From Tel Aviv to Orlando: the Same Enemy, the Same Threat

We have repeated it hundreds of times: this is a war, and we have to win it, not only with weapons, but also with convictions.

2016-06-14 by Friends of Israel Initiative

Tel Aviv and Orlando, icons of freedom, have been hit by Jihadist terrorists in the same week; as Paris, Brussels or Copenhagen have in the recent past. These brutal acts confirm, once again, that we Western societies are living under a huge threat. Whether Islamic State or Hamas, branches of the same tree, liberal democracies have to overcome the challenge of the Jihadism.

The first step to take in order to solve a problem is to identify the problem. In Tel Aviv, terrorists killed four people and tried to kill hundreds more in a famous leisure center; in Orlando, the Jihadist shooter murdered 50 people and injured 53 more in a gay-oriented club. The Orlando massacre has been the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and the worst and biggest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. The terrorists thus did not only assassinate people indiscriminately, they also attacked our way of life. Centers and places where people practice their liberties and free choices rightfully, as signs of Western liberties, as proves of democratic diversity, as flags of our civilization that has cost so much to build over the centuries.

Therefore, we cannot delude ourselves. These barbarian acts have not been episodes of a mental-disorder person or lone-wolf attacks. The Hamas terrorists did not shoot to hundreds of innocent Israelis due to the conflict with the Palestinians; Omar Mateen did not choose a club frequented by LGTB in revenge of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. On the contrary, they carried out such malign actions because they hate everything that represents freedom and democracy. What has happened in Tel Aviv and in Orlando are reflections of the same phenomenon: a terrorist-political movement that aims to destroy our civilization as we know it. They are the same enemy. No more and no less. If we do not realize this tough reality, the West is destined to disappear under chaos and terror.

Lately, the indiscriminate shootings have emerged as the new ways of Jihadism to inflict terror in our towns; and they are extremely hard to stop.

On one hand, overseas is necessary to deploy troops on the ground and combat the Jihadi forces in their burrows, but that is not enough.

On the other hand, inside our borders, the situation is worsening. Today experts and media tend to identify and highlight that the radicalization of Muslim citizens is carried out by an on-line process. However, according to the analyst Peter Nesser, who authored the book “Islamist Terrorism in Europe”, the determining factor in recruitment and radicalization is not internet, but an acquaintance, usually a family member, who is responsible for giving moral and psychological recruitment legitimacy. Given this tricky framework, the prevention through surveillance, novel techniques and new approaches in the Home Front are essential to confront this menace.

The Friends of Israel Initiative (FOII) is aware of these paramount needs and the importance of the Israel’s expertise in this field. Hence, FOII is nowadays leading a Home Front High Level Group, made up of top intelligence and police officials from the US, UK, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Italy and Colombia, which will evaluate the Israeli experience in preventing and stopping indiscriminate attacks in cities and the recruitment of terrorists. The outcomes of this project will help Western countries to find and apply the best measures to halt these waves of terrorism and radical recruitment.

Nonetheless, the improvement and the innovation in the homeland security, or the military operations overseas, are futile if they are not accompanied by a political agenda. As the Colonel Richard Kemp has asserted, Western liberal values are under attack in Tel Aviv, Orlando, Brussels and Paris. A successful strategy against Jihadism and Radical Islam requires, on top of it, to claim that our laws, our institutions, our habits and our traditions are worth protecting. We owe it to the victims and our children will thank us.

In this regard, now is the time to unite against terrorism, to stand altogether with our allies, shoulder to shoulder, and to reaffirm our values and principles. To say in unison, loudly, that we shall prevail, that we will never surrender to these evil forces.

We have repeated it hundreds of times: this is a war, and we have to win it, not only with weapons, but also with convictions.

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