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Trump, Kim and the Jewish spirit of change

Who could imagine this week's diplomatic breakthrough? Those with a tradition that celebrates hope and change
US President Donald Trump (R) poses with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)
US President Donald Trump (R) poses with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

Sunday, in the news studio, when I turned to world news editor, Arad Nir, who is currently in Singapore, I said that neither of us had ever dreamt that we would one day speak on air about a meeting between the US President and the leader of North Korea. The whole world, I said, is following with wonderment the upcoming meeting between those two bitter rivals, after a 68 year old war, the longest war in modern history. It was amusing to see everyone trying so seriously to predict what would happen in the meeting. After all, those two are very unpredictable people.

The rules of the game change, for better and for worse. New interests appear, old paradigms vanish, surprising things happen. Who could have imagined, for example, that America would surprisingly withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran, that the US embassy would move to Jerusalem, or that the new leader of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, would come to Israel and in defiance of the EU policy, would personally visit the Kotel (yes, he did it yesterday!). All these occurrences break a lot of “boxes” and pre-written scenarios, which do not always work anymore. We got used to thinking in a certain way. Generations of specialists, people of academia, jurists and research institutions have educated us to do this.

Our Jewish scriptures are full of phrases that convey the expectation that we should never get stuck, that we should renew ourselves, that we should not live in a copy-paste fashion: “And we shall sing before Him a new song”, “A new light shall shine upon Zion”, and of course, the beautiful expression, “Renew our days as of old”. On the one hand — renewal, and on the other, as of old. Can a spirit of innovation carry us as well? No, not a spirit of “Trumpism”, but a spirit that shows that things can be different, that man, the people and the whole world can change, that public, as well as personal life, do not have to be lead in an automatic, predicted way.

About the Author
Sivan Rahav Meir is an Israeli television and print journalist, author and radio and TV host.
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