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When Terror Hits Home

December 10, 2015

Dear Friend of Israel,

Israel is used to living with the threat of terrorism. While we refuse to live in constant fear, there is always, in the back of our minds, the awareness that we could be targeted even while engaged in the most mundane acts – taking our children to school, going to the supermarket, going to a restaurant with friends or family. It is simply a fact of life for us.

Radical Islamist terrorists have struck elsewhere as well. London. Mumbai. Paris. Toulouse. New York. Buenos Aires. San Bernardino. Mali. And the list, sadly, could go on. ISIS has promised to bring their war on civilization to the West. Now, it is happening. And it matters little whether the attacks were coordinated by ISIS leaders, or whether they were “copycat” attacks perpetrated by ISIS sympathizers around the world. The effect is the same. We must take ISIS’ promise seriously to do otherwise is to court disaster.

We’ve seen it too often recently. In Paris, the site of brutal attacks earlier this year, 130 people were murdered in organized attacks. In London, a terrorist brandishing a knife shouted “This is for Syria” and attacked commuters, injuring three. And even in the U.S., in San Bernardino, California, a couple, motivated by hateful radical Islamist ideology, killed 14 at a holiday party. Police later found their home packed with weapons and ammunition, including pipe bombs.

What can we do against this scourge? First, we must have the courage to call these attacks what they are: attacks motivated by ideology, by a hatred of our way of life. Second, we must support our armed forces, law enforcement professionals, and first responders who stand at the front lines against terror. And, third, we must solidify and recommit ourselves to support Israel, the one place in the Middle East where democracy lives, and flourishes.

We’re all familiar with going to the movies, and watching previews before the main feature, which are often preceded by the words: Coming soon to a theater near you. If we ignore the threat of radical Islamist terrorism, if we indulge in ignorance and denial, if we refuse to confront this threat, one thing is certain: Terrorism is coming soon to a city near you.

Rabbi Eckstein at St. Mary's Church in Jordan

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