Although my speech focused on the need for Jewish-Muslim dialogue, it was painfully clear: For too many older Jewish Americans only one thing matters- the fight for Israel’s preservation. Too many in my community have given up on dialogue altogether.
“We had such high expectations (for peace with the Palestinians),” an elderly woman lamented while referring to the failed 1990s Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “Our hearts are broken.”
More than cynicism was at play: Many in the congregation were afraid. My grandparents' generation has been hurt and let down so many times in the past, With Rabin and Arafat in the 1990s and with Abbas and Netanyahu today. Many older Jews are afraid to take a chance again. As one congregant said, his voice choked up: “Israel is a tiny country surrounded by one billion (Muslims). Israel isn’t looking for friendship. Israel is looking for survival.”
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