Muslim communities in Europe are not something new. Many people suffered in middle-eastern lands, went searching for a new home where there is freedom of speech and equal rights, and started to settle in various European countries. With time, they became more and more noticed. It started with good intentions, when they claimed national recognition of their religious lifestyle, for example. But with time, their numbers grew, and groups of extremists arose in their midst. Islamists, with fire in their eyes, stopped being grateful to their host countries that, by dint of kindness, did not expel them. And the demands of Europe’s Islamists grew.
The citizens of those countries, however, did not notice the growing danger. Instead, they were blinded by propaganda, and willfully adopted the belief that Israel is, in fact, the problem. BDS actions and burning Israeli flags made us, Israelis, choose our European traveling destinations carefully, and even avoid certain countries that became well-known for their anti-Israeli agenda. A few of the leaders of those countries condemned Israel on every international stage, but even those who did not, did not stand by our side very often. But what was far worse than declarations by world leaders were the actions taken by Europeans themselves. The people called for boycotting Israel, marched against us while smearing IDF soldiers as "killers," and burnt our national flag.
They didn't care about knowing the facts. They were caught up in the anti-Israeli atmosphere generated by parts of the Muslim communities in their midst, and that was enough. Of course, I am not talking about all Europeans, but when the group of haters is big enough to be widely heard, it is a fair enough reason to believe that it is quite a massive group. And this massive group made it scary for me to return to London and Paris- places I loved to visit as a child. I want to go there, but the images of burning Israeli flags and people calling words of hate towards my country, my being, is something that's painful enough for me to see from the safe place in front of the television screen, not to mention in encountering in person.
The people were so busy being captured by the "Israel is the enemy and the source of all our problems" illusion, that they missed the ticking time bomb that was right under their noses. I don't know why or how it happened; perhaps it was because it was easier for them to focus their anger on a place far-far away instead of trying to look at their own neighborhoods. But the bottom line is that many Europeans have lost their lives, and it wasn't because of Israel.
In the past week alone, a British soldier was beheaded in London itself, a French soldier was stabbed in Paris, and Sweden was lit on fire. These were all intentional acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. This series of attacks did not come out of the blue. There were warning signs along the way, but they were all missed, time and again. Last year, for example, there were the Toulouse and Montauban shootings, where French soldiers and people of the Jewish community were murdered. And we all remember the 2005 London bombings, where 52 civilians were killed and more than 700 injured. All of the above were outcomes of escalating Islamic extremism, and it was no secret. But for some reason, the voice that continues to rise from Europe is the anti-Israeli one…
Now, side by side, European citizens are burning Israeli flags and calling IDF soldiers "killers", and Islamic extremists are filling Europe with terror. Unexplainable, unreasonable. But, hopefully, changeable.