The past few weeks in Israel have been among the most vexing and upsetting in recent memory. It seems that hardly a day goes by without a multiplicity of attacks, as the Palestinians continue to wage a campaign of terror and violence fueled by primal hatred.
As I write these words, a Jewish family in Tzfat is mourning their 21-year-old daughter, Hadar Buchris, who was brutally stabbed to death Sunday by a Palestinian in Gush Etzion. Buchris had recently returned from a trip abroad, and was on her way to study Torah at a religious women's seminary in Bat Ayin when her life was abruptly cut short.
Sadly, her family is not the only one in recent weeks to see their world come crashing down on them.
Walking through the streets of Amsterdam last week, I found myself confronting a disagreeable dilemma.
It is a predicament that every religious Jewish male traveler to Europe now faces at one time or another, and it touches on weighty matters of history, identity and faith.
Simply put, the question is this: is it safe to wear a yarmulke on the Continent? The very fact that uncertainty exists surrounding this issue barely 70 years after the ovens of Auschwitz-Birkenau were shut down speaks volumes about the current state of European liberalism and civilization.
And that is what makes this question relevant not only to traditional Jews, but to anyone who cares about the future of the West.
In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, Israel along with much of the rest of the civilized world reacted with a mix of revulsion, anger and resolve.
Putting aside disagreements on a range of international issues, the Jewish state voiced its full support for France and its people, which is precisely what friends do in one another's hour of need.
This is as it should be, especially when two democracies find themselves beset by the same vicious foe. But in light of France's past policies in the Middle East, the question one cannot help but ask is whether French leaders would do the same vis-à-vis Israel if and when the tables were turned.
In the next few days, barring a last-minute reversal, the Israeli government will dispatch soldiers and bulldozers with a terrible task on their hands: to demolish a synagogue in Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem.
Known as Ayelet HaShachar, the Sephardi synagogue has served the local community for more than 15 years and accommodates over 300 worshipers, many of whom are veterans of IDF combat units who risked their lives in defense of the state.
But now, that very same state is poised to carry out a disgraceful ruling issued last week by Israel's Supreme Court, which declared: "[W]e rule that the destruction shall take place no later than November 17, 2015."
For the past several weeks, hardly a day has gone by without a barrage of Palestinian terror attacks against innocent Israelis.
Fueled by ceaseless incitement orchestrated by senior Palestinian officials, terrorists have taken up knives, guns and stones in an effort to terrify and intimidate the Jewish state and instill fear among its residents.
This is a clear-cut case of good versus evil, of a democratic society under siege by barbaric forces who attack men, women and children simply because they are Jews.
In the face of this violent onslaught, the nations of Europe should have been rallying around Israel and showing their support, as the only democracy in the Middle East confronts a new wave of hatred and hurt.