The former is the Syrian rift that we're seeing now, with Assad's deadly responses to internal turmoil. The latter is the holiday of Passover, celebrated by a People who pray daily 'for the peace of Jerusalem'.
President Obama gave two speeches here last week, one in Ramallah supporting a movement based on hate and terror. The other in Jerusalem, turning his back on the only democratically elected government in the Middle East, snubbing our Knesset and choosing selected students as his dutiful audience, telling them to seek peace. And what message came out of Gaza in response? That of deadly rockets, inconveniently hitting the city of Sderot during his visit - but ignored and kept quiet.
Mr. President, friends, we do not have to be taught to seek peace. Our husbands, wives, and children serve in the Israeli army. We put our most cherished lives on the line every day. We fight the battle that your country faces as well, the hate of a Moslem population determined to destroy our Western values of peace and security.
As the Jewish people celebrate the holiday of Passover, we will sit tonight with strangers and loved ones, together at our seder table, recalling our liberation from Egypt. We taste the salt water, and are reminded of the tears of a people enslaved, and we surely recognize the not-long-ago suffering in Europe as well, simply because of race and religion. We, of all people, are aware of the desire for freedom, and we celebrate that quest. We also recognize dishonesty, and are wary of those who wave the flag of freedom without true intent, only to be replaced by more oppression and hatred.
In Bethlehem last week, the Palestinian Authority removed signs of their very real aspiration - the removal of the State of Israel. In an attempt to wipe us off the (proverbial, for now) map, this monument was erected in the city's central square. Realizing it was on Obama's visiting route, the PA removed it temporarily so as not to cause alarm. (http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?
No worries, it's back up, safe and sound, and its message should resonate throughout the free world - our intentions are clear, so pay attention to what we say and do.
We western idealists have a job to do - eyes wide open, we must celebrate our values and work to ensure their application. When confronted with a nuclear Iran, our work is to create a vehemently defiant front, not allowing any cracks in the wall of defiance. Any other choice endangers our children's immediate futures.
As many in the US celebrate the holiday of Easter, and Israel rids itself of leavened bread and enters a spiritual realm of celebration and freedom, it is our duty to face reality - hear our neighbors, understand their intentions and protect our values by supporting Israel morally and militarily, spiritually and practically. By raising our collective voices, we say yes to a strong Israel and strengthen our resolve for true freedom.
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In Jerusalem on this holiday we greet our guests with the ancient priestly blessing
Our friends, join us in a true quest for peace and freedom in the coming year, eyes wide open.