Yesterday morning I woke up from a terrible nightmare about my father’s murder. The nightmares are hard to deal with, but the reality is much more difficult. Ten years ago, in May of 2002, my father was killed in Israel, along with fourteen other innocent people, by a Hamas suicide bomber. He was in a club, not in combat.
At the time, I was a student in business school in Israel. We were in the midst of the second intifada and there were attacks on Israel every day. But, I never imagined that my family would become part of a much bigger family – the family of victims of terrorism.
Every day, my family and I would watch the news, seeing new names and hearing stories of those these who were killed by Fatah and Hamas. I vividly remember the day my father called to tell me that the Twin Towers in New York City had been attacked. I immediately went home, and together with my family, watched in horror as the towers fell. We cried knowing how many lives were lost that day, and knowing that the city would never be the same. I remember the tears in my father’s eyes, and could not believe the reality of what was happening. A few months after that, my father also became one of thousands killed in the name of the same extremist ideology.
The Twin Towers came to symbolize the strength and power of America, as well as a symbol of loss and pain. It has also become a powerful memory. Such a dramatic event, with fearful effects, opened another door to the understanding that we cannot compromise in the war against terrorism. At the same time, we must support the victims – survivors and bereaved family members. On the surface, the lives of many victims may seem completely normal. You can see us laughing, playing tennis, and vacationing. But we have tremendous baggage. Sometimes it is a memory. Sometimes it is trauma, loss or injury. All of these put us in a sensitive place. A word out of place, a dream or sudden noise can interrupt our day. But despite all this, we are committed to going further and being stronger for those who are no longer with us and for those who need our support. After all, we are all One Heart and we all have One Hope.
Jacob Kimchy is a speaker, activist and consultant for non-profit organizations around the world. He is currently the Founder and Executive Director of One Heart One Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping and connecting victims of terrorism and their families across the world. Jacob is an inspirational speaker and has been asked to talk before numerous government agencies, international congresses and Parliaments, and with politicians and local communities, discussing his personal story and experiences with terrorism.