Bombs are exploding, dozens are injured, mothers are crying, sirens are blasting, and the air is filled with sounds of fear and loss. Many of us will go our entire lives never having to witness such tragedies first hand. However, some, not Bostonians, must endure this fatal reality daily. As I watched first responders helping those in need at the finish line, I could not help but think about Israelis in Sderot, Beersheba, and even Jerusalem who endure this regularly. In connecting these two, I hope to shed further light on what it means to be an Israeli, constantly under attack.
In comparison to Israelis, Americans are numb to war and terrorism; numb in the sense that we have experienced these two phenomena on foreign soil, and sparingly. Furthermore, targeted civilian attacks are a new revelation in this evolving war on terror, waged against the United States. This chaotic and frantic situation is leaving many Americans confused and insecure. Nonetheless, American citizens can confide in and learn from one of their closest allies, Israel.
Israelis are no strangers to civilian attacks, and more specifically, shrapnel explosions. One infamous attack that highlights the similarities is the bombing of a local Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Yet, this attack is one of many, as Israelis in the cities of Sderot and Beersheba experience rocket fire almost daily. In response, Israel stands by idly in restraint, seeing these rockets as mere provocations to sully its reputation by retaliating. This begs the question, how would Americans react if we were constantly being attacked by an identified enemy? Whether it is a neighboring country like Mexico or a terrorist group like Hezbollah, would Americans strike back or would we hold out with hope that reason will subdue and soothe the enemy?
This question is almost impossible to answer, as Americans have not fought a war on U.S. soil since the Civil War, possibly making them insensitive to the emotions felt when under constant attack and how to react. In reviewing the tragic events that occurred in Boston, one must empathize with those that endure such horrors all too frequently. In doing so, we could look at them for guidance and advice on how to move forward even when fear and the risk of death are constantly present. Let this attack be a sobering moment, and a time to reflect on those civilians still in the trenches in Sderot and Beersheba.