By Joe Yudin
It’s dangerous being a Jew these days and in many cases much more dangerous being an Israeli. Today if you are a Jew you are a target around the world. In the past few years Jewish sites have been bombed on a regular basis, and individual Jews have been violently attacked. Whether in South America, Europe, Asia or Africa, Jews are not safe.
We saw the Jewish community center in Buenos Aries bombed not too long ago, the ancient synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia bombed as well. Synagogues in Turkey and Europe bombed or burned, Jews attacked on the streets of Paris and Moscow, and heads of state such as former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad laying the blame collectively on Jewish shoulders for all the worlds ills. You don’t even have to be alive to be a target if you were a Jew. The countless attacks on Jewish cemeteries and graves throughout Europe and New Zealand attest to this fact.
Being an Israeli can be even more dangerous but not for the traditional concerns. Here in Israel we have finally turned the tide against terror for two reasons.
First, Ariel Sharon has taken the steps that were needed to effectively minimize the everyday threat of terror inside Israel. By building a fence (or most of it anyway) separating Israeli citizens and Palestinians, most terrorists are having a hard time infiltrating Israel. Having soldiers on both sides of the fence allows us to catch many of the terrorists as well.
Second, the IDF is actively operating in the West Bank and Gaza, catching or killing those who would murder our children at a blink of an eye.
Third, and some would say most importantly, is that President George W. Bush has taken the pressure off of Israel in the international arena and has allowed us to fight terror in the best way we know how, and no one knows how to fight terror while minimizing the effects on the innocent better than Israel. There is no more talk of “the cycle of violence” or “balance” or “peace talks”. President Bush, more than anyone else understands that the only way to stop terror is by fighting terrorists on their own territory.
So why can it be more dangerous for the average Israeli than your average Diaspora Jew? The answer is a simple one: most countries outside Israel have absolutely no idea how to defend against terror on their own territory let alone fight terror. When Israelis gather in groups outside of Israeli territory and unarmed, they are simply sitting ducks. The massive attacks on Israeli vacationers in Mombasa, Kenya and Sinai, Egypt have shown all Israelis that wherever they may be in the world they are not safe.
As anti-Semitism spreads around the world under the guise of anti-Zionism, Israelis and Jews will find the world to be a much more dangerous place. Until all freedom loving people in the world unite in a total all out war against tyranny and terror, those counties who pay lip service to the War on Terror will continue to deteriorate into a lawless mess of blood and guts devoid of foreign investment, tourists and progress. This is exactly what the Islamist terrorists want, a world devoid of Jews, Christians, democracy and progress.
Ironically, these days it seems that the safest place for any Jew to be is right here in Israel. That is until Iran, whose leadership has repeatedly called for Israel’s total destruction, attains nuclear weapons. In the coming months we will all have to decide what to do about that imminent threat. Most Israelis I believe know exactly what needs to be done about it. I just hope that we will have the support of America when the time comes.
Joseph Yudin was born in Wyckoff, NJ. He has been living in Israel for 14 years, is a syndicated columnist, a licensed tour guide and a sergeant in an IDF paratrooper reserves brigade. He may be reached at email@example.com.
from the November 2004 Edition of the Jewish Magazine