I am in Israel this week to attend the World Zionist Organisation Congress and the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency.
Travelling now is a matter of personal choice but I certainly feel that showing solidarity with Israel is apposite. The wave of terror started a month ago, there are no early warning systems to warn of knife attacks. One needs to be security conscious at all times but I am not alone in making this visit. We have a strong Australian contingent heading to the World Zionist Congress.
Remarkably hotels are very well patronised, many fully occupied.
I walked the streets of Jerusalem when I arrived. King George street – normally so busy bustling with people, tourists, teenagers, citizens, children, is quiet. I went for lunch to a typically packed café in Mamilla Mall. It was less than half full. Everywhere I walked yesterday morning and midday was quiet. However by the late afternoon it seemed to me that there was more activity and restaurants in Emek Refaim were better patronised.
Many citizens have expressed their distress at not knowing where the danger lies, behind which seemingly innocent face is a hatred so deep that calls for the blood of a passer-by. This unknown entity is debilitating the country and Abbas and his henchmen in the PA bear a heavy responsibility with their incitement.
These acts of terror exact a heavy price. A price paid in fatalities, casualties, economic loss, greater Middle East instability, more distrust. We unequivocally condemn these acts of terror.
People have a right to walk the streets and not look over their shoulders; to look into a strangers eyes and not wonder about their intent.
When terror struck a few days ago in Ra’anana, it happened right in front of a school. The amazing way the students responded has resonated across the world, they came together, they danced together and they sang together Am Yisrael Chai. To see this video please click here
I recall a similar situation in June 2002, when in Israel for similar meetings at the height of the intifada. Whilst I never felt personally unsafe, I did feel how important it was for us to support Israeli’s by being present at that time. Furthermore then as now locals have expressed appreciation to me for being here.
I did not reconsider coming to Israel then and I did not reconsider coming now.
We stand with Israel and as always pray for peace in Israel.
Dr Danny Lamm
It should be noted that for those participants under any program in Israel, program organisers have instituted appropriate security precautions and participants and their families have been advised of these.