October 27, 2015
Dear Friend of Israel,
Imagine the scenario: You are walking down the street. Behind you, you hear the sound of huffing and puffing, and of feet pounding on the pavement. Perhaps it’s someone out for his morning run. Perhaps it’s someone rushing to catch a bus. Perhaps it’s someone who is late for an appointment, and is desperately trying to get there on time.
But if you’re in Israel now, you may have different thoughts. Perhaps it’s a terrorist, wielding a knife or a gun, and you are his target. Perhaps it’s someone running from a car whose driver is bent on running her over. Perhaps it’s a policeman, rushing to warn you of an impending terror attack.
In Israel today, such thoughts are not unfounded – they’re entirely reasonable. Magen David Adom – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross – reports that between October 1st-25th, 10 people have been killed and 127 wounded in terrorist violence. Fourteen remain in serious condition. To date, there have been 45 stabbings, 4 shootings, and 5 incidents of terrorists running civilians over with cars.
Some have been soldiers, some policemen, and some have been just ordinary citizens going about their day. These attacks are all the more terrifying because of what seems to be their random nature. No terrorist group has claimed credit, though Hamas, the terrorist group that rules and exercises an iron grip over Gaza, has praised the latest wave of attacks.
And yet the attacks continue, at the rate of several every day. The price of these attacks has been paid not just in Israeli lives lost, and in Israeli blood shed; it is also paid in fear – the fear felt by ordinary Israelis for whom the simple act of walking to the grocery store, taking their children to school, or going out to enjoy the late autumn weather becomes not just an act of faith, but an act of bravery.
Yet, one of IFCJ’s Israel staff members recently summed up what I believe to be the spirit of the Israeli people. “I refuse to accept the ‘new normal’ or get used to it,” she wrote. “We cannot succumb to complacency or indifference while we go on with our lives. We must never forget that this not normal. It is wrong and immoral. While we will carry on, we must also work to end the terror permanently. Israelis deserve a normal life without terror and we will never give up on attaining it.”
Make no mistake: Israelis are going on with their lives, in spite of the terrible circumstances we must endure. We live on faith, we trust the Israel Defense Forces and police to do what they can to thwart this wave of terror, and we applaud their heroic efforts. But the randomness of the attacks makes it almost impossible to stop them completely. How do you anticipate if your neighbor – or the man sitting next to you on a bus, or standing next to you in a supermarket line, or passing by you on the sidewalk – means to do you harm?
Now, more than ever, Israel needs your prayers for protection. She needs you to support our efforts to provide the victims and the loved ones of victims of these terror attacks with comfort and relief. And, above all, she needs your prayers for the blessing of God’s most precious gift – the gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President
Help IFCJ support Israel’s victims of terror and stay up-to-date on events in Israel during this time of crisis by going to ifcj.org/Crisis. And please share this website with your family, friends, and church members.