THE VACUUM AT THE TOP
This is all a gift….Trump, Netanyahu. The current calamity, in both the U.S. and Israel, is a disaster that’s also an opportunity. The thousands of women in the street today were not there last week. Where will they be tomorrow? All our lives, we choose from day to day which side we are on. Usually, our stand is not to take one. But thanks to these two dark men, we must choose sides, for there is nothing at the top. I love the t-shirt one woman is wearing, “I’m with her” with arrows pointing in every direction. My Dad would have loved this moment.
God is sending us all a broad hint….”Hey, guys,” he could be saying, “Look around! These are the only people, the ones around you, who will determine what will be in your lives. There are no leaders now, other than you. Get off the dime, and get on with it.”
The Israelis working for peace are wearier than the fired-up Americans in the street today. We’re tired of longing for the beauty of the Israel we love. Like some lost lover, Israel was our sweetheart. The beloved Judean hills now turn green and the narcissus comes, bringing the deep musk of a wet Jerusalem winter. Someone slipped our beloved Israel some heroin in 1967 and over the years she got strung out, got nasty and cruel and selfish and mean. And we miss her, that country of warm, friendly middle-eastern people who rub up against each other without tension and with humor. We Israelis long for a time when we felt that assumption of relatedness that sociologists observe. But we are split, as out president says, into four tribes: liberal secularists, nationalist religious people, ultra-orthodox, and Arabs. And we’re tearing each other apart.
Those vibrant Americans out there in the street today will have to decide next week what they are going to do with their rage and hurt. We Israelis must also awaken to the wake-up call that, without inauguration day, is here. Netanyahu must be brought down, and a popular struggle for the soul of the country must begin. No leader is in sight, here, and we have to see to it that, whoever replaces Netanyahu will know he has a mandate from an overwhelming majority of Israelis to achieve comprehensive peace with the Palestinians. We will make the U.N. resolution superfluous, because we will finally design peace ourselves, with our enemies.
At an international non-violent communication course happening now in Beit Jalla, a suburb of Bethlehem, an American participant said to me, “I’ve always felt that if you Israelis and Palestinians can work it out, anyone in the world can.”
Let’s get to it. There are hearts and minds to win. But, no, this time, let us allow our adversaries to change our hearts and minds. Let us enter a dialogue among the concerned majority and play a loser-less game, with no net dividing us, let’s stand in a circle and see, together, how long we can keep the volleyball in the air.
Hillary ignored wide swaths of Americans. The Israeli left has alienated much of the population. 48% of Israelis believe leftists are traitors. Only by befriending adversaries will they see who we are…. after we see who they are.
We are patriots, and our hearts yearn for a quiet day at the beach, asking the strangers under the next sun-shade if they’ll watch our stuff while we go for a swim.
Yoav Peck, a Jerusalem organizational psychologist, is director of the Sulha Peace Project, bringing Palestinians and Israelis together for heart-to-heart contact