Former New York Mayor Bloomberg scored a triple mitzvah play the other day, when he boarded El Al to Tel Aviv. While I have no idea how many times his honor has visited Israel, chances are his decision to travel was pretty much spur of the moment. No sooner had the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared that US flights to Israel are suspended, Mr. Bloomberg, pretty much borrowed a phrase from Abraham. Walked up to the El AL check in counter, “Hineni, here I am – get me on the next flight.”
Regardless of how New Yorkers rate him as a mayor, fellow Jews often see Mr. Bloomberg as an exemplary co-religionist, independent of the last tallis on his shoulders, Tefillin were affixed to his arm and head. Mayor Bloomberg set the pace by saying, “Hamas is not my travel agent, the FAA does not plan my trips.”
Speaking of Hamas, I don’t lose any sleep over how they respond to the stiffneckedness of our people. It does however; concern me how fellow Jews react to attempts on the part of the enemy to instill fear in us, just as I loath to see Jews cowering before the enemy. Even at Auschwitz, there were those of our people who went into the Gas Chambers with pride and defiance, however forced, so they should not grant the enemy victory.
No Israeli looks forward to running into a shelter. Unfortunately, shelters and safe rooms are a fact of life when you live in a part of the world where your enemies will do anything and everything to make life unbearable for you. Israelis however, do look forward to visitors, aside from the fact that a good portions of the economy comes from tourism. It is difficult and trying times such as these that Israelis need to be assured they are not alone. A little over a year ago there were Palestinians strapping bombs to their chests and detonating those bombs on crowded city streets and buses, they were detonating the bombs in shopping malls and any crowded area. Shirah and I were at a Jerusalem Hotel with 9 other guests who also seemed to be oblivious to terrorism. Invariably, we received Kol Hakavod, thumbs up for our presence. The rockets red glare along with bombs bursting in air will cease when Hamas finds their arsenal depleted, of that I am certain. What does concern me, is that once every day Israeli life returns to normalcy Israel will no longer be front-page news, both in the press as well as in our hearts. For those of us who wish to make a statement, why not pledge to follow the example of former New York Mayor Bloomberg and make that trip to Israel.
Upon reaching passport control at Ben Gurion airport, let us also say, “Hineni, here I am – get me on the next flight.”