I cannot get the image out of my head.
Not the one of the child dead on the shore, nor the one of the tearful mother at her son’s grave. No – none of those terrifies me.
But that knife held aloft in the hands of shouting Palestinians, that large knife with a deeply grooved edge and a knuckle-duster handle. I visualize that knife entering a human body, silencing a voice, ending a life. That is terrifying.
How in the world did we reach such a frightening point in our history? Surely someone out there knows we collectively have suffered enough. Isn’t it time we were left in peace?
Our story could easily be one of richness and great achievements. After all, we do have a state and a place for all Jews. And that state has many accomplishments to boast of. Talk of all the Nobel laureates or the economic gains, the Internet revolution and the medical discoveries. Even more astounding is the fact that Israel has just about solved the world’s water problems. There is so much to be proud of, so much to lay claim to.
But what do we hear? Not praise, but moral indignation from foolish or hateful sources. The world seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Israel and the Jews. No one seems to feel the pain of the Israeli Jew who fears to take a bus ride or go for coffee, or is afraid of losing a son. Instead, they only hear misinformed or dis-informed tales that they immediately believe. Why?
Why doesn’t the world care that my nieces and nephews are in danger, that my beloved sister-in-law is afraid to leave her house. My daughter-in-law called to tell me her friend was hysterical – as in emotional instability caused by trauma – because there was no more pepper spray to buy. How can people live in such a state of panic? The truth is they cannot.
My grandson saw a video clip of news from Israel in his school. He immediately texted his dad: “Are all the Jews in Israel going to die?” Dad emailed back, “Not to worry. We have a state and an army. They will protect us.” But no one can be protected from these random acts of murder. It is this randomness that so infuriates and terrifies. Added to all that is the fact that no one seems able or willing to do something about it. I don’t know what – but something.
We cannot live in silence now. Maybe it is our task to get the word out about Israel. Perhaps it is our mission to tell all about her marvelous accomplishments, to remind everyone that there may be errors and even human rights violations, but Israel is not focused on destroying a people. Israel is not genocidal. It is not declaring the death of all Palestinians, nor will it allow the death of all Israelis.
There are solutions to accommodate both peoples in this vast territory called the Middle East. We, who for whatever reasons don’t live in Israel, must join the battle somehow. We can be the mouthpieces for our families in Israel. We can talk to the world.
In the face of our friends’ and neighbours’ disdain or disbelief, we must persist in telling the truth about Israel. I do not mean that we must be defensive or apologetic. Rather, the truth can be shared even in the face of our neighbours’ lack of trust or the media’s open biases. Even if it is uncomfortable, we can be Israel’s voice to the world. Moral indignation is ours now.
For too long they have spoken only ill of Israel, for too long they have believed only the bad. Now it is our job to set the record straight. Speak up and share the responsibility for Israel’s survival.