Why is there hate?

It’s taken me this the last week, to gather my thoughts from the events of the last two weeks, and maybe even longer — and put them on paper.

I grew up with people hating me just because of who I am. Because I am Israeli, or because I am Jewish. Just because of where I was born, and just because of my ancestors’ religious beliefs.

The hate expressed towards Jews and Israelis in Israel in the early 2000s played out like an action movie, but not one produced in Hollywood. In my version, there was no makeup, no stunt doubles, no fake blood, and no take two, three or four.

Throughout my years in Israel, working as a Med-Tech, Dispatcher and Medical First Responder,I’ve seen my fair share of casualties first hand. Be it a busload of innocent people blown to bits, bodies with bullets in them, women and children with stab wounds, or people run over by tractors: the images, the smells, the aftermath — these are things that will be burned into me for a very long time.

When I moved to North America, I thought I was leaving all of that behind me. Even when, more recently, I received death threats related to my Jewish identity, I thought it was all bark and no bite

But last Saturday proved me wrong.

Last Saturday, a man, if we can define him as such, entered a place of worship in the USA, and gunned down, killed, massacred 11 people. He took the life of 11 people — why? Just because they were of Jewish faith, something that I still can’t wrap my head around.

Even as a student at the University of Toronto, I see the hate, the anti-semitism, and the “jokes” made at the expense of Jews.

There were a few days following the shooting last Saturday when I was scared to walk on campus with friends with skull-caps- I was afraid to be associated with Jews.

This should not be the case in 2018, in a major North American city. It really shouldn’t.

At a campus-wide vigil held at the University of Toronto, Rabbi Julia Appel, one of Hillel’s staff members and a Jewish leader I look up to put it well. She said:: “I refuse to walk in this world afraid. I refuse to walk through this world responding to the violence done to my people with a closed tent or a closed fist. Because that is how they win.”

I agree with Rabbi Julia , and will not continue to walk in fear just because I’m Jewish. I’m trying to stay positive in light of all of this, but some days it’s hard. Really hard.

Here’s to hoping that 2019 brings us a year of peace between us — without relation to the colour of your skin, the shape of your nose or the basis of your religious faith.

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