It is hard to imagine that it has been 14 years since the day that changed my life forever. Fourteen years ago, on June 11, 2003, I was on bus No. 14 in Jerusalem when an 18-year-old terrorist boarded strapped with explosives and detonated. More than 100 of us were injured and 17 innocent people were murdered, including American Alan Beer.
I know that I am lucky to be alive. Terrorism and the toll it takes on its victims is not hypothetical to me. I will live with the physical and emotional scars for the rest of my life.
The vivid images we see after attacks in places such as Manchester and London are nothing short of devastating but simply not the same on television or through social media for most people to understand the abject horror of a terror attack.
I have direct questions that I would like to ask: Do we in the West really oppose terrorism? Do we truly see and understand the depth of evil and depravity in every terrorist act?
Those questions may seem a little shocking, but the answer is not as obvious as you may think.
When the world’s reaction to an attack against children focuses on the geographical location as opposed to the terrible evil of the perpetrators, the answer is clearly “no.” While the world rightly condemned the recent attacks in England, there has been almost universal silence to attacks in Israel targeting Israelis.
Sadly, the brand of urban terror we see in England was perfected against the people of Israel while the world stayed silent. Suicide bombings have been a reality for Israelis for decades. Likewise, car-ramming attacks like those in London are just the extension of the waves of attacks that Israelis have suffered over the last few years.
But it is much worse than just providing support. Imagine if the world paid the family of the London attackers a stipend for life to reward them for their attack against the Ariana Grande concert? How would the world feel about that? Unfortunately, we already know the answer to that question because the Palestinians have been doing that for years.
It is time for the Western world to really stand up and oppose terror. The time for hope and prayers have passed. This is the time for universal condemnation and action. We must all work together until terrorism is eliminated. Only then can we truly say that we have risen to the challenge of our times and defeated the terror that threatens us all.
Sarri Singer is founder and director of Strength to Strength (stosglobal.org), a nonprofit organization in New York City established to bring survivors of terrorism and their families together globally to heal.