Personal / Travel

Albert Einstein Said It Best

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it- Albert Einstein

Dear Friend,

For the moment the war with Hamas seems to be paused. I’m reluctant to say that it’s over because in a few years we will most likely be back to running into bomb shelters hiding from Iranian or Lebanese long range rockets. Hamas doesn’t cease fire. They just restock and re-dig for the next offensive… But for now there seems to be relative quiet in the south and the center which is very welcome after 5o days of intense fighting. I wish I could say there was still quiet in the north, but the Syrian civil war seems to have reached our borders with the Al-Qaeda Syrian group, the Al-Nusra Front, slaughtering their way to control of the Syrian border with Israel in the Golan. Luckily for us, aside from a few stray mortars that seem to penetrate our side of the border, Al-Nusra seems to be much more concerned with killing rival and civilian Syrians than with bothering Israel. I’m not so worried about them, but the army is preparing for a big offensive with Shiite terrorists in Syria and Lebanon in the near future.

The Sunni terrorist group ISIS is the main topic of international focus now, and with so many deeply concerned over the atrocities they are seeing and hearing about, for example the two American journalists who were beheaded, I find it so very ironically funny that the people decrying ISIS atrocities are many of the same people who criticized Israel for defending herself against monsters cut from the same cloth. Groups that are branches of the same despicable tree surround us on every side, and only now are some people finally starting to wake up and see that we are at the forefront of a global war on Islamic terror.

The complexities of this war

I wish it were as easy as saying we are fighting a war against all forms of fundamentalist terror, but it is so much more complicated than that, and the establishment of some of these groups could cause detrimental formations and alliances to come to fruition in the future. On one side you have the west against Islamic terrorism as a whole. On the other side you have rival Islamist groups against each other which could force the west to do exactly what they say they would never do… “Negotiate with Terrorists”. ISIS is the new group to watch out for, much like Al-Qaeda was after 9/11, and with the radical Sunni group making claims that it will not only destroy the west, but destroy the Shiite populations of Iran and Lebanon, you have to wonder if they are evil enough to persuade the west to align themselves with the likes of Iran and Hezbollah; two groups who are vehemently opposed to the Western way of life and who, on every possible occasion, talk about their desire to annihilate the west (more specifically the United States). I have to hope that America would never resort to allying with Iran over ISIS, but with the president we have in office now I really wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point no matter how ludicrous.

With Sunni terrorist groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Gaza, ISIS in the Levant, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Africa, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and Shiite terrorist groups such as Hezbolla in Lebanon, Bashar Al-Assad’s followers in Syria, and pretty much everyone who is in power in Iran, it’s really surprising that WWIII hasn’t officially begun yet. But unofficially this war began long before 9/11 and should have never been allowed to get to the point it is at now. To the point where Muslims are not only slaughtering other Muslims, but are massacring Christians, Jews, and and any other minority group they can find. To the point where women are being sold in slavery, raped, and murdered. To the point where children are dying in the hundreds of thousands every day at the hands of radical groups all over the Middle East. It should have never been allowed to reach this level, but good men and women sat by and did nothing, and are still doing nothing.

Maybe I feel it more than most people in the west because I live in the region and see with my own two eyes the atrocities that are taking place. Maybe I feel it more because every time I turn on the Israeli news I hear stories like “a Syrian boy who was terribly injured by fighting in Damascus was put on a donkey and escorted to the border with Israel so he could have a fighting chance at life after receiving almost no care by doctors in Lebanon.”  Maybe I feel it more because I’ve seen the atrocities committed by Hamas, and they are similar to the atrocities currently being committed by ISIS and causing such international condemnation. A day late and a dollar short in my opinion. ISIS may be a new group but their actions are not new phenomenons in the world of radical Islamic terror.

Life must go on

Despite all of the bad taking place on our doorstep life still goes on in a relatively normal manner here which is one of the most amazing aspects of life in this beautiful country. We have terror all around us, and a large chunk of the world who hates us, but we go on, we thrive, we progress, and most people here wouldn’t want to be anywhere else (myself included). While the world has been focusing on how to deal with ISIS and condemning Israel for her actions in Gaza, we not only quieted the terror of Hamas, but we have started developing a vaccine for Ebola, just received FDA approval for ReWalk, an exoskeleton suit that allows paralyzed people to walk, hosted the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, who decided to invest in Israeli technology, and in Israel herself when he announced the opening of an Apple manufacturing store in Herzliya, signed a 15 billion dollar gas supply deal with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and put the BDS movement to shame with the announcement of support from the likes of Joan Rivers (may she rest in peace), Gal Gadot (Israel’s own Wonder Woman), Lady Gaga (who will be performing in Israel in just a few days), the Beach Boys (who have announced they are stopping in Israel on their upcoming world tour), the closing of the Soda Stream factory in Ma’alea Adumim, something BDS has called for time and again that ended up costing almost 900 Palestinians jobs (the factory will be moving to a much bigger location inside of the Green Line where the CEO has stated he will do what he can to employ Palestinians and African immigrants in need), and more. For a little country we certainly do have a big impact in the world!

My personal life is moving past war nicely as well. Along with my Israel advocacy, writing, language study, and travel, I will begin my Ma/PhD program this week! I am beyond excited and can’t wait to dedicate a large chunk of my studies to the psychology of fundamentalism (which I hope will help with what I want to accomplish in this region one day). My Arabic, Hebrew, and French knowledge should help with my plans as well :-)! In just a few days I will finally move in to a gorgeous new apartment with the last roommate I will ever have (God willing and without the evil eye)! I’ve been excited for a very long time to live with Stephane and the day is finally almost upon us! Stay tuned for pictures once we get everything set up!

Aside from that work is well, life is happy, and I’m getting very excited for my two month trip home to California where I will get to see one of my best friends get married, where I will be home for the holidays and my birthday, and where I will get to spend some amazing time with my family (and puppy who is going to start his new life as an American)!

I miss you every second of every day friend, and I love you always and forever.

Until we meet again <3,

Jordana Simone

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