Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL


Another Blown Opportunity

Historic events provide the opportunity for historic changes and a chance for new beginnings. When they are missed, it is truly sad and unfortunate.

Such is the case as the Pope makes his historic visit to the Holy Land. Every place he stops attracts worldwide attention. Every word he writes is scrutinized for its religious and political implications. A man of peace making a personal pilgrimage to the region supposedly involved in the search for peace. What better possibilities for good things to happen. What better setting for leaders with vision to make remarkable overtures that will enable the human spirit to soar and optimism and hope grow in the human heart. How sad it is when politics and hatred cause us to miss these golden opportunities.

Shame on the Mufti of Jerusalem, Islam's Middle East religious leader. You could have greeted the pontiff along with the rabbis of Israel. You could have sent an indelible message to your people that peace is worth every risk. That two peoples who must learn to live together and begin to trust each other can actually be at the same place at the same time under the best of circumstances. But you refused to be seen with your religious counterparts because they are Jews. You let loose a message of such despair that can only cause your people to close their hearts and minds to any thoughts of brotherhood or peaceful co-existence. You make every handshake between Arab and Jew a sham. You spread poison, not promise.

There are many people, and I am one of them, who were always puzzled by these peace negotiations. It is very clear what Israel is giving up and equally unclear what the Palestinians are giving up. It was assumed they were giving up their dream of driving the Jews into the sea, of destroying the state of Israel so that Jews and Moslems can live separate lives, side by side, in the same region without the need to annihilate each other.

But when you annihilate every opportunity to show your people we can learn to stand together under the mantle of hope for the future, it speaks volumes about the state of the real peace process. The fact that our other "leaders" don't come forward to persuade you to change your mind and your attitude so your example can be followed by your flock is a disgrace of gigantic proportion.

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