Israel’s Continued Terror Wave and How to Respond
In the last two weeks, there have been four terrorist attacks in Israel.
As I’m writing this on April 7, there are reports that over a dozen people were shot in the heart of Tel Aviv, including at least five on Dizengoff Street. Two were killed. At the moment, there isn’t much more information than that.
Right now, we wait to hear whose blood has been spilled on the streets we’ve all walked before in the past.
On March 22, Doris Yahbas (49), Laura Yitzhak (43), Rabbi Moshe Kravitzy (50) and Menahem Yehezkel (67) were killed in an attack in Beer Sheva. On March 27, Yazan Falah (19) and Shirel Abukarat (19) were killed in Hadera. On March 29, Amir Khoury (32), Yaakov Shalem (36), Rabbi Avishai Yehezkel (29), Victor Sorokopot (38) and Dimitri Mitrik (23) were killed in Bnei Brak.
13 people are dead, and up to 13 lives currently hang in the balance. These attacks did not take place in contested areas like Judea and Samaria, but in the places we’ve all safely frequented. Places we’ve gone for Shabbat, places we have family, places we have friends.
It is also currently Ramadan, the holiest month in all of Islam. At its core, Islam is a religion of peace, and Ramadan is meant to be a month of prayer and reflection. Ramadan marks the revelation of the Quran, the central text of Islam. However, Ramadan has also been historically correlated with an uptick of violent terrorist attacks acting against Israelis.
This year, Ramadan also coincides with Passover and Easter. Jerusalem, home to all three of the Abrahamic faiths, is in a constant state of tug of war. All three religions hold claim to a region of Jerusalem, with much overlap. This is especially important as Ramadan, Passover and Easter are times of pilgrimage for their respective followers.
As Muslims trek up to the Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan, Jews will pray by the thousands at the Western Wall during Passover. Nearby, many Christians will make the trip to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to mark the day of Jesus’s resurrection.
So, naturally, this should be a time of immense celebration. However, Ramadan, especially given its overlap with Passover and Easter, is often a time of contention. It’s a cycle that Israelis are all too familiar with: peace, terror, de-escalation, empty promises and repetition of the whole thing until relevant parties decide temporarily to press pause.
And yet, if you ask a Jewish person living in Israel, chances are they’ll tell you they still feel safer living in Israel as opposed to any other country. Because in Israel, we are protected, defended and fought for. We have our own army, our own resources and our own means to continue living despite our safety constantly being in flux.
I’m not sure how much more there is to say, to analyze or to demand. The only thing we can all truly do is to continue to believe in our right to self-determination. Continue to advocate, and continue to memorialize the name of each life lost in the name of terror. Continue to defend our right to exist, and continue to pray for those stolen from us. The most powerful action we can take to combat terror is to simply continue existing because, at its core, Islamic terror in Israel is about ending our existence. Continue to build relationships with Palestinians, and continue an open dialogue about establishing peace in our shared Holy Land. But the most important thing of all is to never forget the lives lost and to continue to celebrate and establish our presence in our ancestral homeland.
Photo Caption: Israel has been hit with a spate of terror attacks at a scale not seen since the Second Intifada.
Photo Credit: Israel Police/Wikimedia Commons