October 24, 2014

Show and Tell

Canada, once described by a historian as a “peaceable kingdom,” has been struck in the heart. 

To their horror, Canadians experienced two terror attacks this week. In the first, a soldier was killed in a hit and run. In the second, a lone gunman killed a solider guarding the War Memorial in Ottawa, then fled to the Parliament Buildings for a shootout. The connecting thread? Radical Islam. An ideology of death perpetrated by Canadians on Canadian soil.

The headline on The Globe & Mail’s Thursday edition screamed ‘Attacked’ with huge letters pulsing in front of an image of the Parliament buildings. News stations ran a constant update of the events. The country was paralysed.

Having lived in Israel for nine years and being in Toronto during both of these events, it really brought out the difference between living in a shire and a cauldron. As an inhabitant of the cauldron, the boiling waters seethe with threats, attempts to harm civilians and tragedy. The country has adapted to this situation in order to protect civilians’ liberties and lives.

For example, there is security outside all shopping malls. When you want to enter, an armed guard looks in your bags, wands you with a metal detector and could ask you to pass through a machine that could detect weapons. In public parking lots, guards look in the car for suspicious passengers or baggage and open the trunk for an inspection. There is security at banks, museums, airports, bus stations, train stations, concerts, city gatherings and parks.

It is not an inconvenience and it is something I have adapted to and am grateful for.  It takes one second to do a security check and it saves lives. When I come to the US and Canada, I am often shocked by the lack of security and feel vulnerable in large crowds, often looking suspiciously at the number of unattended parcels, bags and strollers. If a distracted Israeli child were to leave his school backpack on a street for half an hour, chances are it would be ‘sapped’ by a policeman’s robot.

In Israel we do not take chances. In Israel we cannot afford to. Yet despite this, Israelis do enjoy freedom and democracy and a high quality of life.  Just stroll down Diezengoff Street in Tel Aviv, take in the surf on a Mediterranean beach or enjoy a falafel on Jerusalem’s  Jaffa Road. 

So when I hear alarmists cry that giving Canadian security forces increased power is a breach of democracy, I bang my head on the wall.  The Globe & Mail’s editor wrote that the security changes they choose to make should be done “carefully and calmly, with an understanding of the limited scale of the threat and the natures of tradeoffs between freedom and security.” He goes on to say that these recent tragedies  pose “no threat whatsoever to the survival of Canada.” True, they cannot and will not get their way. Canada will remain strong and free just like Israel.

Yes, Canada, you have been attacked and it is an inside job. Canadians should take these two events as a wake up call that radical Islam is growing and is enmeshed inside Canada.

The logical solution is to take this threat seriously by beefing up security and being aware. The soldier who gave his life while guarding the war memorial in Ottawa was carrying a gun without bullets.

Are security forces in Canada purely ‘for show?’  Please, Canada, oh shire, wake up, rub your sleepy eyes and use your forces ‘to tell.’

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