For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at Bar-Ilan University on June 14 last year, in which he broke with his own and his Likud Party’s ideological background by accepting the principle of a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, he laid down two conditions for that acceptance. One was that the Palestinian state be effectively demilitarized. The other was that “the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people.”
Netanyahu has reiterated the Jewish-state theme more than once this month, most notably in offering to extend the freeze on Jewish home-building in the West Bank in return for that same recognition that the Palestinians, of course, continue to refuse to grant. In other words, what Netanyahu was articulating back on June 14, 2009, was a strategy, one he keeps pursuing and will likely continue to pursue.
Palestinians have noted in reply that Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan without demanding that these countries formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians also say that they already “recognized Israel” at the start of the Oslo process in 1993—which means only that they recognized its existence as a fact, a “recognition” that is without normative content.
They also point out that Israel, off and on, has been negotiating with the Palestinians since 1993 without the Jewish-state recognition. But these Palestinian objections to Netanyahu’s demand can easily be turned around by asking why the recognition should be so hard to grant in the first place—especially when Netanyahu, the Likud leader, has explicitly accepted the Palestinian-state principle.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"