In June, 1996, former Israeli President Shimon Peres z”l, commented about the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace stating, “For peace, one must remember: As a bird cannot fly with one wing, as a man cannot applaud with one hand, so a country cannot make peace just with one side, with itself. For peace, we need the two of us.”
If I were to apply Mr. Peres’ words about next Tuesday’s Presidential election, I would argue that “for peace, we need all of us.” Yes, all of us!
Despite the many societal and economic indignities that adversely impact so many Americans, we (unlike our sisters and brothers in Israel) are so fortunate that we live in a country whose survival is never in jeopardy. We need not worry about the enemy from without. Those who believe that there is peace currently in America, however, could not reside in the same country that I do.
Idealist that I am, I believe that in time our national electoral process is salvageable. Yet if the sizable majority of our country actually dislikes and distrusts our Republican and Democratic nominees, then whose fault is it that either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton will be our next President? This is why we must act quickly and collectively work together in a respectful and open-minded manner in order to restore internal peace and effect transformational change. But such will only be possible if verbal hostilities and prejudices cease; constructive, bi-partisan relationships are enabled; integrity is reestablished; and differences of opinion are respected. Needless to say, Jewish values require nothing less.
I will give Shimon Peres the last word, however. In May, 2011, he stated, “Sometimes people ask me, ‘What is the greatest achievement you have reached in your lifetime or that you will reach in the future?’ So I reply that there was a great painter named Mordecai Ardon, who was asked which picture was the most beautiful he had ever painted. Ardon replied, ‘The picture I will paint tomorrow.’ That is also my answer.”