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The year has only just begun and yet fear seems to be the theme of 2016.

If you were to question as to whether I was an optimist or a pessimist, my choice of answer would be a realistic optimist.

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I like to hope that the tension in Israel will come to a peaceful halt, I wish to kid myself that European cities are no longer targets for terrorism, I’d love to read articles detailing the fall of IS; but sadly, the newspaper pages I proof daily never fail to induce panic.

A video was released recently which included, what is thought to be, a British boy. Five men were kneeling awaiting imminent death for allegedly spying on behalf of Britain. The chilling footage (which I will never be able to view) bore a threat to Prime Minister David Cameron and the UK as a whole.

This is a message to David Cameron….O slave of the White House, o mule of the Jews…. we will continue to wage jihad, break borders and one day invade your land where we will rule by the sharia.”

Now if that doesn’t strike fear into any British national, I don’t know what will.

Paris underwent a 2015 from hell; no one anticipated the events that unfolded during those 12 months.  Copenhagen, London, Brussels – the whole of Europe felt, and continue to feel, the repercussions.

The jihadi in the video not only made reference to Brits, he singled out my religion by name. I’m a British Jew; I’m proud of both my faith and nationality, but at the moment, it seems the safest thing is to hide both from view.

I never dreamed I would ever feel that way in today’s modern society, but then again, I guess German Jews didn’t either.

100 years ago today, the world was in the midst of a global war. 30 years later and it was recovering from a second. Honestly, today I believe we’re on the brink of yet another and that terrifies me to the core.

If there’s one thing I’ve always said in jest, it’s ‘Selena’s not built for war’. I can’t jokingly say that anymore as I begrudgingly click onto the news yet again for another update. Maybe, I’ll have no choice but to be.

The fact is, I just clicked onto my Facebook newsfeed for a quick glance and the first thing I see?

BREAKING: Man shot dead outside Paris police station following his shouting of Allahu Akbhar on the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

Does this scare me? Tremendously. Does it shock me? Absolutely not.

This is our lives now, this is our reality.

I say to myself to keep praying that nothing befalls my country but as I said, I’m a realistic optimist. I can’t tell you everything will be OK because I don’t believe that in the slightest. But how we respond, how we all come together, that’s what matters most.

The war is waging, we need to stand up and fight.

I never want to leave my house and grab a yellow star but as history has shown, our nation will always feel prosecuted. IS are intimidating everyone to join their way of life but their hatred is singled out for our religion. Our existence is massively insulting to theirs.

I hope the UK stands by its Jewish citizens and doesn’t leave us abandoned. Following last year’s Charlie Hebdo murders, a shootout at a Kosher supermarket unfolded. There is always an element of anti-Semitism in an attack and that should serve as a warning to us all.

I never want to have to choose between being British or Jewish; both words should always be able to be combined. Never, ever should they become mutually exclusive.

But, if it came to it and I had to, I’d choose a yellow star.

 

 

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Selena, a recently married 20-something from Manchester, England blogs for The Jewish Press Online under the title, "My Point of Jew." Selena also works for the Jewish Telegraph - Britain's only regional Jewish newspaper.
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