Dear Friend of Israel,
Radical Islamist terrorism has struck again, this time just blocks away from the site of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.
On Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan, drove a rented pickup truck onto a busy bike path in lower Manhattan, cutting a 17-block-long swath of destruction as he struck both cyclists and pedestrians, killing eight. After his truck struck a school bus, Saipov jumped out and began screaming “Allahu akbar” – “God is great” – in Arabic.
New York, which endured the terror of 9/11, is perhaps the American city best equipped to deal with terror attacks. And on Tuesday, a policeman on a routine call, Ryan Nash, came upon Saipov fleeing the site of the attack and shot him, neutralizing the threat.
Cars and trucks have become weapons of choice for terrorists, as we have seen in London, Barcelona, Nice, Berlin – and repeatedly in Israel. How is it possible to guard against a crazed driver who, with just the slightest turn of his steering wheel, can turn his car into a weapon by plowing into a crowd of innocent men, women, and children?
There is no way that is entirely effective. But we must respond to attacks such as this with renewed vigilance, moral clarity, and prayer. In this case, as in so many others, we thank God for our heroic, vigilant first responders like Ryan Nash, who put their lives on the line to save others.
We must think with moral clarity about who our enemies are, and be willing to call evil by its name. The more we understand our enemies’ motivation – the cruel ideology that drives their acts of hate – the more effectively we will be able to thwart them.
Finally, we must pray. Prayer is our greatest and most effective weapon – and one we always have at our disposal. Through it, we draw near to the personal, infinite, loving God of Israel, our Father who protects us, and comforts us in our time of loss.
Please pray for all who lost loved ones in this attack, and for a swift recovery for those injured. Sure of God’s promise to us, let us continue to face terror with vigilance and moral clarity – and to pray expectantly for the day when God will bless us, and all of His world, with His most precious gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President