Dear Ishmael

It has been many years since together we buried our father Abraham at the cave in Hebron. Much has happened in the ensuing epochs to both of us. But through our many sacrifices, I see that we have both stayed true to our one G-d, Father to our father, and Father to us all.
I have wanted to write you for many years, but always the terms of our reconciliation have been concealed by our Lord. We follow different revelations–you claiming linkage to me through your Prophet’s recitation and its relationship to our father–and we, on the other hand, losing connection to you after our father’s burial at Hebron. But because our brotherly roots are planted within Torah and Koran, I believe now, at this most critical juncture, that I have found within my book (Torah) the theological basis for a genuine peace between our two religions.
Of course, the theological peace is not, and cannot be, a political peace. The theological peace is the true peace, the peace sanctioned by Heaven. Political peace treaties are constantly being broken. Like a peace based on “phased struggle” or a “temporary truce”, these treaties are paper-thin and easily torn up when the strategic military situation changes. These so-called peace treaties are in reality all about power. No, my dear brother, what I am referring to is a genuine peace based upon the Covenant that G-d sealed upon our flesh as an everlasting sign of the promise He made to our father, Abraham. This theological peace will be the true peace. It will be sworn before G-d, signed at the burial cave of our father, witnessed by the entire world and enshrined forever, as the Divine Spirit guides our hands and our hearts.
However, dear brother, the political realities are such that time is running very, very short. Not only is our one- hundred-year war quickly approaching what could become a cataclysmic final battle, but also many of your tribes are tearing at each other in a brutal Middle East civil war. I see the horrific results on my television. The images are stark and very disturbing. Muslims being shot down like rabid dogs–and by fellow Muslims, no less. Meanwhile, the great powers on the UN Security Council bicker like little children in a grotesque display of power politics and spheres of influence.
Oh Ishmael, what has become of our world’s Holy roots? If only this true peace, based within the revelation that we both accept, this theological peace between my nation and yours, could become an example to all that violence against people must stop. Together we could begin to implement the inalienable human rights that G-d has granted to all His children by means of His revelation.
Dear brother, I repeat, the political limitations are such that time is running very, very short. Keeping this reality in mind, another image on my television is disturbing me more than any other. This image is so crude that I find it hard to believe it originates from your own camp. It is the picture of a Shahab-3 missile draped with a banner which reads: “Wipe Israel Off the Map!” Is this your intention, brother? Do you wish to acquire the means by which you could duplicate, on my seed, on our father’s seed, that which was attempted in Europe? Is it my nuclear annihilation you desire?
Yes, brother, I will be honest with you. My people have nuclear weapons. We have them because the entire world stood by and did nothing–I repeat, nothing–to stop a genocide against an unarmed people, my people. Now your Islamic Republic of Iran is threatening us with a final annihilation, an annihilation of the Jewish People on the very Holy soil which your Koran acknowledges to be our right through our common prophet, Moses.
My dear brother, you must understand that my people are no longer unarmed. The scenario that the Islamic Republic envisions can only lead to an apocalyptic nightmare unprecedented in world history. What would our father Abraham say? Would he not be irrevocably ashamed and forever heartbroken if we were to engage in a horrific nuclear buildup, leading to the most unstable razor’s edge war of nerves? Was he not the father that loved both his sons with an unreserved passion? Aren’t we, together, the ancient and modern link who holds the deed to G-d’s Covenant through our father? Isn’t this mutual deed a divine promise, to establish for the world a land which can become a House of Peace containing two religions united through His revelation? Instead of war, our land could become a beacon of righteousness and light. As Judaism partners with Islam in peace. won’t this point the way to humanity’s true destiny?
Oh dear brother, are you not afraid, as I am, that the very Days of Judgement are upon us? How can nations interlinked through revelation be at each others’ throats? Our behavior has become an abomination in the sight of G-d. For you believe that your connection to me is authored by Allah himself, spoken through Mohammed, and connected back to Abraham, our father. We both believe that Israel’s great kings and prophets are an inspiration to both our peoples.
Oh sons of Abraham, why do we kill each other? Isn’t to commit such murder to cut ourselves off from our own father? In so doing, we abandon the very Covenant by which the original revelation has become enshrined. For I am stating categorically that G-d’s Covenant with Abraham is a land deed promised, millennia ago, to us both. The essential contradiction in Genesis 17 holds the key to our very salvation, the theological peace.
Oh yes, Ishmael, you are flesh of my flesh. Like the sign of the Covenant that we both have cut from our bodies, our love for our common father is sealed within our hearts. Because our love is strong and our commitment to G-d is great, we must begin the long reconciliation toward the theological peace. But unfortunately, dear brother, time is not a luxury we possess. We must erect a new political structure for our region, and erect it quickly. This structure must be just, fair and secure for all the current states of our area. It is not the theological peace, but hopefully it will be like a desert spring to water the initial seeds of our Holy Mission. We must pull back from the chasm before it is too late. Dear brother, I offer you this regional political compromise with the same spirit of goodwill as I have expressed within the body of this letter. This regional political peace plan must be agreed upon as soon as possible.
1. A Zone of Peace shall be established among the states of the Middle East.
2. All foreign navies shall be banned from the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
3. All foreign air forces shall be denied the right to bases throughout the Zone of Peace.
4. No state in the Zone of Peace may attack another state.
5. If such an attack should occur, the permanent members of the UN Security Council would come to the aid of the aggrieved state.
6. If such an attack should occur, the states within the Zone of Peace would come to the aid of the aggrieved state.
7. Only sovereign states would be allowed to possess military equipment. Extra-territorial militias would be outlawed.
8. No nuclear enrichment or heavy-water reactors would be allowed in the Zone of Peace.
9. All states within the Zone of Peace must have diplomatic relations with all other states.
10. All states within the Zone of Peace must sign the NPT, and negotiations for a Middle East nuclear-weapons-free-zone must begin within 12 months of the treaty signing deadline.
11. All states within the Zone of Peace must pledge their allegiance to a non-hegemonic regional structure, and states within the Zone of Peace will also pledge not to conspire with other states for the purpose of such hegemony.
12. The Israeli-Arab conflict shall be decided on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The Covenant of Abraham requires that genuine compromise and goodwill must become the principles upon which these negotiations rest.
Dear Ishmael, I look forward to many happy, prosperous and peaceful centuries whereupon the worship of our G-d in our Holy Land may draw all nations toward His justice and mercy. Your loving brother, Isaac

About the Author
Steven Horowitz has been a farmer, journalist and teacher spanning the last 45 years. He resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. During the 1970's, he lived on kibbutz in Israel, where he worked as a shepherd and construction worker. In 1985, he was the winner of the Christian Science Monitor's Peace 2010 international essay contest. He was a contributing author to the book "How Peace came to the World" (MIT Press).