Forging Ahead during a War: Jews & Muslims

For everyone I am contacts with on Facebook, Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Arab and other, remember that this war will end. It won’t go on forever. Consider how you feel now and how you want to feel later. That isn’t to say you might not have changed your views on certain things, or your emotions won’t color your thoughts and your train of thought wouldn’t have changed, but ultimately this conflict still needs a light at the end of the tunnel . . . even if it takes ANOTHER generation.

I’m 28, have lived in Israel for only five years and just had my first child. My generation is just now getting the chance to enter leadership positions that could impact what the goals of either side of this conflict are, or how the general population of either side of the war sees the other.

Beyond the generalities, platitudes and lip service, Jews and Muslims unfortunately have some major problems with each other. What worries me about those divisions is that they are symptomatic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not divisions in and of themselves that can easily be solved when cooled passions are reignited every time there’s a rocket, suicide bomber, airstrike or blockade.

On August 7th, I’ll be traveling to Vienna, Austria for the fifth annual Muslim-Jewish Conference, where 100 young leaders will try to lead from the front, build bridges and overcome differences between the two communities. Speaking frankly, it’s one hell of a time for it to be happening. Operation Protective Edge is raging. Protests in Europe have evolved into riots. Social media channels, particularly Twitter, have turned into hotbeds of hate, misinformation and propaganda rather than areas of constructive discourse.

I’ll openly admit being caught up in the frenzy, something I’m trying to step back from in order to reach a constructive frame of mind in August.

Every discussion we have will have to have a practical angle, a pivoting point where theory can become something of an actionable reality.

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