Shalom (Hebrew for Peace) is probably the most spoken word in the Jewish culture and in Eretz Yisrael. We greet each other with it. We bid farewell using it and wish it to each other for Shabbat at least 52 times a year. It is what many of us wish for when we light our Erev Shabbat candles. Many of the songs of my childhood and my adulthood in Israel had Shalom as their motif. The word is many a times also the subject of my lessons in my English classes. We want it, crave it and pray for it.My question was and remains the same, though, is it possible?I have no intention of giving up the quest, the hope for Peace. That would go against anything our Jewish sages, our Torah and our Jewish essence guide us. But in the ocean of hatred in which our enemies and neighbors swim and upon which their leaders thrive, one has to stop and wonder, how effective are our efforts.
After all, we have tried many ways to “skin the cat” called Peace. We signed the Oslo Accord only to recognize that all it demanded was more immolation on the altar of Peace without advancing us towards that long awaited goal even one inch. Others have offered to mediate and help revive the “Peace process.” We declared our intentions to give up more land and cave in to the demands of our adversaries. All to no avail.Time to stop the race for Peace and re-evaluate our path. We seem to have lost our compass. One need not be a rocket scientist to grasp that as long as hatred is the main theme in Arab schools (some in Yisrael as well!) we are heading towards the abyss. The damage currently caused by the abhorrence and incitement as being taught and practiced in Arab schools, Mosques and movements will take years, decades to undo. Each day that passes, that venom seeps deeper and deeper reducing any chances to extract or remove it. It sinks in and settles in each and every impressionable brain cell of the Arab youth.Several years ago, I was invited to visit an Arab village in the Galilee. Part of the visit included teaching an English class to their students. I loved it. It also included a visit with the school principal. The latter shared with me his academic aspirations. It turned out he was working on his PhD. Quite commendable, I remember thinking, until I heard the subject of his dissertation, “The Literature of Hezbollah.” Need I tell you, dear readers, what the main premise of such “literature” might be? That was in Eretz Yisrael, the Home of the Jewish state and under the supervision of the Israeli Ministry of Education. Just imagine what might be going on in areas which are under the regulation of foreign, hatred obsessed and generously financed entities?As long as there is one school, one educational program in the Arab world loudly and openly preaching and encouraging the killing of Israelis, Jews and others, I am afraid any voices for Peace will be drowning. They will drown, not because they refuse or unable to continue to swim against the current but because that current is slowly but surely turning into one big tsunami wave threatening to obliterate us all.