This article commemorates the 70th anniversary of the UN vote to reestablish a sovereign Jewish state and reflects my thoughts on Trump’s trumpeting that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
On Simchat Torah, I borrowed a home organization book from a friend. The book listed dozens of utensils that one needs for an organized kitchen including a cheese slicer. I realized that I hadn’t seen one in 40 years, yet I have a distinct memory from my childhood of someone slicing into a block of Velveeta, making perfect squares of day-glow orange cheese product.
The day after Simchat Torah, I went to a supermarket in Ramat Beit Hakerem. It was packed as if no one had shopped for the long holiday period that had just finished. Feast or famine. At the cheese counter, I asked the clerk, an Arab woman, for 200 grams of my favorite garlic-dill cheese, sliced. She started speaking to me in English, I gently guided her into Hebrew, she was determined to speak English, I was firm in speaking Hebrew, yet we smiled and I wished her shukraan, or thank you, in Arabic. With 1,000 shoppers, 1 p.m. on Friday, I needed to get home and of course the scanner at the checkout couldn’t read the code on the sticker slapped onto the cheese packet. Somehow the cheese clerk appeared out of nowhere and the cashier, a religious Jewish woman, tossed her my cheese…who moved my cheese?…back and forth my cheese went while 50 shoppers behind me prepared to revolt…until finally the cashier was able to type in the code. Suddenly Ms. Cheese Clerk popped up again and said she realized that the cheese was actually on sale and proceeded to go with me to the front counter, making sure that I received the 30 agorot difference. She gave me my 7.2 cents.
And I realized…this is where peace starts. When an Arab woman and a Jewish woman exchange pleasantries, when an Arab clerk steps out of nowhere and heroically makes sure I’m not overcharged…and I think this is the problem with the peace process. With Sadat stepping off a plane, with each destruction of a home in a Jewish community, it seems as if people feel these are “kumbaya” moments…that suddenly peace will descend on the land and the swords will smelt into ploughshares. Velveeta is totally artificial. Yet, it slices smoothly and melts evenly every time. It’s consistent.
This is why we need Velveeta peace, not kumbaya pieces. Jews and Arabs don’t need to sit in a circle with arms around each other singing. It’s fine for Jews and Arabs to have different cultural activities and religious values. The key is to eliminate violence. I see the absence of mass rioting in Jerusalem after Trump’s trumpeting as a sign that the Arabs know that the game is up. They realize that rioting has not brought their communities any developmental progress. Arabs aren’t stupid. They know other Arabs are dying by the thousands in Yemen of cholera, an 18th century disease. Syria is a hellhole. Lebanon…nothing there. Saudia Arabia…sand and beheadings. Arabs in Israel go to hospitals, malls and universities without restrictions. The only good fights are when they throw snowballs once every four years. The tree of Israel has grown tall and strong over 70 years, often bending in the wind of violent terror attacks and numerous wars, yet it’s standing tall and developing fruit.
Please Gd, we should see the golden flow of friendly relations, not the red flow of blood from attack after attack. This is why I’ll take Velveeta Peace…artificial yet always dependable, nourishing and warm.
Here’s to the next 70 years!