By Jeremy Cronig, NFTY President and Taylor Gleeson, NFTY Social Action Vice President
The last months in Israel have been a wave of terror filled with shootings, stabbings, and other acts of intentional and senseless murder. Each night, it seems more families will lose someone they love as this decades old conflict continues to claim the lives of so many. We are frightened by the thought of an American teenager being killed as part of this conflict. It truly hit too close to home when Ezra Schwartz was shot and killed this last month while volunteering in the West Bank. Ezra, who many in our Northeast region in NFTY knew personally, was 18 years old and a Boston native studying at Beit Shemesh yeshiva in Israel on a gap year.
As we move into the holidays, we remember that while they are a time to personally reflect on the privilege we’re given in our lives they are also a time to legitimately acknowledge the lack thereof that people around the world face every single day. We are grateful for what we are able to celebrate this season, and we must also take the time to remind ourselves to continue in the fight for justice for both the people who were not able to make it to this time and the people around the world suffering due to injustice.
Despite our own agendas there needs to be a universal recognition that when an 18 year old young man is shot by a stranger that there is something wrong. We must stand firm with Israel in its right to defend itself and must stand against incitement and hate. We are disgusted by this heinous attempt and constant others to damage Israel and its people.
This holiday season, let us embrace and be thankful for the people we cherish. For the people who who’ve passed before this season, we say Zichrono Livracha, may their lives forever be a blessing.