Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Arab hands holding knives.

Amazingly enough, that question isn’t easy to answer. You can put all sorts of conditions – is it terror if the intended victim is a soldier? Would that then be an act of war, rather than a terror attack?

Does a terror attack involve the use of a specific weapon – for example, if you use a bomb, it’s a terror attack but if you use a rock/boulder or a knife, that it isn’t terror?


The Prime Minister of Sweden, who seems to be a man of limited intelligence, believes that stabbing someone is not a terror attack…well, at least if the attack happens in Israel. If you ram someone, intentionally attempting to kill them, is that terror?

Does it matter if the victim is a man in his 80s or a woman in her 70s or a young man in his late teens or early twenties? Does it matter what they are wearing? For example, if they’re wearing jeans, it’s a terror attack but if they are wearing an army uniform it isn’t?

If the driver then exits the car and pulls out a knife and stabs someone he has just rammed, is it a terror attack? If it happens to a young woman in her early 20s…if it happens to an elderly man…if it happens to a young girl…if it happens to a young man in his late teens or early 20s…is it a terror attack in each case…does it matter what they are wearing? For example, if one was wearing an army uniform, does that change the nature of the attack?

I can’t offer any answers. I can tell you what I think. I can show you a horrible video – the wonder of today’s modern world and the fact that I live in a country that has untold thousands of cameras all over for security reasons.

Last week, I saw two young soldiers patrolling in Jerusalem, “look at their guns,” Elie told me and then pointed out the fact that both rifles had cameras attached to them…it is Israel’s answer to stupid headlines like this:

Yes, the Palestinians man did die in the ramming attack, but it is only when you read the details, rather than the intentionally misleading headlines by Reuters, that you understand that the “man” was actually a terrorist – an attempted murderer, at least, who intentionally rammed his vehicle into three boys, who happened to be soldiers on their way home. More, at least two of the soldiers had just entered the army – it was their first weekend and they were not armed.

Thankfully, as the Palestinian got out of his vehicle and began stabbing at one of the boys, a civilian was able to stop him.

In the attack that happened a few hours ago, there was no one to stop the Palestinian as he rammed his car into four soldiers, critically injuring one. Perhaps it was an accident, some misguided reporter will likely suggest? No, no accident. After ramming the vehicle hard enough to send a very heavy, bullet-proof door flying in the air, the vehicle sped off. It was found later, with a stun grenade and M16 rifle inside…there is an on-going manhunt for the terrorist.

So, what is a terrorist? A few definitions from the Internet:

According to, terrorism is: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

Oxford says terrorism is: The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims

Merriam-Webster defines it as:  the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal

I think the answer is not so much who the victim is, as what the attacker’s intentions were. If the intent was to murder for religious/political reasons a person who you have never met…simply because they are a certain race, religion, nationality, or gender – that’s terrorism. It isn’t really about frightening people – though that is, to the terrorist, a lovely side benefit.

The act you will see in this short video is violent. It is enacted against four young men simply because of what they represent, who they are, what they are wearing. Four soldiers rammed simply out of hatred. Four families, terrified and panicked as they rush to the hospitals to see their sons.  One terrorist raised on a steady diet of violence and hatred who believes he serves some great political or religious need. Terrorism.

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Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running since 2007. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write.