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The piece below does not reflect the views of the JewishPress.com. Heck, it barely reflects my own views. But I do fear a nuclear Holocaust in the Middle East, and I believe in Divine guidance and Divine supervision. If some, or many, of my readers consider this to be naïve, I don’t blame you. But I also believe it is possible, with God’s help. Y.Y.
First, let’s agree on the fact that the last thing any of us wants is an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear program, followed by a counter attack and so on. If ever there were two industrious, and inspired nations in the Middle east, they’re Iran and Israel. We may not always have the same interests, and since 1979 we certainly don’t like each other at all, but there are no inherent existential conflict between us.
And yet, here we are, two countries spending upwards of a trillion dollars over the years to thwart each other’s threats, until we’ve now reached the point where the Iranians, their tongue hanging out of their dry mouths with fatigue and poverty and frustration, are nevertheless going to get their atomic weapons which they could train at Israel, their mortal enemy.
I doubt very much that Israel can stop that from happening. And I doubt very much that Israel or the U.S. in their wildest dreams are planning to attack Iran. I also doubt very much that Iran’s rulers are unaware of the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction. They, too, are not likely to start a nuclear Holocaust, either. I’m not saying this with 100 percent certainty, but having followed Iran’s nasty actions since 1979, they prefer to work sneaky, not with a big bang.
It’s been suggested by the current U.S. Administration that if Israel capitulates to the Palestinians and uproots upwards of half a million Jews from their ancestral homeland, that would somehow quell the Iranians’ rage and they’d stop making bombs and sticking them at the end of their ICBMs.
That’s never happening. No one is uprooting the Jews, and no Iranians are stopping the production of atomic weapons.
What to do?
Years ago, the New Yorker ran a cartoon showing two men helplessly chained by their hands and legs to the middle a massive stone well, hundreds of feet deep. And one of them says, “I have an idea.”
I have an idea.
Or, more accurately, I have a man who could start moving the ball in a new and different direction. He needs to be a respected Israeli man of the cloth, with perfect credentials and a universal reputation for fairness and honesty.
I’m thinking about former Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau.
I’m thinking about him because he’s had extensive experience in dealing with Muslim leaders who are curious about Israel and about Jews. He’s met them and has done it with grace and honor. He left a good impression.
Rabbi Lau should use his good connection with moderate Muslims to solicit a secret meeting with a high ranking Iranian clergyman. I mean, really secret.
It must be kept secret because any Iranian clergy who would dare meet with rabbi Lau would be putting his life on the line.
The two of them should come to the meeting with at least the tacit blessings of their respective political leaders.
In the meeting, the two men would agree that both Jews and Muslims are children of the same God, and believe in charity and goodness and whatnot. Rabbi Lau would volunteer that while secular Zionism is in conflict with both Judaism and Islam, the vast majority of Israeli Jews keep their tradition, much as the vast majority of Iranians do. Those sister traditions, the two men would agree, demand that our two nations not strive to annihilate one another.
Rabbi Lau will tell the Iranian to convey to his superiors in Tehran the message that Israel would gladly commit to never attacking Iran. The two would agree to meet again, in secret, and this time bring mutual; assurances from the leaders of both countries.
There needn’t be any publicity for any of that. And Iran could continue to shout its slogans about the suffering Palestinians and their Zionist occupiers, while Israel could retort as it sees fit, but only with words. Meanwhile, in both Tehran and Jerusalem, there will have been planted the first seeds of a long and so needed rapprochement.
I see no other way.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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