For my column this week in The Huffington Post, I draw upon a seminal childhood memory — sparked by my recent trip to Europe — to comment on a subject of great personal and religious import: the security and survival of the State of Israel.
I also offer President Obama some advice on how to address President Mahmoud Abbas’ current efforts to force a United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood.
Here’s an excerpt:
As I gaze out my airplane’s window, across the runway of Munich’s International Airport, I flash back to my childhood, and am reminded of what truly is at stake today for my ancestral homeland of Israel.
Early memories can leave indelible marks. My teenage daughters, and many of their generation, will forever be influenced by the events of 9-11. Younger Boomers found their worldviews permanently transformed by the assassinations of the sixties, of Kennedys and King.
My seminal memory is of the 1972 tragedy that transpired on another runway in Munich. The halcyon harmony of the Olympic Village was ravaged by hooded terrorists who brutally murdered eleven Israeli athletes — nine of them on a Munich tarmac — through a hail of gunfire and grenades, as a global television audience prayed in vain for their rescue.
The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich were supposed to be a transcendent moment for the Jewish people: A penitent Germany symbolically renouncing its Nazi past; while a proud American Jew, Mark Spitz, set standards for swimming that were only recently surpassed by Michael Phelps.
Instead, Jews around the world were vividly reminded of the fragility of their newfound security. And a young boy in Lexington, Kentucky began to understand what being Jewish really meant.