Many things have been said about the Middle East. Dozens of analyses have been written, countless arguments have been pled and endless tries at negotiations have failed. Nothing has helped. Israel and the Palestinians are at war as they were ever before, no solution is in sight, tensions reach a new climax on a daily basis, and no one cares about our children being murdered but ourselves. Supposedly.
Apart from the standard rhetoric and some political eloquence not much is visible of that immense caring that our leaders and government pledge. And while we see the media and Facebook filled with beautiful eulogies, heart wrenching pictures and stories of families saying their goodbyes to loved ones that were brutally ripped out of life, there is not much change. Yes, secret operations are going on, inciters are being taken into custody, road blocks put up to calm the flames. And yes, this wave of terror too shall pass, and we shall overcome it triumphantly.
But what kind of reality are we living in? In what kind of reality do local news reporters speak of just another wave of terror? In what kind of reality do people go on about life while people are being murdered left and right? In what kind of reality is the outbreak of another war every two or three year’s routine?
Yes, there is no people on earth that trumps terror like we do. There is no country that looks terror in the face and defeats it with unity among its people like we do. No other people answers terror by singing and dancing in the streets, by swearing its allegiance to G-d and the promise to go on in the face of tragedy.
But, I ask myself, is that a good thing? Do we know how to respond to terror better than anyone else because we are morally superior? Because our religion teaches us how to? Or, and sadly I fear this to be the ultimate truth, have we just become so accustomed to tragedy and terror, gathered so much experience over the course of 2000 years of persecution and a subsequent 70 years of conflict, that we are nothing else than experts at mourning?
Us Jews, we like to say “never again!” when referring to the holocaust. We are determined that while we still experience anti-Semitism (aka anti-Zionism) the real Jewish persecution that has haunted us over the millennia is a thing of the past, that nobody will dictate our future but ourselves. Yet here we are, accepting the status quo, accepting the deaths of our brethren, as long as the count is not too high, and we blind ourselves with meaningless slogans.
How can our reality possibly change if we have become so numb to the headlines showing another two murders, another knife stabbing, another car ramming? If we know that there is going to be a war, for the simple reason that “there hasn’t been one in two years”?
Anyone familiar with Israel’s history knows Golda Meir’s century-quote: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Bibi Netanyahu’s modern spin on that goes like this: “If the Palestinians were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel were to lay down theirs, there would be no Israel”. While they might be right with their final assessment, their attitude is wrong. The Palestinians will never love their children more than they hate us, nor will they ever put down their arms. The blatant truth is: Peace will come when Israel stops accepting the murder of its citizens!
Peace will come when Israel starts caring more about what its own citizens feel than what the world thinks. Peace will come when a cold blooded murder in the streets of Jerusalem will raise hell fire with it, when every single lost soul triggers an outright war, and when Israel realizes that nothing will change until Israel changes it!
Maybe we have not yet rid ourselves entirely of the shackles of persecution, not yet taken up a position of real sovereignty. If we strive to be responsible for our own fate then it is us who will decide when there is peace. It is time to stop allowing the Palestinian people to hold the clue to change. It is not when they start loving their children or when they put down their arms. The only thing that our divided and diverse society agrees on unanimously is that we want to live in peace. Therefore, we have to create peace. Peace will come when Israel assumes the responsibility for peace!