by MK Ofir Akunis
To our enemies, Tel Aviv should meet the same fate as Judea and Samaria. It's all one big "territory" from which we should be eliminated.
There is no "State of Tel Aviv." There is the State of Israel -- and the first Hebrew city is an inseparable part of it.
How sad that we tend to remember that, and stress it, only after it is struck by a terrorist attack. Only when a loathsome murderer starts shooting there and murders two beautiful young people who were just starting their lives, who like many of their Tel Avivian neighbors came there from cities in the periphery: Shimon Ruimi from Ofakim and Alon Bakal from Carmiel.
It's easy to portray the Tel Aviv "detachment." Some call it a "bubble." The fact that the two people murdered came from the south and the north of the country tells us all: This is Israel. This is our story.
I grew up in Tel Aviv and on the family stories that Arab gangs would shoot at the family home in the Shapira neighborhood from orchards in Abu Kabir and Salameh, south of the city, before the state was even founded. We experienced the bombing at the Savoy Hotel and later the mega-attack on the bus at the northern entrance to the city, an incident that led to the first curfew since World War I.
It was Tel Aviv that was the first city in Israel to come under fire by long-range missiles, in the Persian Gulf War, when we were instructed to sit in sealed rooms. This is the city that three years later was shocked by the intensity of the No. 5 bus bombing near Dizengoff Square. The Simta Bar, the scene of Friday's shooting, is only a few yards away.
It was during Purim festivities in Tel Aviv that a suicide bomber slaughtered costumed, laughing families at a crosswalk in the middle of town. Yes, on Dizengoff Street again. Tel Aviv saw the terrible terrorist bombings at the Dolphinarium, at Mike's Place on the waterfront, and at the Rosh Ha'ir shawarma stand, and the entrance to the old central bus station at the beginning of the wave of terrorism at the beginning of the last decade. Tel Aviv, too, came under rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during Operations Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge, when residents headed down to the shelters.
Because Tel Aviv is Israel, and Israel is Tel Aviv. There is no artificial distinction and there shouldn't be one -- because what our brutal enemies prove to us time after time is that their fight against us isn't territorial. It isn't about one "territory" or another. It isn't about "the territories" or about "the occupation." It isn't a struggle over "the settlements" or about the 1967 borders.
In our enemies' bloodthirsty eyes, Tel Aviv should meet the same fate as Samaria. Rishon Lezion should be treated the same as Hebron, Raanana the same as Jerusalem. They're all one big "territory" from which we need to be eliminated. The way they see it, Israel is actually one big "settlement" that should be demolished and cleared to make way for an Arab state that will be founded on its ruins.
In our enemies' eyes, there are no secular Tel Avivians or ultra-Orthodox from Jerusalem. There is no periphery and no center, no Right or Left. Israel is a single enemy.
That is how we should treat the waves of terrorism that have afflicted us since the first days of the Zionist movement, over 100 years ago -- as a single people, united. We are not two peoples or a bunch of tribes.
We can argue, sometimes get really angry with one another. Sadly, the dialogue on social media is growing crude and violent. All these things are a luxury. There is one fight in which we should come together against the entire world and particularly against the terrorist organizations that are growing stronger around us -- the fight for our very existence!
Less than 48 hours after the murder in the middle of the city, Tel Aviv will go back to being the city that never sleeps. Just as the settlements in Judea and Samaria will continue to flourish. We will continue to build in Jerusalem, our capital for the last 3,000 years, just like we will continue to plant, pave and strengthen Sderot in the south and Kiryat Shmona in the north, along with the rest of the country.
Will we always have a sword pointed at our throats? I don't know about "always." Regrettably, our enemies are forcing us to wield one, strongly, for a long time to come.
MK Ofir Akunis
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