On approach of Rosh Hashanah, shofars sounded for Mideast peace
LA JOLLA, California (Press Release)– As media cameras whirred, members and supporters of the San Diego Israel Coalition blew shofars to announce to the world the Jewish community’s hope for peace in the coming year. Saying approximately 100 persons participated in the demonstration at Congregation Beth El, organizers Audrey Jacobs and Michael Lurie issued the following statement:
“We stand here today on the threshold of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashana – as a call to all people of goodwill, here in San Diego, in Israel and the Middle East, and around the world, for a year of peace.
“For more than 60 years, Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, has continuously sought peace and friendship with her neighbors in the Middle East. Over the past sixteen years, Israel has made unprecedented efforts to reach a true and lasting peace agreement with the Palestinians, based on the two state solution that is recognized worldwide as the best solution to the claims by two peoples for the same land.
“Yet despite these continuous efforts, and Israel’s deep commitment to democracy, equality and freedom for all its citizens, this past year has seen a continuing escalation of the attacks on Israel as a ‘colonialist, apartheid, racist, Nazi state’ – labels that are particularly horrific to the Jewish people, a nation with a truly tragic history of suffering from racism and genocide in so many countries for nearly 2,000 years.
“At the same time, the physical threat against Israel continues to grow. Hamas and Hizbollah, two groups proudly and openly committed to terrible acts of murder against innocent civilians, are rapidly building huge stockpiles of weapons. Just last week, Hamas terrorists murdered four Israeli civilians, including a pregnant woman, and seriously injured two others. And despite intensifying sanctions, Iran appears irrevocably committed to developing nuclear weapons. As Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has stated, when, just sixty five years after the Holocaust, a fanatical leader once again declares he wishes to annihilate the Jewish people, we take that threat seriously.
“Yet, after a year of escalating concern about these growing threats, just in the past few weeks we once again have a glimmer of hope. After calling continuously for peace talks since he was elected 18 months ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu finally received a positive response from President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and peace talks began almost at once. We deeply appreciate the extensive efforts made by President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Special Envoy George Mitchell and all the other American officials who have done so much to get these latest peace talks under way.
“Understandably, there is much skepticism about these peace talks, because of the failures of similar efforts over the past sixteen years. Most people on both sides do not believe the other side truly wants peace. Yet despite all the challenges it is vital that every effort be made to reach a final, durable, just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Not only would such a peace serve as a foundation for a broader peace between Israel and other Arab countries, but it would also lead to an unprecedented surge in economic and social development for both Israelis and Palestinians. Peace would bring almost incalculable benefits to everyone in the region, and even beyond.
“Today we sound the Shofar – the ancient call for Jews to arise from the summer slumber, and to prepare for the New Year. The call of the Shofar is a reminder for us to examine our lives, our actions, and to commit ourselves to living better, more loving and more meaningful lives in the coming year. Today as we sound the Shofar, we do so as a wake up call to Israelis, Palestinians, to people here in San Diego and everywhere, to seize this chance for peace.
“As we listen to the plaintive call of the Shofar, let it remind us that, despite all the challenges, we should still dare to dream. Let the New Year see these peace talks continue forward in a positive way. Let the enemies of peace not succeed in deterring this process. Let the large majority of Israelis and Palestinians, who wish nothing but to live normal lives, find a way to reach out to each other, to accept each other, to forgive each other, and to move forward to build something new and beautiful together. Let the New Year see the dawning of what finally becomes true peace in the Middle East. And let this dawning spread gently across the region and across the world, to awaken people to the possibility of what might be, to inspire people everywhere to reach out to each other, to connect with each other, and to find love, and peace, and happiness, this year, and always.”
Preceding provided by San Diego Israel Coalition