Below is the conclusion of a longer piece posted in May 2010 found here: http://adamfrank.typepad.com/adam_frank/2010/05/a-tale-of-two-states.html
My 'solution' is to use these next 20-30 years to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians and to lay the foundation for a future peace agreement.
- A priority would be to protect the safety, security, and dignity of the Palestinians.
- A priority would be to improve the standard of living for Palestinians and show the benefits of peaceful co-existence.
- A priority would be to create a tolerance whereby Israel can feel a Palestinian State is not a threat to the Jewish State's security.
- THE priority would be the security of Israel's citizens. It certainly is fair to prioritize the security of Israelis over the security of the Palestinians as the Palestinian leadership condones, supports, and engages in its stated goal of eliminating the State of Israel – there is no such reciprocal goal or acts of Israel toward the Palestinians.
If the Obama Administration and international opinion supports the idea of imposing conditions onto the players in the Middle East in order to prepare the region for a resolving of the Arab/Israeli conflict, consider the following:
Impose on the Palestinians of West Bank and Gaza:
1. An international investment in the infrastructure of Palestinian institutions including government services, the economy and the manufacturing of goods, hospitals, roadways, police force, and judicial systems and the like.
2. A reform of the educational system that eliminates the vilification of Israel; that teaches the history of loss of both sides; that recognizes a Jewish State of Israel; that fertilizes the dreams concomitant with peaceful coexistence.
3. A no-tolerance policy on clerical, religious, political, or media-driven breeding of hatred toward the State of Israel and/or the Jewish people.
4. An active no-tolerance policy toward hate groups of Israel, the Jewish people and Western culture, including the dismantling of all groups committed to the active or passive liberation of Palestine.
Impose on Israel:
1. The immediate construction of comfortable modern 'passage centers' whereby residents of the West Bank and Gaza can respectfully and efficiently be recognized by Israeli authorities as non-dangerous for entry into Israel for the purposes of work and family visits.
2. The removal of all roadblocks between roads connecting Palestinian West Bank cities.
3. The release of Palestinians held without charges in detention jails.
4. The necessary utilities support to help the Palestinian infrastructure and economy advance and develop.
5. A no-tolerance policy toward anti-Palestinian activity.
6. A halt in construction of new site settlements and permission to expand currently settled areas of that have populations of 20,000+.
7. The dismantling of small, illegal settlements with an eye toward dismantling other settlements whose location purposes are no more than to frustrate a future land designation for a Palestinian state.
The separation wall stays up and is completed. Any breach of the wall is considered an act of terror.
International monitors who have been agreed to on by both sides will oversee and report to the P.A., Israel and the Quartet on the implementation.
There is a 'Jewish' way to argue.....
My son attends public school in Israel. He is in second grade (7 and 8 year olds). This photo is a of a page of one of his school workbooks – see translation below. [At end you are requested to respond]
Entitled: A Bomb at the Bus Stop
Yossi wanted to ride the bus and stood at the bus stop.
Suddenly, he saw a black bag under the bench.
"Whose bag is this?,” Yossi asked to the people at the bus stop.
No one answered.
"Does anyone recognize this bag?,” Yossi asked again.
Again, no one answered.
Yossi ran to the public phone and called the police.
Immediately, a mobile police unit arrived with officers and a bomb disposal expert.
The bomp sapper checked the bag and found a ticking bomb inside of it.
The officers moved everyone away and the bomb sapper detonated the bomb.
Yossi was invited to the police station and the station's captain said to him:
"You did something important; you saved all of the people in the area.”
The captain gave Yossi a certificate of appreciation and a badge of the Israeli Police.
PLEASE WRITE A COMMENT WITH YOUR REACTIONS/THOUGHTS ~ Adam
The website Jewish Values Online asked me to answer the following question:
Is it wrong to light a yahrzeit candle or want a memorial service for a beloved dog?
It is healthy to desire to memorialize and respectfully remember a beloved companion animal, and it may be attractive to employ elements of the Jewish mourning customs to grieve the loss of a pet.
The mourning practices of Judaism are powerful, effective and wise, and they express utmost respect and recognition that those who die are vessels of a sacred soul for whom we shared a unique familial bond; they also address the unique pain and sorrow that accompanies the mourner over such a loss of life. For these reasons, using the tools of Jewish mourning is inappropriate for the death of an animal.
The idea to memorialize in a specifically Jewish way via a yahrtzeit candle and/or a similar memorial service is to conflate three matters:
1. the Jewish identity of the one who is grieving;
2. the Jewish customs associated with mourning the loss of a famiy member; and
3. the death of a non-human
Jewish mourning rituals are reserved for a Jew who loses a close family member (parent, spouse, sibling or child). In the same way it would be inappropriate for non-Jewish mourners to adopt Jewish mourning practices – because it is a misapplication of our sacred religious ritual that is specifically defined to exclusive circumstances – so, too, it is inappropriate to apply Jewish mourning practices to the death of a non-human life.
A core value of Judaism is the recognition of the intrinsic value of each human life because we believe that humans share qualities with Gd that are exclusive to these two beings. While the desired effect may be to elevate the worth of an animal's life by mourning it in a human way, in fact and in practice it denigrates the worth of human life. The death of a human family member and that of a companion animal are meant to be, and are, incomparable. To be clear – Jewish mourning is not about the level of love felt toward the object that is lost but is the recognition of the departure of a soul from our world – a soul that possessed unique, Gd-like qualities to transform the world whether or not those qualities were ever actualized.
To light a yahrtzeit candle on the anniversary of both the death of a parent and a pet is to place their cosmic worth on similar planes – though one who is Jewish may choose to do so the act is counter to Judaism.
Video - A Couple Minutes of Torah on the Weekly Portion
Did you hear what I heard?
What are your thoughts on Iran? Are they for real? What are your thoughts on the US role in that dilemma?
In short, the threat from Iran freaks Israelis out (though not me – as I have an unhealthy ability to compartmentalize).
The right question is not "Are they for real?" -- nobody will be able to answer this question with certainty if they do/will have nuclear warhead capabilities.
The question is: "Can Iran be trusted to act responsibly with nuclear weapons?"
1. Is Iran currently satisfied to have sovereignty over its own borders or does it believe it is justified to extend its reach beyond its borders? (recent arrests in Thailand and India give some answer to that, so does its financing and arming of Hezbullah, Hamas and Syria). The Iranians are the prime suspect in the JCC bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994, too, amongst other international terrorism crimes...
2. Does Iran's current leadership deal rationally and fairly with its own citizens who disagree with its policies? If not, it is reasonable to believe that it will deal far worse with those who they deem its enemies, yes?
3. Regarding making a case against a suspected murderer, three terms are mentioned: means, motive, and opportunity.
We know Iran has the motivation -- both its political head (Ahmadinejad) and its Islamic religious head (Khamenei) have spoken publicly about the desire to eliminate the State of Israel (the little devil) and the United States (the big devil).
Means and Opportunity are one-in-the-same as soon as Iran has nuclear warhead capabilities as it currently has the means and opportunity to deliver an indefensible missile strike on Israel and other U.S. Interests.
4. Do we have reason to trust that Iran is not intent on creating nuclear warheads, rather, just using nuclear energy for its domestic energy needs? (Reminder: Iran sits on one of the largest crude oil reserves in the world).
Has Iran been forthcoming in allowing inspector/observers to see the current uranium enrichment production in order to determine the intended use of the uranium?
Question: If, during the Cold War, Cuba (i.e., USSR offshore) were known to be enriching uranium and had publicly espoused an attack on the U.S., would the citizens and government of the U.S. hesitate to prevent those weapons from being developed?
That is, if Cuba were a modern day satellite of Iran would there be reason enough for U.S. to obstruct/intervene in the development of enriched uranium?
The duplicity of Western world leadership on this matter is farcical and...despicable.
Do I think Israel should attack Iran? No.
I think the international community (IC) needs to sanction Iran to the point of impotence. If the IC won't do that -- then I do believe Israel should do whatever it evaluates it needs to do to protect itself and the U.S. should be its partner in doing it.
In contemplating the 2012 Presidential Election, a friend in the U.S. recently contacted me here in Israel and produced the following correspondence:
What's your take on President Obama's policies and interaction with Israel -plus the comments he made about 1967 borders?
A.F.: I think President Obama came into the role of president with genuine desire to resolve the Arab/Israeli conflict starting with Israel and the Palestinians. I think he believed that if he showed the Arab world that he respects them, their customs and cultures and validates their hurt and pain over the *results of the Six Day War then they would meet him half-way in being prepared to make the painful concessions being asked of both Israel and them. I was not upset over his Cairo speech as I saw it as the above, and -- were the U.S. and Israel dealing with another Westernized country/people it would have been the right approach. As I see it, the problem is that the West is not respecting the culture of the non-Israel Middle East enough to treat it according to its approach to matters of conflict. The international community is trying to impose Western diplomatic tools on to a conflict for whom not all the participants react similarly to those tools. It's like respectfully bowing to someone -- but in the culture of the person receiving the bow it is seen as a sign of submission....
I think President Obama feels like most in the international community -- since Israel is the modern, Western country it is in the better position than the Palestinians to intellectually and emotionally understand the conflict and should be willing to make the decisions necessary to appease the other side and bring the problem to an end. Of course, this opinion falls into the same trap as that expressed above re not respecting/understanding the position of the Arab/Muslim population.
Regarding the president's comments on 1967 borders -- it was a mistake for him to say it.
(*part of President Obama's misunderstanding of the situation is to believe the hurt and pain of the Arabs is the result of the Six Day War – in fact, it includes the war in '48.....)
Would what he said stop you from voting for him? I remember you saying any US administration is viewed the same way by Israelis. Essentially, outside of Ron Paul, everyone has the same stance.
A.F.: The 2012 election is a tough question (I do get to vote as I am a U.S. citizen). Truthfully, I'm undecided. The only real qualm I have with President Obama is the Israel issue -- because it's been 3 years of him not changing his approach that has been unsuccessful and damaging. I'm looking for his wisdom and leadership on the matter and I'm not seeing it -- it's fine to make mistakes...I don't see where he has significantly changed or tweaked his approach to this conflict that gives me confidence that 4 more years of him in office will be good for the future health of the Arab/Israeli conflict. I do want to be clear regarding Israel and how I vote in the U.S. Elections – unless I feel sure that a candidate's approach to Israel is damaging/harmful/dangerous to Israel, then the other elements of ideology will persuade/influence my vote. I felt as you describe re Bush II/Gore, Bush II/Kerry, and Obama/McCain. In each of those elections I voted for the Dem. I'll have to see who is the Rep. candidate, and I'll have to decide if I think the current president shows enough wisdom and clarity on the Israel matter by changing approach before I cast my vote.
How was/is Obama's approach damaging? Are Israelis generally distrustful of the President now?
1) I think that Israelis do not believe President Obama is particularly favorable toward Israel. He's as favorable toward Israel as he is the Palestinians which is to say that he doesn't really recognize Israel as being much a victim to the Arab world's anger, anti-Semitism and propaganda....or that the 60+ years of U.S./Israel friendship warrants any greater fidelity to Israel.
2) Anything 'pro-active' the current administration has done to advance the peace process has been to make demands on Israel and not on the Palestinians.
3) President Obama's manner and policies has emboldened the Palestinian leadership and people to feel that the U.S. will continue to press Israel toward up-front concessions without the Palestinians having to make any themselves.
4) President Bill Clinton was in awe of Yitzchak Rabin and had a deep respect for Israel's leaders and its people for the country that Israel is despite all the reasons it should have failed. President Obama gives me the impression that Israel is a headache to him and that there is no greater moral imperative concomitant with Israel's existence – even in the light of the history of the Jewish people – than there would be for any other country.