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Mauro in Israel Day 2: Peace is Possible

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Posted on August 3 2010 9:00 pm
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Thank you to Stand With Us’ Once in a Lifetime project for making this trip possible!

Yes, it’s the second day of my second trip to Israel and I’m reiterating that I believe peace is possible—despite all the obvious signs to the contrary. Today, we went to the beautiful Mount Scopus, Hebrew University, and met with Jerusalem officials. In about an hour, we’ll be going to a wine festival, which will help me prevent a repeat of last night’s hours-of-being-online-when-I-should-be-sleeping marathon.

Lesson of the day: Extremism can’t survive interaction, integration and globalization. I was told stories of how in Jerusalem most of the terrorist attacks are carried out by infiltrators of Jerusalem, not residents. There are few, if any, major problems with Muslim residents. In fact, the problems are mainly Jew vs. Jew, not Jew vs. Muslim. Last year, I marveled at how Jews and Muslims bought and sold to each other in a friendly manner in the markets. The power of all the anti-Semitic propaganda vanishes when confronted with reality when Muslims interact with Jews on a frequent basis.

This observation raises questions about whether we should desire two homogenous Palestinian and Jewish states. The West Bank, we were told, has experienced a major economic boost since the construction of the security wall so often falsely described as an “Apartheid Wall.” Security brings prosperity to both sides, and business and friendly interaction between the two sides is normal in Israel.

Of course, there are many other things that have to happen before peace can be achieved, but one thing can clearly be seen from visiting Jerusalem: The two peoples can live and work closely together. Ironically, Jerusalem, the place so often cited as proof that peace is impossible is the exact place to go to if you want to believe that peace is possible.

Tomorrow we’re touring the Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulchre (even though I currently think the Garden Tomb is the actual site of Christ’s burial and resurrection), the Old City, the Jewish Quarter, the Western and Wailing Walls, and finishing with a Sound and Light Show at the Tower of David. I’ll need some prayer for stamina!

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