When I started writing this blog, I thought I could avoid writing about terrorism and politics, which automatically communicates the fact that I’m from Israel. Unfortunately, I just can’t, as the reality is so hard that I can’t ignore it.
Being an Israeli is not a simple thing to be. Swiss or Canadian citizens can’t understand how it feels when your national identity immediately makes you an enemy of so many people without them even knowing you. When I'm abroad, I never walk around with a shirt or bag bearing logos in Hebrew, or an Israeli flag. I just don’t know how people will react. Only if you ask me will I identify myself as Israeli. Then, the response will be either joy and great love - or hate and abuse. Indifference is not an option. And that’s without knowing me at all. However, I'm not embarrassed by my nationality – in fact, just the opposite!
In recent months, there have been too many terrorist attacks in Israel and around the world, most of them carried out by Muslim terrorists. Yes, yes, Muslim! We should name the source of all this evil. It’s also important for me to make an important distinction here: I don’t blame all Muslims, wherever they are, but rather radical Islam. History has shown us that people can be at their most murderous when working under the name of religion. In the Middle Ages, they acted in the name of radical Christianity, and now it's radical Islam whose goal, openly spoken by radical Muslim, is to conquer the whole world!
I’m sad that there are still quite a few western people whose hatred of Jews so blinds them that they still insist that the source of all this evil is the Israeli occupation. (By the way, I’ll address this issue in a separate post later.) But if you don't believe me, please just listen to those extremists who say themselves that their goal is Muslim domination - the Israeli entity has nothing to do with their aspirations.
In the second half of the twentieth century, many Muslim immigrants came to western European countries. I think there’s great irony in this process. After World War II, Jews who survived the Holocaust didn't want to stay in Europe and migrated to Israel and the United States. My mom's mom was born in Budapest, Hungary, and my mother's father and my father's parents were Polish. My father was born in Germany. My husband’s roots lie in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Germany. In other words, my husband and I have European roots. European Jewry contributed greatly to the growth and prosperity of European culture until World War II, when the ancient hatred of Jews eliminated this extensive and fruitful community. This is where the irony lies. Jews left Europe and gave way to Muslim immigrants, who came, and were warmly embraced. Europeans didn't want to act again in an intolerant way against minorities, and therefore welcomed those Muslim immigrants. Among those immigrants, there are quite a few educated people and people of culture, but, unfortunately, a substantial proportion of them are extremist Muslims and some are even pro-terrorist operations. (According to a UK survey from 2016, 23% of the Muslim population in the UK would like to have Sharia law in the UK, while in other countries the numbers are similar.)
As an Israeli, I’m used to wars and acts of terror. Even elementary school children in Israel learn how to identify a suspicious object and practice running down to the shelters. Since I was born, there have been quite a few wars in Israel, and I’ve had to go to the shelters more than a few times. (I must say, though, that there are Israelis living near the border who have it much harder than Israelis who live in the center of the country, like me.) I'm writing this post from my secure room. This is a special room built into every apartment built after 1991 (the time of the first Gulf War, when Iraq attacked Israel without Israel even participating in the war) in case of emergency. More and more places where I spend my time are places that have been subject to terrorist attack. A few months ago, it was Sarona Market, Tel Aviv - a food and dining complex I love to go to. Before that, there was a terror attack at Manta Ray, an excellent fish restaurant in Tel Aviv, right next to my workplace, and a place I enjoy eating. How do I live like this, you probably ask yourself? Very calmly, to tell the truth. The chances of getting hurt in a car accident are still greater, so I just live with this reality, although I must admit that, after the last attack in the Sarona Market, something in me faltered. I found it hard to return to normal. I have the strange sense of living in a big roulette wheel, and I wonder how many times I'll be lucky…
The Israeli reality is now global. In the last few years, Berlin, Nice, Brussels and Orlando have suffered very deadly terror attacks. But it’s also somewhat hypocritical that we’re mainly concerned with attacks in the West. African and Arab states suffer no less murderous attacks, and they aren't given the press coverage of Western terrorist attacks; any killing of innocent people by radical Muslim terrorists or any kind of terrorists is terrible in my eyes.
I’ve no idea how the world can solve this problem. The first step, I think, may be to stop thinking of those terrorists as individuals or lunatics. They are not. They act in the name of an extremist religion.