Last night, President Barack Obama shared a huge news story with the word:
Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
Like many Americans, I had mixed emotions regarding this announcement. Unlike the Arab world that cheers and celebrates at the death of an enemy, I do not celebrate death. I am, however, relieved that this bloody chapter in the nation’s history has taken a grand step toward closure.
What does this mean for the United States? According to reports from Washington, the United States will continue with a plan to dramatically reduce the military presence in Afghanistan. That is good news, as enough men and women have been killed in this conflict which began on September 11, 2001.
What does it mean for Israel? Probably not that much. On the eve of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israelis and Jews around the world can see that a victory in a war against genocidal leaders is a victory for Democracy, freedom, and human rights.
I imagine that global support of Israel’s battle with Hamas and other terrorist groups will get a short window of increased support. However, we know that the world has a short memory and Israel will again be vilified for its actions against terrorist and murderers.
In Judaism, we never celebrate death. It is immature and disgraceful to do so. I am embarrassed by the chants of “USA, USA, USA” from around the United States (New York City gets a pass, they deserve to feel relieved and happy that justice has been served). However, our soldiers should feel proud of their effort to bring a horrible murderer to justice and the Democratic world should feel that a small victory has been won in the war against radical Islam.
The war is far from over, however. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas still seek the destruction of Israel. All hate the United States as well. Al Qaeda is alive and well in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and throughout the Middle East. The Bin Laden legacy will live on for many years to come.
At least today we can breathe a sigh of relief that one terrorist, the worst of them all, has been brought to justice.