tip of Cape Cod for 28 years. She lived in New York City for 16 years as a young adult (or old child), but is a Rhode Islander by birth. Irene has served as a local elected official and retired from a long career in non-profit management at the end of 2013, after serving as the Executive Director of Helping Our Women for 18 years. She has worked at the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance and retired in 2020 from her position as the Resource Development Manager at the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center. She recently retired from her position as a Consultant at Landman Strategic Fundraising. Pro cycling fan. T1D.