When I read about the attack in Paris, I was outraged, horrified, nauseous. I’m sure you can relate. Because you were sitting in your living room, or the office, or you were at the gym, or you were asleep in a different time zone and woke up to this horrific news. And this despicable attack happened to people just like you, who do the things you do regularly, in a civilized country where “things like this just don’t happen!”
Except that I also felt the empathy of someone who knows what it’s like to read a news report of a bombing in places where your family and friends are likely to be and to panic and pray and be grateful that this time, it wasn’t them.
At first I wanted to change my profile picture to add the overlay of the French flag, but I didn’t, because I couldn’t find the right link. And then, I applauded the Israeli Knesset for lighting the building with French colors and lowering the flags to half mast. And then I liked some of the posts of others showing solidarity or demanding protection from their political leaders, and then I opened Google and saw the French flag, and then I opened amazon and saw the French flag, and then I got, well, actually, I got upset. Indignant, and just a little outraged.
Because here, in Israel, we also go the gym, we shop in the mall, we go to rock concerts and work in large hi rise offices. And we are the victims of terror attacks every day! On Friday, one day before the Paris attack, there was an Israel attack. A young man and his father were murdered in cold blood in an act of terror! Where were the Israeli flags? Where was the “solidarity?” Where was the outcry?? So, yeah, you could say I was jealous. You could say I was feeling self-pity and then I had an epiphany.
Why should anyone show us any solidarity for our suffering? Why should the people who go about their days in relative security bow their heads and feel our pain when we don’t go about our day with any sense of security? When we accept the condition that we’re in with the sense that we are powerless to change it? Why should anyone respect the State of Israel as a sovereign state with the right and duty to protect her citizens if we don’t have enough self respect to believe that statement ourselves? Far less to act on it.
Pretty words from our ministers, more security guards frisking people at street corners and mall entrances, but a true, lasting solution? I’m a common citizen, and I don’t have any access to government secrets, but I don’t get the sense that anything like that is imminent. Certainly not based on the precedents.
I pray for the families of the victims of Muslim Terror throughout the world, be they in France, in Syria, or here in Israel. And I pray that our leaders will have the strength, the sanity and the self respect to do what is actually necessary to protect us – every single life-loving one of us.