Monday, March 28, 2016

A window of opportunity

Noy Dagan,

image (not from article) from

In the days following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, we did not replace our Facebook profile pictures with a Belgian flag and there were no emotional posts in three languages about world peace. The general atmosphere was different than the all-embracing solidarity that prevailed in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks last November.

Is this because terrorist attacks have become almost routine? Unfortunately, it seems the answer is yes. We no longer distinguish between a lone-wolf terrorist action and an organized operation that involves many participants. In Israel, we have come to understand that terror is terror is terror. And we have watched from the sidelines, astounded by the changes in the once-safe continent of Europe, where officials routinely condemned Israel as if it was the source of all problems.

European naivete is dissipating as reality sets in and European leaders display helplessness in the face of terrorist attacks. Precisely now a window of opportunity is opening to enable cooperation that could not only benefit Israel's public diplomacy efforts, but also the entire free world's fight against terrorism.

Israel must be a leader in the global fight against terrorism. Unfortunate circumstances have made Israel a world-renowned expert in counterterrorism. As you are reading this, Israel has probably thwarted another attack with its sophisticated intelligence and operational capabilities.

It is undeniable that Israel's enemies need are very familiar with its counterterrorism capabilities.

Just as we quickly and efficiently delivered humanitarian aid to Nepal after the major earthquake there, we must send educational aid to Europe, and no less importantly, publicize it massively.

There is no need to patronize or gloat. The mindset should be "let's get down to business." Let's roll up our sleeves and face harsh reality together. In this context, we have no choice but to serve as a light unto the nations, and we also have to make the best of it.

This is the only way that European double standards regarding Israel will disappear. This is the only way the free world will understand it is engaged in a multi-front war and it has no choice but to cooperate with Israel, the scapegoat it loves to condemn so much. And this is the only way Israel's international status will improve. Once Europeans connect the dots, they will realize that whatever the reasons for Islamic terrorism are, whether heresy, liberalism, modesty, holiness, or, God forbid, the "occupation," what unites radicals is their desire to wipe us all from the face of the earth, regardless of religion, race or sex.

The move should be sharp, precise and well-publicized, both at home and abroad. This is a crucial chance for all government bodies involved in the matter to try to change the world's perception of Israel. They must take the negative focus off Israel and turn it into positive action.

Are the terrorists seeking to tire us out? We have developed an immunity. Are they stabbing us? We have experience. Is it because of the "occupation"? Terrorism will also reach neutral Switzerland and peace-seeking Germany.

Something sweet might come from the knife intifada that has befallen us in the past six months. Israel will assist Europe in the tough task of curbing terrorism while improving its image in the process.

Noy Dagan is a government student, a facilitator of meetings between religious and secular youth, and a volunteer in public diplomacy organizations.

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