Hello from Jerusalem - from Paris 2015 to Tel Aviv 2016

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Sunday, January 3, 2016                                                   23 Tevet 5776



In summarizing the calendar year of 2015, the State of Israel counted 28 fatalities and 400 wounded – mostly civilians, all victims of the third intifada.  We had all hoped that 2016 would be a better year, at least from a security aspect, but that hope didn’t take long to dissipate in the early hours of 2016.

Although the attack in Tel Aviv was unique in almost every aspect, it has aroused many questions and different perspectives – and this while the terrorist has yet to captured and his incentives and motives clarified.  This is the third day of house to house searching, for the suspect in Friday’s attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street.  The characteristics of Friday's shooting attack in Tel Aviv which left two people dead are different than any other terror attack that has hit Israel during the wave of violence that has plagued the country over the recent three months or to those in the past. In this instance, 29 year old Nashat Milhem - an Israeli Arab resident of the Wadi Ara region is not part of the “third intifada”.  There has been no attempt to identify with the plight of the Palestinians; this attack was different in style, implementation and escape.

This was not a suicide attack or even a martyr attack such as those in 2001 when armed Palestinians would storm a restaurant or other crowded venues and fire into the crowd until they themselves were shot dead.  Here, there is no accountability. No organization has taken responsibility for the innocent murdered– at least not at this point.  It is apparent the trend of international terror attacks, as well as ideological influences of ISIS caused this assailant to go out and murder Israeli civilians.


The murderous attack in Tel Aviv is in some ways reminiscent of the attacks in Paris, partly in the terrorist's escape and in the destination of choice - a busy recreational area.  It is clear that it was important for this attacker to stay alive, and is as of this writing, still fleeing for his life.

Was Milhem influenced by ISIS? Probably.  On an almost daily basis, the Israeli Shin-Bet exposes more and more terror cells and/or independent terrorists who have requested to carry out attacks in the name of ISIS. It is quite possible that an Israeli Arab, able to operate under the security radar, can successfully evade the intelligence sensors and carry out such an attack.

ISIS has managed to induct quite a few Israel Arabs who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq.  It is possible that others preferred to stay in “Palestine” and murder infidels instead of making their way to the areas of the “Islamic State”.  In a recent speech of ISIS leader Abu Behar el Bagdadi, he emphasized the importance of the Palestinian arena and has promised to attack Jews.  It is possible that his speech influenced a few “wild and disturbed weeds”.


The incident with Milhem has demonstrated to what extent the State of Israel finds itself vulnerable and exposed to the new terror emerging from ISIS. It is no longer just Europe’s problem or that of the Western world.  Just as the organization was able to influence the Muslims of Paris, Germany and Belgium, it is clear  that it has succeeded to plant hatred and motivation within the Muslim people here and to push them to act as “lone wolves”, taking matters into their own hands by murdering Israelis – Jews or Muslims.

The current attack demands attention toward the future.  Hundreds of terrorists holding blue identity cards are freed from Israeli prisons.  They receive limited supervision, if any at all . . . Many of them have access to weapons as a result of connections, be they criminal or security.  Those who in the past have not been involved in terrorist attacks may find themselves wanting to emulate the Tel Aviv attack. This must alert the security forces, not only because attacks such as these have far more fatal potential than a single knife wielding terrorist; but because of the extraordinary  influence  of the attack which extends far beyond the boundaries of the attack itself – the influence on the economy, daily routine  and the mood of the entire country.


The uncertainty of the whereabouts of the terrorist has caused many parents in Tel Aviv to keep their children at home today.  According to the northern city of Tel Aviv, only about 50 percent of students made it to school today due to parental concerns. Only 230 students out of 1,600 attended the Alliance High School in north Tel Aviv, located near the area where the searches have been focused since yesterday.  This is despite the fact that extra security has been placed at all educational institutions in the city.


The Parisians had Abdul Salam walking around free.  The Tel –Avivians now have Milhem, who, as of this writing, is still walking around free.


Memorial candles in Paris 2015


Memorial candles spelling out the names of the murder victims  in
Tel Aviv 2016

Yossi Tanuri | Director General | Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA
( (+ 972 2) 620 2778   |fax: (+ 972 2) 624 7580 | * yossi@uiac.org.il |
JFC-UIA Canada on the Web:www.jewishcanada.org





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