Peace for Peace: Israel and the Arab World
History is being made in 2020, as Israel makes peace throughout the Arab and Muslim world. This is “peace for peace,” which benefits all people, and is best for all interests in the region. With hope for a better tomorrow, Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates have signed peace and normalization agreements with Israel in recent weeks.
Against this backdrop, two famous quotes from Israeli prime ministers ring true. Prime Minister Golda Meir once reportedly said, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” (Though there is some debate over whether she actually said this.) It is clear that today, thankfully for many, that day has arrived.
And as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.” Today, countries such as the UAE and Bahrain have proven the first part of Netanyahu’s statement true.
Iconic Israeli singers like Omer Adam have visited the UAE, as has the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, along with countless others across the political spectrum.
Here in New York, we feel it as well. Well-respected local rabbi Elie Abadie has moved to the UAE to become a rabbi for the Jewish Council of the Emirates. Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, lit the eighth candle of Hanukkah with the Moroccan ambassador at a special ceremony in New York, where he proclaimed, “There is no alternative to peace. We are all the sons of Abraham — and the sons of Abraham, they always, at the end of the day, will sit together to make peace together and to build a future together for the next generation.”
What an amazing thing for the world and for the Jewish state — tourism, billions of dollars in foreign investment in high tech, agriculture, and arms. Safety, peace, and prosperity.
And yet, many in the Palestinian Arab world continue to advocate terrorism, as do radical extremists in the United States, such as some of those sponsored by the New Israel Fund, which support boycotts of Israel. The extremists are those who support terrorism and boycotts of Israel — not peace-seeking Israelis or Zionists who all support these peace efforts with the Muslim world.
The map and political paradigm have forever been shifted, and the world is better off for it.
Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive and New York based philanthropist.