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When Terror Strikes

By Emily Gian

A father travels with three of his children along a road travelled daily. But this day is different to other days. Suddenly, Palestinian terrorists travelling in another car cut across the lanes and fire bullets at the car: at least ten. The father is injured in both legs and is considered to be “lightly to moderately injured”, one of his daughters is lightly injured. Miraculously, the two other children, including a 2-year-old girl, are unharmed. Even with his injuries, the father manages to get out of the car and waves down people to help. A number of cars simply continue driving until a doctor passes, calls an ambulance and sends them on their way to the hospital.

This is a familiar story. And it could be a story taken from the headlines of a number of terrorist attacks in the last few months since the current wave of terror began.

But this story did not occur in the last few months. In fact, it happened over twenty years ago.

Twenty years.

This particular story entered my heart when it came up in my newsfeed on the anniversary of the attack last November. The family is that of a dear friend who was one of the children in the car at the time, and the incident set off a lifetime of suffering for the father and the family.

And yet sadly, nothing much has changed. And in this current wave of violence, another 291 Israelis have been wounded and 28 have been murdered. Once an attack falls off the front page of the news, we often forget to think about what happened to those injured. Did anyone ever wonder what happened to that family attacked while trying to drive home over twenty years ago?

I came across an article, also back in November, in Ha’aretz which discussed how Ezra Schwartz, the American citizen who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in a shooting attack in the West Bank, was on his way to an illegal outpost in the West Bank before he was murdered. As if his destination in some way justifies his murder.

It is such a shame that Ha’aretz chose to take the story to this place because I can say with almost complete certainty that the terrorists who fired that gun at Ezra Schwartz did not have that information beforehand, nor did they murder him because he was on his way to an illegal outpost: they murdered him because he was Jewish.

Just like the terrorist who accidentally murdered Shadi Arafa, a Palestinian, in the same incident did so because he thought he was a Jew. And the two young Palestinian girls who stabbed a Palestinian in the streets of Jerusalem; they did that because they thought he was a Jew too.

And Dafna Meir, who was murdered in front of her children? Or Michal Fruman who was stabbed in her fourth month of pregnancy? What statement could one possibly make by killing a woman in front of her children? Or opening fire on a father and his children?

Perhaps it’s the same reason the media, the UN and world leaders don’t care much when Jews are dying or are injured. But they should care. Because today it’s the Jews and as we are already seeing, tomorrow it is the rest of the world.

Journalist Seth Frantzman summed it up well in his latest blog post “Stop pretending terror attacks don’t target Jews“.

I wish that as my friend’s family passed the twenty year “anniversary” of the attack, they could at least take comfort in the fact that the world, or at least their own backyard, is a different place than it was twenty years ago.

How difficult it must be for them to read the headlines and see that nothing has changed at all.