October 7, 2015
In 2002, when I was in Israel for a routine family visit , the country looked different than ever before. It was during the 2nd Intifada when Palestinian terrorists exploded themselves on left and right. I visited Masada, Israel’s hottest tourist attraction, the site was empty; there were no tourists. The lady at the gift shop told me that no one was visiting and that she couldn’t make ends meet. My family lives on the Israeli side of the border with the Palestinian territory. During my stay, automatic gunfire targeting civilian population was fired every night from the West Bank on the neighborhood. A young girl was injured when a bullet hit her in the livingroom.
In 2006, on another family trip, we visited Tel Dan in northern Israel. We had a great time. The place was as peaceful and beautiful as any national park in the US. The next morning , not far from there, on Har Dov, two Israeli soldiers on a border patrol were murdered by Hezbollah. Their bodies were taken to Lebanon. That day a war broke out between Israel and the Hezbollah. Thousands of rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon.
In May 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists. We were in Israel for a family visit at that time. A week later when few of us returned to the US, a war broke out with Hamas. Thousands of rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza strip. The family members who stayed in Israel were in Tel Aviv during the war. Tel Aviv was the prime target of Hamas’ rockets.
In October 2015, we were once again in Israel for a family visit. A wave of terrorist attacks by Palestinian terrorist on civilian Israelis began few days after our arrival. This time the terrorists used knifes to attack people in busy places such as bus stations and crowded streets. Most of the attacks were in Jerusalem, however, Tel Aviv, Afula, Petach Tikva, and other Israeli cities were also targeted. We were on our way to the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem when we passed by a crowded street with many police cars and ambulances. A newsflash stated that a terrorist attacked a religious Jew in that intersection just few minutes earlier. We decided to postpone the visit to the Kotel.
We are planning to visit Israel again next summer. Nither wars, nor terrorist attacks will stop us from visiting our homeland. We are not rich people who can afford to donate large sums of money, but we can show solidarity with the people who live there and help as much as we can. For that reason, we spend all our vacations in Israel. This is our way of supporting the country. Tourism in Israel is one of Israel’s major sources of income. Every dollar we spend in Israel is a dollar well spent.
If Israel is important to you and you want to show solidarity and at the same time tell Israel’s enemies that they do not scare you, plan your next vacation in Israel. Buy something in a gift shop. You’ll have a great vacation and you’ll do something meaningful.