Ruth Lieberman

The game ball

A Mother’s Perspective on Sports and the Middle East 

After hitting two doubles and some excellent fielding as shortstop, I am proud to say that our son won the game ball in yesterday’s little league game. Now, personal accomplishment is nothing to sneeze at, but the real challenge is playing as a team.

A ballplayer can concentrate on personal stats, or being part of a group effort. I’d like to think he got the ball for cheering on his teammates up at bat, or running over and patting a kid on the head for a great attempted slide at home plate. And best of all, for shaking every kid’s hand on the other team at (their) bitter end.


The State of Israel is strong and independent, while it is the Palestinian Arabs who stand to gain or lose the most from any process that leads to a resolution of the conflict in this part of the world. They speak of independence and personal rights, when really the purpose of their belligerence is the flipside: making sure that Israel ceases to exist as a flourishing Jewish homeland.

Land for peace? Israel has (repeatedly, and sadly) offered 90% of areas demanded by Arab leaders – and the answer has been a repeatedly flat NO. All or nothing, they say. Personal rights? It seems the PA heads would rather let the people languish than recognize the Jewish state as sovereign in any way – in any area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.


So who’s keeping score? The only way to win the game is to pull together. It’s time for the palestinian arabs to take control of their immediate future. In baseball terms, step up to the plate. Each player, each person, knowing he is part of a larger team. 

No need for a sacrifice fly – we’re not looking for martyrs of any sort. What we all need are new leaders – brave Arab leaders to show up and play the game fair and square. No more squandering opportunities for the team, or looking to get rich while denying the people their right to economic growth.

Israel is looking for a real partner. Someone who realizes what the rules are. And what’s at stake. Our Arab neighbors must reject the leaders who look out for themselves simply perpetuating their own power and misappropriating international funds meant to further real economic and social prosperity.

We wont cease while they fire. We wont balk when the security of our team is at stake. We will look out for ourselves and do what we have to do, while seeking true ways to live here together with serious neighbors. We’ll play the nine innings, the four quarters, like we mean it, because we are here to stay. We arent looking to be heroes, but we wont go home til the fat lady sings… because this is the only home we have.

And that’s worth the game ball.

About the Author
Ruth Lieberman is an Israeli-based political consultant and licensed tour guide, combining her love of Israel with political acumen to better Israel's standing both at home and in the eyes of the world. She has consulted for political leaders in Jerusalem and in Washington, from work on election campaigns to public advocacy and events. Her tours in Israel connect Biblical history to modern realities, to highlight Israel's achievements and promote its policies. She's also added 'archaeologist' to her title, working on an advanced degree in the field.