Happy birthday, Israel — and many, many more
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Happy birthday, Israel — and many, many more

We certainly understand the challenges you face, both domestically and abroad, as you turn 62 and look toward the future.

We’re scared of Iran going nuclear, too. We share your concern that the global community is not acting swiftly or strongly enough to curb the Islamic regime.

We cry with you for the safe return of Gilad Shalit, Guy Hever, Ron Arad, Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman, and Zachary Baumel.

We understand the delicate balance your prime minister must strike between his right-wing coalition partners and the strong desire in the country to somehow move the peace process forward and finally end the conflict with the Palestinians.

We understand that your relationship with America is tense right now and you may feel like you’re being pigeonholed into concessions you do not want to make or feel you can afford.

Like you, we believe in a united Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people. We disagreed with your timing of the announcement of the East Jerusalem housing project during Vice President Biden’s visit, but we recognize that the project should not supplant more serious issues.

All we can offer you is reassurance that the people of America still stand by you and want to see you remain strong. Ultimately, you must do what you feel is right, but you cannot face the coming challenges alone.

We ask only that you be more flexible than your partner in the peace process. We hear your words calling for peace but actions speak louder.

Palestinian stubbornness will backfire in the end, as it has throughout the decades. When that happens and the Palestinians find they have once again missed an opportunity, we fear that violence will once again consume you. With demands for settlement freezes and withdrawals, the Palestinians have moved out on a limb they cannot climb back down by themselves. You can help them down with smaller gestures, which will win you favor on the global stage. You can then use this political capital in your struggle with Iran.

We in the Jewish community may criticize you from time to time, Israel, but it’s only because we love you. We are going to tell you something that may be difficult to hear: Sacrifices will have to be made for peace. We know, you’ve already sacrificed so much and gotten little in return.

The alternative, however, is far scarier.

J.L.

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