Nov. 20, 2015
- Coping with Terror by Choosing Life – Evelyn Gordon
The most remarkable aspect of Israel’s response to terror is how the victims’ families and friends cope with their grief and pain. One particular response has become common: commemorating the victims by launching some concrete project to make Israel a better place.
One such project is called “Nirim in the Neighborhoods,” that seeks to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents by means of wilderness therapy. The program was founded by a group of Israeli naval commandos to commemorate one of their comrades, Nir Krichman, who was killed during a counterterrorism operation in the West Bank in 2002. The program was subsequently adopted by the entire unit, and to this day commandos regularly accompany the teenage participants on the wilderness treks that constitute the therapy’s key element. Thirteen years later, Nirim claims that 95% of its 300 graduates have successfully turned their lives around.
The Koby Mandell Foundation was established by Koby’s parents after the 13-year-old was murdered by terrorists in 2001; it runs programs to help traumatized siblings of terror victims. The Malki Roth Foundation was established by Malki’s parents after the 15-year-old was murdered by terrorists that same year; this organization helps families care for special-needs children at home. The Benji Hillman Foundation, which assists lone soldiers, was started by Benji’s parents after he was killed in the Second Lebanon War of 2006.
When Jonathan Einhorn fell in the Second Lebanon War, his parents chose to commemorate his love of the land by building a public park. After Gilad Shtokelman fell in the same war, his parents decided to build their small community’s first synagogue in his memory.
Israelis have repeatedly responded to grief and pain by actively working to make some little corner of their world a better place. And that’s precisely why Israel, against the odds, has become the thriving country it is amid a region that is falling apart. Faced with terror, Israelis have overwhelmingly chosen life. (Commentary)