This month, I wanted to flag up the dizzying violence that has been sweeping Israel. For those of you who have not picked up on it (it hopefully will have died down by the time you read this article), there have been many “lone-wolf” stabbings in different places across Israel. These instances have involved Palestinians suddenly attacking Jewish Israelis at random in various locations, but particularly Jerusalem.
It is bewildering how the perpetrators think they are furthering the cause of their people.The Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, has called for anyone who has legal firearms to carry them in case of attack. I cannot imagine the fear that comes from the need to carry weapons just in case during daily life. Maybe it’s a case of being an Englishman abroad. Given the many mass shootings in America in recent years, I assume some of us can empathize. There are a certain proportion of our congregation who carry firearms or at least know how to use them safely.
In any case, the idea of our Israeli brothers and sisters living in a state of constant vigilance is stressful.
Imagine sending your kids to school while you worry about an attack. If you have family or friends in Israel now would be the time to reach out to them to check on their mental state. You will probably get the reply that you shouldn’t worry and that they are used to it but still, they will appreciate the support.
In the meantime, we focus on the words of Psalm 122:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those that love you prosper. Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say: ‘Peace be withinyou.’
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen