An article in today’s New York Times took the liberty of speaking for Israelis about the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. According to the article, Israelis are rejoicing over the move and the recognition of Jerusalem as our capital – and yet at the same time, we are cowering with fear, since this move will be seen as a provocation for a new wave of violence by the Palestinians.
After reading the article, I decided that it was important for me to speak up and tell the world what I and every Israeli I have spoken with thinks about the embassy move and any reaction it may cause.
Israelis are overwhelmingly thrilled about the embassy opening. Jerusalem is our eternal capital, and throughout our 2,000 years of exile we never forgot Jerusalem, nor did we ever stop praying for our return to the Holy City.
While there certainly is a chance for an increase in violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis, it’s important to remember that every few months the Palestinians find another reason to riot and attack Israelis anyway.
Last summer, riots broke out after Israel placed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following a terrorist attack in which a Palestinian gunman shot and killed Israeli security personnel on the site. This is just one example of many. In fact, every year on Israel’s Independence Day, the Palestinians protest, riot, and conduct lone-wolf terror attacks. They call it Nakba Day, which literally means “disaster” in Arabic.
Living under constant threat has taught us something that the Western world should adopt when dealing with radical Islam. Islamists in all shapes and forms feed off fear. The more we allow them to dictate our agenda and our policies because we fear their reactions, the more we embolden them and give them fodder for recruitment. However, by showing strength and resolve in the face of terrorism, we weaken them and stoke fear in their hearts.
Israelis are delighted about the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, and we know any resulting threats of violence are nothing new. If it wasn’t the embassy move, the Palestinians would find some other excuse to riot and spread violence. We’ve stopped letting their hatred and their calls to violence dictate our lives – and the rest of the world should too.
-by Ami Farkas, a Fellowship writer in Israel