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Boston reminds us of best and worst of humanity

By Michael Oren, Special to CNN
April 19, 2013 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Oren: Bombing in Boston sought to instill fear and inflict trauma
  • He says Boston and other communities threatened by terrorism refuse to submit
  • Israeli ambassador to U.S. says both nations know the pain terrorism causes
  • Oren: Remember the victims and refuse to be victimized by terrorism

Editor's note: Michael Oren is Israel's ambassador to the United States.

(CNN) -- The purpose of terror is to terrorize. Though questions remain about those responsible for the attack, the horrendous bombing attack on the Boston Marathon sought to instill paralyzing fear, inflict debilitating trauma and force us to forfeit our freedom. We cannot let terror win.

We -- Americans and Israelis -- live in open societies that enable us to celebrate our freedom. Whether in arts festivals, sporting events, craft fairs or merely playing with our kids in the park, we are upholding those liberties in the face of those seeking to deny them.

Michael Oren
Michael Oren

At the same time, we know that our freedoms must be defended, sometimes by men and women in uniform but most poignantly by people refusing to succumb to fear. We beat terror by refusing to submit.

The people of Boston, who on the day of the bombing were celebrating liberty's birthday, will not submit. Our experience in Israel has taught us that communities and caregivers, police and security forces, elected leaders and volunteers can unite at such times and block the terrorists from achieving their objectives. While taking all possible measures to prevent further loss of life, we adamantly refuse to forfeit our way of life.

Anyone who has suffered the agony of terror knows the pain of the victims and their families as well as the radius of the emotional damage inflicted on countless citizens. We know that at such times, communities can band together and help bind the psychological and physical wounds. When first responders rush through the smoke, risking their own lives to assist the fallen, the healing process begins.

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And the people of Boston will heal. Still, the democratic liberties that Americans and Israelis enjoy cannot be taken for granted. American security forces and policy-makers face complex challenges. We must appreciate their successes in thwarting many attacks. We will continue to embrace freedom, but we will remain vigilant and resolute.

Reis on Boston's resilience
'They messed with the wrong city'

This attack in Boston reminds us of both the worst and best in humanity. In an act of terror, those responsible destroyed and forever altered the lives of hundreds of people. But, stories of the heroic first responders, the athletes who ran to the hospital to donate blood and the countless other acts of selflessness remind us of the American spirit and its capacity to overcome terror and emerge stronger.

We comfort the bereaved, tend to the hurt and take all precautions. We remember the victims but, standing together, refuse to be victimized.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Michael Oren.

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