Our Answer to Terror
by Rolene Marks
Terrorists have very simple intentions. Kill as many as possible and create an atmosphere of deep terror, the kind that holds its victims in a perpetual state of siege, afraid to leave their homes or go anywhere.
But we Israelis will not be victims! Are we scared? Of course we are. Anyone would be terrified of a knife wielding psychopath whose intention is to kill you and has no fear of being killed because to become a “Shaheed” or martyr is an achievement, worthy of having football stadiums and roads named after you.
This is the diet of incitement that many Palestinian and Israeli Arabs are fed from birth. In my opinion, encouraging a death cult of martyrdom is child abuse and counterproductive to nation building for the Palestinians. Where is the encouragement to become teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors, nation builders? Anyone from the UN want to sponsor a resolution against the Palestinian leadership for child abuse in the form of incitement to hate? Anyone? Beuller?
It is important to note that many Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have had enough of this and are saying NO to the incitement. It is not in the best interest of both communities. There are so many examples of bridge building between the two communities and so many who are fed up with the divisive and hate-filled tactics of inciters.
“We must put out the fire, and I am willing to do anything for that. As far as I’m concerned, I will go to the Knesset and speak for peace if I have to, without blood and without violence. If I’m in pain, I shout. I don’t pick up a knife. You can be angry and then it goes away, without this killing of innocent people, “ says Arab-Israeli singer, Nasrin Kadri.
While Palestinians declare more and more “Days of Rage” we Israelis prefer other kinds of “days”. The sanctity of life is so important to us and it is what sustains us through our darkest moments. We don’t have days of rage, that is a waste of productive energy. Instead, we have Book Week, Family Day, Woman’s Day and others that fill our calendars with hope and celebration.
Our answer to terrorism is to keep building, keep innovating and keep looking for ways to improve. We are far from perfect but are also not the ogres we are portrayed as.
Last month, Zionists from around the world gathered in Jerusalem for the parliament of the Jewish people, the World Zionist Congress. From the left to the right and in between, from the Druze Zionist Movement (yes, there are many!) and from all corners the earth, Zionists gathered to participate in our preferred sport – vigorous debating and arguing. Raised voices and passionate flailing of hands is a signal that robust discussion is happening!
I was thrilled to represent WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organisation) along with Chaverot from around the world. The first World Zionist Congress was held in Basle, Switzerland in 1897. Convened by the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl, who said at the time: “Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it”.
Nobody laughed, in fact everybody celebrated. This is the spirit that sustains us. Our focus is on building our dream, not inciting hatred. Long before we had a state, Jews worked feverishly to ensure that the dream became a reality. Even though women were not allowed to participate in the Congress, it did not stop us from becoming active and WIZO was formed. 95 years later we can claim to be an integral part of the fabric of Jewish decision making. When women were admitted to the WZC, you can bet we raised our voice to bring about change and today women form part of the upper echelons of leadership.
Through the hallowed halls of the WZC have walked giants like Golda Meir and Chaim Weizman. When the State of Israel was declared, Golda Meir and WIZO wonder woman, Rachel Kagan, were signatories to the Declaration of Independence. We are clearly leaving our mark everywhere.
There are some that ask if the World Zionist Congress is relevant today. It has changed dramatically over the years and some say the dream has been realized so why do we need this?
It is all about continuity and the engagement of the next generation. It is also about evolving and looking for solutions to pressing issues. It is about providing space in the tent for all opinions and streams of Zionism, including the Druze with whom we share a blood covenant.
Most of all it is about investment in our future. This is our answer to terror.
Rolene Marks is a passionate advocate for Israel and appears on radio, television and has been published in numerous global publications. Rolene is a member of the Media Team Israel, an advocacy body that fights media bias as well as Truth be Told. For more info, click HERE.