It is especially disorienting to receive news of a terrorist attack against Israelis in the Diaspora as an American Jew visiting Israel.
Word of the horrific incident in Burgas, Bulgaria – where Israeli Jews were not only murdered but targeted for death – reached me on the final day of my Israel trip, where I had come to visit programs administered by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. As the media began to broadcast the details of the attack, the news traveled through the closely-knit human network that is Israel’s best asset. In this tiny country, everybody knows somebody who is touched by such tragedy. People took stock of friends traveling in Europe. Parents called children abroad and friends sent each other frantic text messages.
In this small nation, there is no such thing as an irrelevant headline.
Arriving, as it did, on the 18th anniversary of the shocking attack against the AMIA – the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, today’s bus bomb in Burgas resonates throughout the global Jewish community. As it did in the case of the AMIA attack, the Israeli government has followed the terror trail for today’s tragedy straight to Iran, which never misses an opportunity to pronounce its intention to annihilate the State of Israel and its citizenry.
While we are shocked and angered and saddened by the murder of our Israeli brothers and sisters in the middle of their summer holiday, let us find a small measure of solace in the solidity of our worldwide communal bond. Even as we grieve for the loss of innocent lives, let us draw strength in the fact of our eternal peoplehood, winding through the course of our history, transcending time and place.