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Vision of Hope
file under: vision of hopepeace in the Middle Eastcivil disobiencea new model 28 Jul 2011 12:03 PM
A Day at the Beach Posted by Nissim Dahan
 

A friend of mine brought to my attention a recent article by Ethan Bronner in The New York Times, Where Politics Are Complex, Simple Joys at the Beach. The article describes a group of Israeli women who engage in civil disobedience by sneaking into Israel groups of Palestinian women to enjoy a day at the beach. The Israeli women, who call themselves We Will Not Obey, are willing to break the law to send the message that in their opinion, the occupation, with its attendent legislation, is unjust and should be brought to an end. The Palestinian women are willing to take the heat from their husbands, friends, and families, to enjoy a day at the beach, and to taste a small measure of freedom.

 

While the beach scene may seem idyllic on its face, not everything goes smoothly on such occasions. A Palestinian woman, who has five of her brothers in Israeli prisons, and whose other brother was killed when he entered a settler religious academy armed with a knife, said, "This is all ours," when she first entered Tel Aviv. The Israeli women reminded her, however, that his was their home. Another Palestinian woman admitted that her husband's family did not approve of her visits, "How can you be with the Jews, they ask me, are you a collaborator?"

 

So perhaps the deep seated divide between these two people is still there, only to be temporarily papered over by an occasional act of defiance, an occasional visit to the beach. But something about this story struck me as significant. Perhaps it was the fact that women, and not men, were taking the initiative to defy the law, but in a gentle, and non-violent manner. Women, on the whole, seem to have a keen sense of right and wrong, and are not naturally inclined to obsess over ideological differences. Women have better things to do with their time. They tend to build bridges, not walls.

 

Our daughter gave birth to her fourth child this week. At a moment's notice, my wife and she sprang into action, making the necessary arrangements to bring this child into the world, and to care for her as best they could. For the most part, the men sat back, watched, and marveled at it all.  Who are women, I often ask myself. They are the givers of life, and the caretakers of life, and as such are uniquely qualified to reconstitute their societies consistent with a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom.

 

There are many instances, around the world, of a disconnect between the policies of government and the aspirations of the people. The majority of Israelis and Palestinians want peace, but their leaders seem disinclined to make the effort. In the Arab world, the man on the street wants a decent job and the personal freedom to live his life as he sees fit. And yet, the powers that be remain committed to a model that is repressive and out of step with the will of the people. In the United States, Republicans and Democrats, who are debating a solution to debt crisis, are willing to play a game of chicken with the full faith and credit of the country, which could wreak economic havoc in the U.S. and around the world.

 

Leaders, on all sides of the fence, get caught up in ideological traps, traps which imprison their thinking, traps which make it difficult to find common ground, and traps which make compromise a dirty word. At a time when global problems require global solutions, narrow-minded ideological positions keep us cooped up in our own little worlds. And it's going to take more than a Day at the Beach for us to enjoy the light of day.

 

One of the Israeli women mentioned Rosa Parks, "...I admire her, because she had the courage to break a law that was not right." Yes, but that was not enough. What was needed was a vision, a big vision of hope. Dr. King was a man possessed of such a vision, a vision of civil rights and equal treatment under the law. Ordinarily, Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on the bus, would have been a non-event. But Dr. King was no ordinary man. He was a man possessed of a vision, a big vision of hope. He saw in Rosa Parks an opportunity to give substance to his vision, and soon enough, the reality on the ground grew to fill up the space created by the vision. Such is the dynamic of change in the world, and such is the prescription for change in the Middle East.

 

So let us enjoy our Day at the Beach. Let us continue to push the envelope, just a tad, and without violence, to get our voices heard. But let us, as well, find the courage and the wisdom to give purpose to our passions. Let us embrace a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom, and let us give substance to that vision by changing peoples' lives for the better, with new realities that speak louder than words, and which help to break the walls of ideological divides.

 

 

Comments (4)Add Comment
YES
written by GABE1, July 28, 2011
All is honky dorey. We live in a Utopia that is only marred by the existence of Israel. If only those damned Jews would give those peaceful Arabs good paying jobs, Judea and Samaria, Gaza and pre 1967 Israel than the world would not have chaos and turmoil.

I give up, you are right.Lets give them all hope and lets not forget money and Israel.

I have come to the conclusion that debating with the likes of you is a colossal waste of time.
YES2
written by GABE1, July 29, 2011
You are also right that we must give up the "occubation" of our homeland and make way for a 23rd Terror riddled Arab state. After all the 99.8% of the land mass of the Middle East is not enough for them.

We are after all a treacherous people whose only purpose in life is to "occuby" and weigh down the Arabs, through our defending ourselves, through failing to provide , in addition to UNWRA and through generally failing to disappear as a people and as a state. After all they tried to be Beaceful in 1929, 1937, 1947 and 1967 and we, the apes and pigs that we are, failed to co-operate.

But you have the solution, don't you ? Appeasement, Appeasement and more Appeasement. Hell, you are even prepared to make it easier for them by making Israel smaller or as Abba Eban said, keep Israel in the 1967 Auswitz Borders.

The more I read your stupidities, the angrier I get. But you will after all come to Israel's defence when she is on the verge of disappearing. I WOULD NOT HOLD MY BREATH FOR THAT. This act would probably offend your sense of fair play.
You're Not Bi-Polar, Are You?
written by Nissim Dahan, July 29, 2011
Sometimes you write like a normal person, and other times you stoop down to tactics no different than those used by the extremists that you rail about.

And when you're in your down mood, you don't mind twisting what I've said, and putting words in my mouth.

Where, my friend, did I say that we should return to the 1967 borders?

If my memory serves me right, I believe I said that the new borders would probably include land swaps to the tune of about 4-6%, so that the large settlement blocs would remain as part of Israel, and so that security considerations can be taken into account.

But you don't quite care what I have to say. Do you? You'd rather say what you have to say, and anything that gets in the way of your point of view must be crushed. Is that the game? Is that any different from how the extremists behave?

And yes, help people find a job, and most of them will be less likely to choose terror and extremism. It's not brain surgery. It's common sense.

And where did I say we should give them money? If my memory serves me right, I said that Arab capital will be used to create Arab jobs. If the U.S. gets involved it will be to create U.S. jobs, which is in her vested interest.

And no, I did not consider our debates to be a waste of time, and I'll tell you why. I figured that if, and granted it's a big if, if i could convince you, then I could convince the entire Arab world. Quite frankly, you're a harder sale. It's like the song says, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere..."

And yes, don't sugar coat it, we are occupying another people. I know you don't believe that, and that you'll use any legal argument that comes to mind, but yes, we're calling a lot of the shots in the West Bank, and we should find a way to get the hell out of there, not only for their sake, but for our own. This occupation is destroying who we are, and who we were meant to be, and this little interchange, between you and me, is just a small case in point.

I don't believe in appeasement. That's your word. I believe in investment, and in job creation, and in making sense of this world, and believing what makes sense, and giving people a sense of hope, and sustaining the hope, and when necessary, fighting for what we believe is right, but positioning that fight within a Vision of Hope.

That's what I believe. What do you believe. In all your diatribes, I don't see even a hint of what you would do to secure our beloved homeland. Your motto: Keep it going the way it is.

Sorry, that's not in the cards.

Israel is not about to disappear. She is vibrant and strong. She should use her strength to secure the peace, to revitalize the region, and to secure herself even more in so doing.
...
written by zcardin, August 02, 2011
Gabe Nissim gets to explain alot what his vision of Israel and the Middle East is What is your vision for the middle East.
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