… And punish the bad. Or at least demand t’shuvah – expressing remorse and correcting your ways.
This isn’t a reference to Rosh Hashana and being a good person. It’s about the historic signing we witnessed together this week, bringing peace and good will among neighbors here in the Middle East. A wonderful start to the new year. An auspicious beginning of ties that can bring prosperity for all those living here.
Yet the palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity – yet again. Their response to good will is terrorism. On a day when Arabs and Jews gathered in Washington to proclaim a new way forward, Gazans shot a volley of deadly rockets at Israel’s towns, sending thousands of families running for cover in the middle of the night. Now thirteen families cope with injuries while residents of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and more wonder if they’ll sleep in their beds safely tonight.
We Jews raise our children to want the best in life. For themselves, for others. Our Rosh Hashana prayers focus on the individual within a community, and a community within a world. Be good, do good, hope for good in return. That’s the best we can do. I find myself expecting the same from our Arab neighbors, and receiving it on a personal basis. People are people, and we all want to see our kids safely home from school at the end of each day. But leaders are leaders, and well, to put it bluntly, the palestinian leadership has been anything but peace seeking. These bad ways must not go unpunished.
Now that the world has stopped waiting for Palestinian Authority leaders to become less corrupt, to seek the good for their people rather than use them in an ideological war to destroy Israel, perhaps there’s hope. Economic prosperity in the region, propelled by peace accords, helps everyone. It boosts not only new prospects for cooperation on so many levels, from battling COVID and environmental issues to borders and military needs – but also introduces us as people. And that’s the best way to make peace.
Israeli credit cards will soon be accepted in Abu Dabi. International phone calling will be possible, and Israeli planes will fly over Saudi air space. Business incentives between our countries are inevitable, and economic prosperity is the calling card of this new hope. As we enter the new Jewish year, we can only hope that the local Arab populations living among us will get smarter. For their own good, and for ours.
Shana tovah! Happy new year to all.