Tonight at shul, Dr. Ra'anan Gissen,the top adviser and spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, spoke to the congregation at Washington Hebrew about the Israel situation. His fervor and faith excited me, but some of his comments about Palestinians frustrated me. "They" are a very particular way in his eyes, eyes that spent many, many years as an IDF soldier and top chief. After the service I stopped him to talk about humanitarian issues, mostly because friends on another forum are stricken with the question of "why don't the Palestinians have basic human rights?" I asked him this and his hands flew in the air and the melon in his mouth moved in chunks to his lip and onto the floor. He went on about the Palestinians and how they treat their own people. How Hamas and the other terrorist groups USE their people in a fight of pure hatred. He talked about how Palestinians don't know how to live without occupation, citing the removal in Gaza and how it still pissed them off. "They need a reason to continue to fight us!" he said.
But I agreed with him strongly when he discussed what it will take for peace talks like there were in the 50s and 60s. It will take a man who loves his people, he said. A man who cares more about his people than about hating Israel. That's the problem with Palestinians, he added. They live for hatred, and they are a smart people, but consumed and living on hate.
In a Season 6 episode of the West Wing, one of the characters said, "You know, the Jews and Muslims are so much alike" and the other character said "How so?" And she replied with something along the lines of "No one has ever wanted either of them."
The speaker ended his talk with an oft-quoted biblical phrase -- "May God grant strength to his people, and bless them with peace." He pointed out that peace isn't merely granted, it doesn't fall down from the heavens. Strength must first exist for there to be peace. The translation for the word sounds most like "oz" and can mean strength or courage. May we find both so that peace is more than just a dream we all want desperately to have.