On Rosh Hashanah last year, we prayed for peace. In fact, we’ve prayed for peace every day since then, and we will continue to pray for a complete peace for ourselves, for all of Israel, and for the world.
In 1979, Israel made peace with Egypt, its first peace accord with an Arab neighbor. I remember watching the accord signing on TV with my classmates. It was a big deal.
On Tuesday, Israel signed its third and fourth peace accords with the Arab world on the White House lawn. The agreements call for normalization of relations including (according to the Israeli Consulate) the opening of mutual embassies, launching of direct flights, and collaborating in the fields of medicine, science, technology, economics, culture, and tourism.
For the first time, Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to allow Israeli planes to fly from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi. Hotels in Abu Dhabi have instructed their hotels to provide kosher food for their guests. Textbooks for grades 1-12 in the United Arab Emirates are changing to reflect positive relations with Israel.
And yet, there are those who are putting on asterisk next to the peace. Some because they don’t like President Trump, some because they don’t like Prime Minister Netanyahu and some because the peace doesn’t include the Palestinians. Friends, peace trumps war, and these agreements should be recognized as such without a footnote. As Netanyahu beautifully said during the signing:
“The people of Israel well know the price of war. I know the price of war. I was wounded in battle. A fellow soldier, a very close friend of mine, died in my arms. My brother Yoni lost his life while leading his soldiers to rescue hostages held by terrorists at Entebbe. My parents’ grief over the loss of Yoni was unrelieved until their dying day. And over the years, when I have come to console the families of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, I have seen that same grief countless times. And this is why I am so deeply moved to be here today. For those who bear the wounds of war cherish the blessings of peace.”
So we pray that in 5781 we will see a complete peace and in the meanwhile we should fully celebrate all intermediate steps as they come.
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