July-August is that "lay back" time of the year when, with the school year over, families go on their summer vacation. It is also the time when grandmothers open their summer camps. We share our memories and experience with our grandchildren and they bring us up to date on new internet and smartphone applications, fashion trends, new celebrity idols and language (youth slang). It is a win-win situation that we all enjoy.
However, July 2016 will go down in history as the appalling month when ISIS and other Islam extremists declared war on the free world. After the recent hideous attacks in the USA, Turkey, Belgium, Germany and France – is it becoming crystal clear that it is not only Israel or Judaism, but rather the whole world (especially Europe) and all religions, that are targets and no venue is off limits. Therefore, as an individual and as President of World WIZO, and on behalf of all WIZO members around the world, I send you solidarity and support.
Following the terror attack at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, President Reuven Rivlin reiterated his call for international unity in the face of the threat of terrorism and religious hatred. "This attack shows the true face of the brutal nature and horror of terrorism. This is an attack by radical extremists, terrorists, who have struck at the very symbol of peace and murdered in cold blood in a house of God, while they pretend to speak in His name."
World Leaders must also unite against the use of the internet to radicalize and
indoctrinate such extremists.
Many have criticized the strict security measures and precautions taken in Israel, as being infringements on one's civil freedoms, but you get used to bag and sometimes body checks at the entrance to airports, train stations, offices, concerts, theaters, venues etc… It is also a small price to pay – many times the security guards have prevented terror events or minimized their scope; you also feel much safer just knowing that they are there. Moreover, over the past year, large numbers of professionals from all over the world have come to Israel to learn about our security measures and then apply them in their own countries.
My friends, it is alright to feel scared, frightened, pained or angry – that will keep you ever alert wherever you go. However, you must demonstrate resilience and defiance, while continuing your routine - do not let the extremists disrupt or dictate that routine for you. You and only you, are the master (or mistress) of your destiny. As Jewish and WIZO women it is our task to empower and strengthen our families and surroundings, even when our hearts are shattered and the tears are clouding our eyes.
Smile though your heart is aching, Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow, Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through (Charlie Chaplin).
A ray of hope at this difficult time is that Chancellor Angela Merkel is no longer the only women at the top of world leadership. She was joined earlier this month by Theresa May the second female PM of the UK.
Furthermore, having secured the Democratic Party's White House nomination, Hilary Clinton shattered the glass ceiling to become the first woman to head the ticket of a major party in U.S. history and who knows – may be the first female President of the USA.
In spite of everything, I wish you all a great summer. Enjoy your families, enjoy the togetherness, and enjoy what the universe has to offer.
May G-d bless us with better times.
Please share this e-mail with your WIZO chaverot, family, relatives, friends, colleagues and social media mailing lists.
President, World WIZO
Official photo of Reuven Rivlin - Avi Ohayon, Government Press Office (Israel)
Angela-Merkel-2014 - Michael Thaidigsmann
Theresa_May_2015 - UK Home Office
Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait crop - Official Photo at Department of State page
1280px-PikiWiki_Israel_8137_eilat_beach - ד"ר אבישי טייכר