Vacation isn’t supposed to be dangerous.
You get on a plane, you get off a plane, you might take a complimentary shuttle to your hotel, and then you try to relax and not spend a ridiculous amount of money on things you don’t need.
When I was in Israel in Project Otzma, every day in the papers there would always be travel ads for weekends away. “Athens! Flight + three nights hotel, $350.” “Paris! Flight, hotel, and two-day tours, $425.” “Vienna! Four-star hotel + flight, $400.” It’s a short flight from Tel Aviv to many European cities, and every Thursday and Friday outbound flights are packed with weekenders looking to enjoy life on the continent. Particularly in 2000-2001, at the outset of the Second Intifada, those trips were very attractive.
We Otzmanikim did a few of them. The process was easy. We’d call ISSTA, book the trip, and it was all set. We’d get picked up at the airport on a special charter, get most of the meals paid for at the hotels, and have the option of signing up for day tours taking us around the important sights. It was great, and a nice escape from the everyday terror and tension of the Intifada.
That will perhaps never be the case again.
Yesterday in Bulgaria, a tour bus picking up Israeli travelers from Burgas Airport was blown up by a suicide bomber. Seven people were killed, and an additional thirty-three were wounded, in a brazen attack that not only claimed the lives of innocent tourists, but also added another hateful incident to the long list of terrorist attacks against Israelis abroad.
The attack came eighteen years to the day that the AMIA building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was bombed, killing 85, and nearly ten years after the deadly attacks in Mombasa, Kenya. It was also an unfortunate culmination of months of attempted terrorist attacks against Israelis in Cyprus, Istanbul, Bangkok, Delhi, Tiblisi, Baku, and Nairobi.
What happened in Bulgaria is another terrible lesson about the hatred of extremists for Israelis, Jews, and civilized people anywhere. All we can hope for is that the sponsors, suppliers, and agents responsible for the planning and execution of the bombing will be found and held accountable.
And then maybe, just maybe, Israelis will be able to go on vacation without worrying if they’ll be able to make it out of the airport alive.
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