The whole world saw the heartbreaking photograph of Eliad Moreh as she staggered out of the cafeteria at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. At that moment she knew she was wounded but kept telling herself she would overcome the injury and survive. She was unaware of the projectiles that had lodged in the back of her neck and other wounds in the rest of her body, as she was unaware that her friend, a young Israeli diplomat who had come to tell her goodbye before leaving on a foreign posting, was dead.
Now she has just been released from hospital, where she took massive doses of antibiotics. Israeli doctors have learned that many of the suicide bombers are infected with diseases ranging from hepatitis to HIV. When they blow themselves up, there is danger of blood exchange, or of flesh projectiles penetrating the bodies of their victims, and Israeli hospitals have been stocked with vaccines against many common diseases, as well as with the antibiotics they administer to fight infection. But Eliad's attacker did not commit suicide, and so she was at least spared that threat; aside from the antibiotics she was given tetanus shots.
She has certainly not been intimidated, and she has no intention of being silent. She feels that if she received life as a present -- her 27th birthday happens to fall at the end of the week -- she has a message to tell the world:
If I have survived while the young man sitting next to me -- my dearest friend Diego David -- was assassinated, it must be because I am obliged to speak out. You must not say "killed," these people who peacefully had lunch in the cafeteria were assassinated. And the aim of the Palestinian terrorist who put the bomb there was to murder as many human beings as possible. They were systematically targeted for death, not killed as if in an accident. The seven people murdered here were targeted because they were Jews, and found themselves on the soil of Israel. That was their crime, that was why they were assassinated. And because I have survived the attack of this assassin, I will speak my mind with all my strength. In fact at the very moment I came out of the cafeteria, feeling the pain in my neck, I felt I had to scream my message to the world.
Ledeen: And do you feel strong now?
Moreh: Yes, I feel stronger today than I did before. The message I have for my people and the world gives me the strength to carry on. I have just left the hospital, I am still taking antibiotics and have bandages, and will have to do some tests in the next weeks. Yet, I tell you that the physical pain is nothing compared to the voice burning inside of me.
Ledeen: Okay, you've got the microphone.
Moreh: I see history repeated. It is again considered a crime to be a Jew, just as it was during the thirties and forties. Nobody gives a damn. Just as in the thirties and forties, the rest of the world stands by while Jews are assassinated every day. The difference is, thank God, that today we have a state. But we are refused the right to defend ourselves against our enemies, which is a more perverse way to forbid our existence. By finding reasons to justify the assassins, some people in Europe encourage them to shed more Jewish blood.
Ledeen: There are many who feel the Palestinians are entitled to be free, and to determine their own lives?
Moreh: Of course, but not at the expense of our own lives. Palestinians were offered an independent state in the frame of the Oslo agreement, but they rejected it, and started a terrorist war against Israel, proving they had no interest in coexistence. Besides, what kind of freedom is it when it is acquired at the expense of innocent bodies? Is there anything that can justify the deliberate murdering of as many people as possible? In the name of this freedom Palestinians are assassinating people whose only crime is going to a supermarket, or to a restaurant, or to a dance hall, or to a family celebration. This is not freedom, it is barbarity. The terrorists' intention is to make hell out of this place. They even burn the trees in our country, do you know that? What crimes have the trees committed?
Ledeen: There have been many religious wars in history, and the terrorists now speak in the name of religion.
Moreh:The wars of religion are the most dangerous, because the moment one is ready to kill in order to impose his religion on the others, no dialogue is possible. The Jewish people have more than 3,000 years of history on this land, long before these assassins claimed it. Yet, no Jew ever imposed his religion on the others, it was always the opposite. Since the creation of the state of Israel, Muslims, and Christians can go to their sacred places. But Jews cannot go to the sacred places that are in the Palestinian Authority and come back alive, that's the difference.
Ledeen: The most terrible thing is the silence of the West, which carried out the Holocaust such a short time ago.
Moreh: Yes. Unfortunately, memory is short. Today, Israelis who are constantly victims of terrorist attacks are presented as executioners through the demonic propaganda of the Arab world and the help of Europe. At least the Americans can understand, because of the catastrophe of September 11th. All those Americans who lost friends and family know how we feel, how we feel every day, because every day Jews are assassinated. I was just in France, and I looked in the windows of the bookstores and saw horrible books, books saying that September 11th never happened, that it was all a lie invented by the Americans. Can you imagine how pernicious the terrorists' propaganda can be?
September 11th was a tragedy for all humanity, and its threat still exists, the same threat that exists today in Israel exists throughout the Western world. And there is only one way to deal with it: The terrorists, everywhere, must be put to death.
Ledeen: Just one final question: Why are the Jews the center of these attacks?
Moreh: It is only the beginning. The political conflict in Israel is only used as a pretext. The truth is that the aim of fundamentalist Islam is to dominate the world, in every place, no matter who is the population. Look at the conflicts in he world, in the Philippines, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in Algeria, fanatic Muslims are every time involved. Muslim Fundamentalism represents a danger for the whole of humanity, wherever there is democracy and freedom. It does not concern Israel only. The sooner the world understands it, the sooner we will be able to vanquish these forces of evil. And I have no doubt we will triumph because the forces of life are stronger than those of death.