(JNi.media) Due to the recent wave of terror which is striking our beloved Israel, I have been interviewed over and over by local and foreign media. Observing that Israel has become more dangerous, they assume my neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem is all the more in danger. Ironically, security in our neighborhood has not deteriorated noticeably. This is because from the get-go our neighborhood on the Mount of Olives has had security challenges and therefore police presence and civilian awareness have always been high. Sadly, the jihad that we have faced for years is now being exported past our neighborhood and into “mainland” Jerusalem and Israel.
However, the question I have faced repeatedly is not just about security, but about fear… “Well, aren’t you afraid, isn’t it scary, do you and your kids live in fear??” I always answer that while there is danger, we are not afraid. Instead, when we are called upon, we flex the muscle of courage (a term I picked up from Rabbi Yom Tov Glazer).
More than actual security threats, this is the issue of our time — fear — and it is obvious that the goal of the terrorists is to discourage us. What I mean by discourage, is take away our courage.
Certainly, pushing back on terror entails hunting down the individual terrorists, and disrupting the terror network and the milieu which creates the individual terrorist, including the schools, the media, and even in their own mosques. But the other place where terrorism must be fought is in our hearts. The terrorists want to strike fear. They know that they cannot defeat Israel militarily or economically, so their new war now is a war of the spirit — they want to strike fear into our hearts, they want to stop us from flying to Israel, going to Jerusalem, they want to stop us from walking around with a sense of freedom, life, and liberty.
Therefore, we must gird our own hearts in order to deny the terrorists that victory. Instead of being discouraged, we have to encourage courage. While it has been forgotten, seemingly, in modern discourse, courage is a value — and it certainly is a value in Judaism. We Jews have always been bully fighters, and this latest tactic of the Jihad is nothing but fear mongering and bullying.
We have to teach courage, practice courage and thereby defy their efforts to stop the Jewish people from living fully in this amazing time. Sorry, terrorists, you will not win — we have waited far too long to come home, and your cheap bullying tactics will not beat us. God is with us and we are armed.