It has been decades now since I submitted to my good friend Teddy Kollek a detailed plan for a shared Jerusalem. However, as he quite right¬ly pointed out, it is easy to devise a formula but more difficult to tailor it to existent patterns of feeling and thought. Today, however, it would seem that the climate of opinion has changed: instead of the extreme idea of occupying all Biblical lands comes the concept of sharing the land with those who have an equal claim, having lived here for the last 2,000 years. Three generations after the Holocaust, Jewish opinion is more fluid and open-minded.
A wonderful evolution occurs between periods of utter subjugation and those of independent self-determination. Options and alternatives multiply and, therefore, choice (if any) is no longer stark and brutal, as between life and death. It is no longer black and white, but must rather depend on subtle differences of opinion, value, vision and reasoning with heart and head, with intuition and wisdom, engaging both strength in defense and magnanimity in behavior.
Most Jews would probably agree with me (an old throw-back Hassid) that their status as God's chosen people might appear open to debate.
Perhaps we survived because the persecutor needed us for his purpos¬es and we seem to have accommodated him. We were presented in dif¬ferent guises: as killers of God - the Christians' Jewish God; a "race," which we are not; dedicated to the Ten Commandments, which we gen¬erally obeyed; until we also became a nation-state.

Status Symbol

From then on we fought and toiled to acquire and hold territory large enough to constitute a respectable little state, complete with flag, lan¬guage, army, atom bomb - today's status symbol. We can, therefore, indulge in everything which makes a state great - even in killing. At this juncture we have conquered and held the capital city, Jerusalem, which is the envy of all peoples of our neighbors and of the world, not to speak of all peoples of the monotheistic religions. Small wonder that the Jews, ingenious people as they are, always seem to continue to find ways to be persecuted.
We are altogether too aware of the danger of growing Islamic resent¬ment, particularly in the expanding strength of the fundamentalists. Israel could find itself on the very edge of the most violent confrontations. This is one possibility.
The other "scenario," as the Americans would put it, is equally bleak: the remote one of Christian and Muslim joined on the only possible com¬mon ground to defeat Israel.
Israel must make friends with her nearest people, her actual co-¬dwellers. It urgently needs a genuine Arab friend, and who better quali¬fied than the Palestinians, among the most open-minded in the contem¬porary Arab world?

Sharing with a Friend

How much wiser and far-sighted it would be to share the land with those who love and covet it as much as we do. A friend doubles the joys and divides the pains, shares the defense and the sacrifices required.
When my father left Russia to grow up in Jerusalem at the turn of the century and later went to the Herzliya Gymnasium in Tel Aviv, he frater¬nized with his Arab neighbors quite naturally, played with their children, and was treated free by an Arab dentist. Is it too fanciful to hope for such a relationship to be restored?
Israel may have to bear yet many violent reprisals, as will the Palestinians, because the past atmosphere of distrust, pain and revenge does not disappear overnight. But both the sensible and those blessed with foresight on both sides will have to be committed to peace and with patience, not allowing anything to undermine the reciprocity of goodwill and mutual aid.

Conditions for the Peace Process

The tragic fate of Palestinians under Israeli military domination has called forth among the Israelis many wonderful voluntary groups determined to redeem the image of Israel by defending the Palestinians in the military courts, by teaching their children during the periods in which schools were closed, by carrying messages from prisoners to their families, and by many good works which have created an indispensable condi¬tion for the peace process. For the peace process is not simply the prerogative of politicians but is posited on the selfless work born of compas¬sion, guilt and good sense. Unless the heart and mind of the majority in both peo¬ples can join in spirit these wonderful vol¬untary bodies, the peace process may indeed falter.
The Jews have left it very long, I pray not too long, to say to the Palestinians, "You and we are willing to die for our land, let us live for it instead, and if we should ever have to face an enemy, defend it together."


There is no way to negotiate reciprocity. Reciprocity is trust, it is mutual service, respect, care, attachment and independence. One can negotiate on money, territory, goods, resources, commerce, but not on spontaneous and automatic reciprocity; mutual help and mutual gratitude are not negotiable.
The Jewish people of Israel must understand that a shared Jerusalem means an undivided country, one without guarded borders; a shared Jerusalem means no enemies or borders, the beginning of a Semitic feder¬ation, the dream of King Hussein, as he told me, when we sat together in his garden in Amman.
Israel should aim to create, to join and pursue as many international and intercultural organizations as possible: a Semitic federation of cul¬tures and states; the European Community; and, because Israel's origins lie in the Balfour Declaration, the Commonwealth of Peoples associated with the British Crown; it should also foster its relation with the U.S.A.; and of course, with the U.N. and with the UNESCO.
Exclusivity is the bane of trust and stability; it is self-condemnation to obsession and fears, the road to madness, the embracing of the principle of death in the illusion that it can serve life, a reversion to fundamental¬ism whether religious or political.
No, I want my Israel to be of good conscience, generous and strong, singing and dancing with joy and love, in the spirit of wisdom, under¬standing and knowledge, and with faith, hope and charity - all Biblical attributes.