We Should Act Accordingly
On Monday, the Israeli Counterterrorism Bureau issued strong travel warnings for “ŽIsraelis and Jews planning trips abroad, particularly to Western Europe, over the “Župcoming holidays. Such advisories for Israelis are not new. Whenever there is a flare-up “Žof some kind involving terrorism against Jews, the government tells the public to be “Žespecially cautious. But this week’s admonitions point to a specific, clear and present “Ždanger.
Several factors are coming into play to make Israeli authorities sound the alert. The “Žrecently paused war in Gaza is one. In spite of its defensive nature, Operation Protective “ŽEdge was (and still is) portrayed by the international media as an act of Israeli aggression. “ŽDemonstrations were held at Israeli embassies and consulates across the world, while “Žopenly anti-Semitic incidents have been on a steady rise.
Meanwhile, the virulently anti-Israel Professor William Schabas was appointed by the U.N. “ŽHuman Rights Council to head the “inquiry” into “the widespread, systematic and gross “Žviolations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli “Žmilitary operations in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
The “Schabas Inquiry” — which Canadian MP Professor Irwin Cotler attacked last week in an “Žop-ed in The Jerusalem Post, for “not only presuppose[ing] Israeli criminality … but “Žmak[ing] no reference at all to Hamas’ spectrum of war crimes and crimes against “Žhumanity” — is no small matter in this context, as it provides anti-Israel protesters all over “Žthe world with a hefty stamp of approval.
It is therefore not surprising that Israel Prize laureate, actress Lea Koenig, in Holland “Žthis week for the “Spot on Israeli Theater” festival, was verbally assaulted by Dutch “Žactivists storming the premises and shouting anti-Israel epithets and pro-Gaza slogans. “ŽThough the hecklers were removed and Koenig’s hosts profusely apologized, the “Žincident is indicative of the overall menacing atmosphere pervading Europe.”Ž
Another factor that has Israeli officials jumpy is the explosion on the scene of Islamic “ŽState terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Due to their preferred method of annihilating “infidels” — televised decapitation — they have upstaged the rest of the Islamist barbarians in the “Žregion, including Hamas. (It is thus that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a “Žpoint of declaring that “ISIS is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS.” He needed to explain to all “Žthose Israel-bashers in the West, horrified by the beheadings of American journalists “ŽJames Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, that this is the kind “Žof threat Israel faces from Gaza and elsewhere along and within its borders.)”Ž
To make matters worse, the many hundreds of European-born Muslim radicals who have “Žgone to Iraq and Syria as ISIS recruits and trainees are returning to their home countries “Žto spread their ideology and sharpen their knives on the necks of “infidels” they “Žencounter on the streets of France and Britain. The example cited in the Israeli advisory is “Žthe May 24 terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, in which four people were “Žkilled, two of them Israelis. It emerged that the shootings were carried out by a French “ŽMuslim, Medhi Nemmouche, who had just returned from Syria, where he took part in the “ŽISIS abduction and torture of Foley and Sotloff.”Ž
Then there’s the heightened threat emanating from Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. Though “Žanti-ISIS for their own political reasons, they are also on the prowl for vacationing Jews “Žand Israelis to abduct and murder. After all, global jihad may have its share of internecine “Žstrife, but the goal to slaughter Jews, Christians and impure Muslims on the way to “Žestablishing an Islamic caliphate remains intact. “Ž
As Israelis tend to be afflicted with a combination of claustrophobia and wanderlust, “Žairlines count on lots of business during the period between Rosh Hashana and the end “Žof Sukkot. “Ž
This is not only because it is a chunk of time when schools are mostly out (on the heels of “Ža two-month summer vacation) and many places of employment function at half-mast; “Žbut it is also ideal in terms of the weather: no longer warm, but not yet at the subzero “Žtemperatures of winter. And since autumn is foreign to Israelis, there is something “Ženticing about taking a trip outside of the country at the end of September and beginning “Žof October to experience it.”Ž
It remains to be seen, then, whether the Counterterrorism Bureau warnings will be “Žheeded by a majority of travelers. Having only recently been released from Hamas’ “Žoppressive hold on the public through incessant rocket fire — forcing Israelis to spend July “Žand August in bomb shelters, rather than at the beach — the need to get away is “Žwidespread.”Ž
Though foreign tourism to Israel came virtually to a halt this summer as a result of “ŽIslamist aggression against the Jewish state, Israelis seem to harbor fewer fears about “Ždangers abroad. This is partly out of habit; living with terrorism at home makes venturing “Žoutside less daunting.”Ž
But it is also a function of never experiencing old-style anti-Semitism — the kind that has “Žboldly come out of the closet in Europe again, thanks to Islamic propaganda against Israel “Žbacked by the U.N. In this respect, Israelis are naive. “Ž
It is one thing to be brave, or even fatalistic, when weighing risks about where terrorism “Žwill strike. It is quite another to be so foolish as to believe that Europe is as safe for Jews “Žthese days as Israel. Ask any French Jew who immigrated to Israel at the height of the “Žmissile-and-mortar showers, and he will tell you that it is nothing compared to what is “Žgoing on in France.”Ž
It was not merely the Iron Dome system that kept Israeli casualties at a minimum during “Žthe war in Gaza. More importantly, it was the fact that though Hamas posed a physical “Žthreat, Israel itself did not constitute a hostile environment. Sadly, this cannot be said of “ŽEurope today, which is why we Israeli Jews should consider ourselves forewarned and “Žact accordingly.”Ž
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab “ŽSpring.'””Ž This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.