Building bridges in Israel and America

Peace is a goal. Peace is a mission. And peace is a difficult get in our very chaotic world.

Trump and Clinton (photo credit: REUTERS)
Trump and Clinton
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Whether you live in Jerusalem, London or Philadelphia, the world you live in has become a more dangerous place. The threats have metastasized in ways that make our new challenges both foreign and domestic.
That is indeed a frightening reality and one that means that real solutions to the threats will not be found in the coming months or even the next decade. But we can move toward a safer Israel, a safer America and a safer world.
Peace is a goal. Peace is a mission. And peace is a difficult get in our very chaotic world.
While the chaos in the Middle East has jumbled the playing field in ways that create new opportunities for Israel, it has complicated the ability of the United States to accomplish the vision that elected and reelected President Barack Obama: to bring our men and women home from two theaters of war.
By the time the Obama presidency ends Americans will have voted for a candidate who has promised to defeat Islamic State (ISIS) and eliminate the terror it is spreading throughout Europe, the United States and across the globe.
THE PROBLEM is that it is relatively easy to say that you are for peace in the Middle East, but it has been and remains a multidimensional puzzle that has now been unsolved for a generation. In similar fashion, it may be easy to call for unity in the United States in this year of Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter and the internationalization of ISIS.
But it is extremely difficult to make meaningful progress as Americans are fearful and being increasingly pulled apart by events in the Middle East, Europe and their own back yards.
The question in Israel is whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reach out to the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to help him generate a new peace initiative with the Palestinians before its current leader leaves office.
The question for Americans is whether an outsider who is an iconic reality TV star and billionaire can point to our frailties and sell the need for change in a particularly confused year better than the ultimate insider can endorse the status quo and lead us to accept the proposition that we must come together to build the bridges necessary to overcome our problems.
It may come down to whether we see a future filled with promise or a series of crises that require radical surgery – to be undertaken by a surgeon with no tangible political experience and a predilection to attack anyone who disagrees with him.
The author is the president of ICMEP, Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace, an NGO based in suburban Philadelphia. He can be reached at