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{Guest contributor, Mark Cohen}

There are no words to express the heartbreak that Jewry is experiencing. Recent days have brought upon us a wave of fear and hopelessness. Suddenly, what we refused to recognize becomes so much more lucid. And yet we sit, paralyzed, with a vague, tranquilizing feeling that all that can be done is being done. This is the ultimate tragedy.


While other peoples rise up to strongly protest in the millions when it comes to issues like civil rights, we watch on as the issue is of the most basic one of life and death. The modest protest of the security situation which was scheduled for last Tuesday, across from the Prime Minister’s residence, was cancelled due to the security situation! The organizers, after pressure, decided that they would delay the protest until a time when security would be better. Do they not realize the necessity of such a protest specifically when the situation has deteriorated so? I fear that they may not. Just as their calls for building more settlements rather than directly dealing with the daily terror misses the mark entirely.

But if all that can be done is being done, what reason to protest at all? The answer, of course, is that not all that can be done is being done. When the mayor calls for citizens to arm themselves, the message given is “you are on your own.” Yet, are the public officials not responsible for providing security? Is that not the most basic duty of theirs toward their people?

What is the solution? What is to be demanded?

First and foremost, one must understand the problem! Because the problem is so misunderstood, no real solution can ever be suggested. So let us discuss the problem and make it very clear to all who either refused until now to recognize it or were simply unaware.

The problem at hand has been made clear time and time again, but we refused to see it. It is the dilemma of a population that sincerely believes that we have stolen their land from them and have no right to it, nor any rights to impose any sort of authority over them. The Temple Mount is a mere detail in these claims. While they state over and over again that Jerusalem is fully theirs and they intend to redeem it with blood, we refuse to listen. This is the problem: our unwillingness to face a harsh reality.

When we hear of a Jewish woman (non-Zionist at that) running through the streets of the Muslim quarter of the Old City with a knife in her neck, after having witnessed her husband murdered and child stabbed, with not one individual willing to help, we were appalled. When the locals went beyond mere silence and proceeded to kick her, laugh at her and wish her death as well, we were reminded of similar times in Europe some 80 years ago that no one dreamed would repeat themselves in the new Jerusalem of the 21st century.

We must understand that it is not Hamas generals that are behind these attacks. It is not the Palestinian Authority that is the only source of incitement. Those responsible for attacks come from the ranks of the common folk, students, vendors, employees of popular companies, etc. The fact that these acts are not only not condemned by this population, but even encouraged and celebrated openly, is a fact that we must accept. Their Knesset representatives are open in their support for the terror perpetrated against us and none protest these statements. In fact, their popularity only grows as a result.

We have tried for years to bend our backs over and to go at great lengths to avoid this struggle, but we have refused to see the reality of this struggle and the open hostility against us. If we choose to evade the root of this struggle, then know that the terror cannot be curbed without giving up that which we hold so dear – our one land. We convinced ourselves that these are the actions of a lone few and that, slowly but surely, the hostility will dissipate. It has only been exacerbated. So, forget the solutions and forget suggestions and demands. They will only be relevant once the problem is fully understood. Our refusal to see reality, that is our greatest enemy. From left to right, we avoid the bitter truth. Our blindness will be our tragic end.

{Guest contributor, Mark Cohen, made aliyah nearly 15 years ago from the United States and currently lives and work, as a teacher, in the heart of Jerusalem}


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