Today my regular column in Newsweek is about President Rivlin and how a right wing politician became the favorite of the people of Tel Aviv. One of the things that I left out was how unassuming he is. He flies on regularly scheduled flights, economy and on this visist he arrived in New York and took Amtrack to Washington. Could anyone imagine Bibi traveling in any other way than in his leased plane? Rivlin represents what we would like to be and is the antithesis of Bibi- that is part of the reason we love him.
I have not written until now my reactions to events in America, the actually bombing and the American reaction. The bombing engendered in me a profound sense of sadness. I understand the attacks on us here in Israel. We can deal, and although I believe the underlying reason we have not been able to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians has a great deal to do with Islam, its still at its core a fight over land a fight that one can understand. I also understand the total frustrations of a young Palestinian who has grown up knowing only our occupation, and the only Israelis he has gotten to know are the members of our army or other security services. It is not unreasonable to that they would lash out and try to do something, anything. I also do not consider attacking Israeli soldiers as acts of terror. Attacking civilians clearly is and we should learn to differentiate. But I am deviating from my main point, something that I will not do in an article but feel free to do on my blog- I find it so hard to understand how someone who grew up in America could turn his guns of innocent people and slaughter them in the name of Islam. I might understand it if they were attacking government building or other symbols of authority- don’t get me wrong I would not condone it in any way, but at least, I might understand it. But a group of regular people at a holiday party? Some of the other mass shootings, however inexcusable and horrendous at least seem to have some logic- a kid or kids who feel picked on at school lashing out at his classmates or even the attack on the Planned Parenthood Clinic- spurred on by lies told by politician a slightly deranged person attacks. But here a husband and wife team give up their child and kill the innocent?
How does the world fight this? I truly do not know. We are fighting religious people. Yes we are not fighting all of Islam, but there is clearly a strong strain in Islam that has condoned violence- and has condoned violence against the innocents. How do you fight this. The numbers speak for themselves, even if only 5% of the Muslim condone these acts you are talking about 50,000,000 people. There is a very real problem when religions think they should move from the spiritual to corpereal world. We can see that with our own right wing religous groups. It is something that needs to be addressed and discussed openly, but the problem with the more extreme Islamist is very real and very difficult to address. If we look at almost all the violence in the world in the last 20 year with a few exception ( Ukraine being one) they have all and are all taking place where Islam meets the west. Why is that? How do we fight it? It’s not enough to say that the Islamic world will have to work that out on their own, for while Islamist are killing fellow Muslims in larger numbers then they are killing others, as we have seen in Paris and now in San Bernidino, others are dying as well. I do not have the answers or even a thread of an answer. I am tired to hearing we must first identify the cause, or if only Obama would say what the problem is. Well we have all known what it is, and I certainly have said what it is, but now what? I truly do not know and that is scary!