A Message from Jerusalem

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October 16, 2015

From the Desk of Stephen H. Hoffman

Here in Jerusalem, the conditions are all too familiar with people expressing gratitude for my coming despite the current situation. I have been here many times during terrorist attacks. This time, however, feels a bit different because the terror is coming from seemingly random attackers, unorganized, but deadly just the same. People continue to go about their business but look around more carefully as they walk on the street, changing familiar routes.

Here’s what really bothers me. The media, foreign governments, and even the United States government seem unable to see the reality of Arab religiously-motivated attacks on men, women, and children – riding on a bus, standing on a sidewalk, riding a bike. Instead, we hear from the world – “it’s another cycle of violence” – “it’s because of settlements built in recent years” – “moral equivalency.”

What’s moral about stabbing a kid riding his bike? What’s moral about running your car into a bus stop, throwing people into the air and hacking at their prone bodies with a hatchet? And, when a terrorist is shot to stop the stabbing, it’s morally equivalent?

The Palestinian flag is raised at the United Nations and their response is to stab people in the back. And Palestinians in Cleveland rush to the streets to support these terrorist attacks.

Has Palestinian rationality ceased to exist?

Israel will have to take the steps necessary to project a more secure environment for its people – all of its people, Arab and Jew alike. We need to let our friends in Israel know that we are thinking of them in these difficult days, visit if we can, let our political leaders know that we are tired of empty phrases of moral equivalency and cycles of violence. Let them talk straight to the terrorists and those who egg them on. Even Arab mayors here are doing that.

Now is the time for us to stand strong with our people in Israel.

Those who wish can contribute to the Federation for the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for the Victims of Terror.

Finally, let your friends know where you stand through social media.

From Jerusalem I send you my sincerest wishes for a Shabbat Shalom.

Stephen H. Hoffman

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