To the Editor:

My family moved to New Jersey from Jerusalem 15 years ago. I went home this weekend. On our answering machine there were several messages from our friends “back in the country” — messages from Israel. First, they wanted to make sure we were unhurt in the attack last Tuesday. Then, they wanted to wish warmth and comfort unto us.

I’ve known these sorts of phone calls for years. But they always used to go the other way around. After every bomb in Israel we call our family and friends to verify they’re still alive and give our sympathy. Over the past year, though, the violence has become so common that the phone calls have ceased.

I thought that by moving to America we were moving away from many of the troubles of Israel. But now, I can’t escape the thought that all it took to destroy the Twin Towers was commitment. For the past week, I have felt not much other than confusion and a cold, naked fear.

Our nation is not used to being attacked on its own soil. But I assure you, if we strike back unwisely, we will be hit again. This is a war we could feasibly lose. We could blow all of Afghanistan off the map, and we still wouldn’t win. Our enemies wield a weapon much more powerful than our guns and bombs. They have the most resolutely perverted willpower we can imagine. We have seen that death doesn’t shake them.

Our anger is their fuel, and they will continue to fight, using their own bodies as weapons because they believe it is right. A successful American attack will not be an assault of jets and bullets, but a concerted effort on behalf of intelligence and social infiltration forces to destroy the system of twisted education that the terrorists teach to their sons.

I am scared down to the core of myself because I know this story. I’ve been seeing it happen in my first home in Israel, and now it’s playing out here. We strike, then they strike, then we strike worse, then they do. Where is the end?

America, my message to you is this: This is not an arm wrestling match. It is a battle of wits and a test of will.

Omri Navot ’02

September 16, 2001