Aug. 2, 2017
It’s become wearying, I confess, this notion that an Israel embroiled in conflict is an Israel that these Jewish leaders cannot embrace. Why, I wondered, is the conflict be (sic) the primary lens through which so many of these visiting Jewish leaders view the Jewish state?
A few weeks ago, I found myself at dinner with a visiting American rabbi. It was a couple of days after the two Israeli border policemen had been murdered in cold blood in the Old City, and the metal detectors had just been installed in response. That evening, at least, it seemed that the government’s decision to install them had worked. Many of us, erroneously, breathed a sigh of relief.
Not the gentleman sitting next to me at dinner, though. He thought the metal detectors a bad idea, but not for the reasons Israeli intelligence cited. “The metal detectors may save Israeli lives,” he said, “but they won’t bring peace any closer, that’s for sure.”
Ah, the peace refrain. It’s become wearying, I confess, this notion that an Israel embroiled in conflict is an Israel that these Jewish leaders cannot embrace. Obviously, Israel’s present conflict with the Palestinians is grinding, and painful for both sides. It is, without doubt, corrosive of Israel’s moral character and is likely a demographic and diplomatic time bomb. And yet, I wondered, why must the conflict be the primary lens through which so many of these visiting Jewish leaders view the Jewish state?
So I said to him, “Well, you do understand that while both sides can and should make things better for the other, if a formal peace agreement is all that matters, you and I are both going to be disappointed; neither of us is going to live to see it.”
He looked at me, stunned. “How do people who live here get up in the morning, if they think they won’t live to see peace? And what do you then think will be here in 10 years, or 20 years?”