Israel at Sixty

During the early years of Zionism, the great Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem said that the Jews were embarking on a difficult journey, a return to history. Sixty years later, the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which Israel's very right to exist plays a fundamental role, reminds us that the Jews’ journey continues.

Tel Aviv – Ten years ago, on Israel’s 50th anniversary, the peace process begun by the path-breaking Oslo accord, reached by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1993, established the legitimacy of two peoples’ national existence in their shared homeland on the basis of territorial compromise. There was a general feeling that this long conflict was being resolved.

Unfortunately, the past ten years have witnessed a painful setback in many areas. Individuals and peoples are capable of enduring difficulties if there is a sense that the future will be better and conflicts resolved. But a sudden backward regression can lead to despair, which we feel today.

Why is it that struggles far more complex than the Israel-Arab conflict – apartheid in South Africa, the partition of Germany, or the collapse of the Soviet Union – all seem to have been resolved, usually without bloodshed, whereas the Middle East conflict, after more than a century, claims more victims every day?

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