OpinionIsrael at War

A dream of peace for Israel

To achieve it, we need a new Jewish warrior class in America.

The late Israeli President Shimon Peres, June 27, 2016. Photo: Ben Kelmer/FLASH90
The late Israeli President Shimon Peres, June 27, 2016. Photo: Ben Kelmer/FLASH90
Howard Teich. Credit: Courtesy.
Howard Teich
Howard Teich is a practicing attorney, has held multiple leadership positions in the Jewish community and is the author of HEAR OUR VOICE: One Israel: Standing Up for Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

In his final book, No Room for Small Dreams, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres wrote: “I have spent most of the better part of my life in pursuit of peace, and in doing so I have learned … making peace is not a simple endeavor. It is a constant struggle. But its complexity should not overshadow its purpose.”

Today, Israel is at war with the terrorist group Hamas in the pursuit of long-term peace, and Shimon Peres’ words are more important than ever. Though the world expressed its horror at Hamas’s inhuman Oct. 7 massacre, this compassion is being drowned out by the anti-Israel narrative shrieked at orchestrated marches of pro-Palestinian “protesters” and on social media. 

I have long been an outspoken supporter of an Israeli declaration of sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and I opposed the forced removal of Jewish life from Gush Katif in Gaza in 2005. I have stood with Israel since the 1950s, when we purchased trees for Israel’s barren land. I was even saddened to see Yamit, a wonderful Israeli settlement in the Sinai Desert, returned to sand in the name of a peace treaty with Egypt.

I have a dream as a Jew, a dream of over 2,000 years. In the form of Israel, that dream is real. The only road to peace for Israel is defeating our enemies and redeeming our land as it was prophesied to us in olden times. This is not the 1930s. This is the 2020s and Israel and “Never Again” are a reality.

Israel is fighting an existential battle for its future as a Jewish state and for the Jewish people itself, as nearly half our worldwide population lives in Israel. But onOct. 8, the American Jewish community was also forced to face a new reality: Our so-called “allies” have chosen to be silent. They do not wish to be our friends at the very moment we most need others to stand with us. We have seen a massive rise in blatantly antisemitic rhetoric, demonstrations and violence in America. Countering this hideous wave of hate will require great strength from our Jewish communal leadership at a time when it appears to be weak.

Nonetheless, we are still living in a golden age for Jewish people in America. With spirit and resilience, we must forge a path to victory and ensure the American support for Israel that is essential for the Jewish state in its fight for peace. We must not be afraid of calling out those who mean us harm, whether through their personal beliefs or political designs.

This is a prophetic time for the Jewish community. It is time to take a hard look at who we are and where we are. We must understand anew that we are carrying out one of the extraordinary missions of the Jewish people: Tikkun olam, the repair of the world. One of our modern-day prophets, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, once said, “Tanks and planes cannot redeem humanity … for evil is indivisible. The greatest task of our time is to take the soul of men out of the pit.”

So, I have a dream of peace after victory in this war. We will live in peace with the other children of Abraham. Israel will declare sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem with continuing communities of Arab Palestinians living there in peace. After Hamas’s total surrender, negotiations will begin on how Gaza can serve the future of the Palestinians as an independent demilitarized entity, with the world promoting a new Marshall Plan that will create a Singapore in the Middle East.

This may be a dream, but it is also a working blueprint for shining light into darkness, creating a lasting peace out of war and bringing human dignity to the world. To achieve this dream, I know that American Jews must be bold supporters of Israel. We must be Jewish warriors, outspoken and without fear.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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