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Jews should take a chance on peace

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We Jews have given birth to splendid musicians. But lately our fine sense of hearing has gone awry. Fears for our security and survival, justified indeed, have prevented our hearing the stage-whispered messages of moderation from Palestinians in the world press, in high-level private meetings between Arabs and Jews, in PLO publications, and from Arafat himself.

Anxiety impairs listening and the nuclear age has intensified historic fears. Einstein's "we are drifting toward a catastrophe beyond conception. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if (we) are to survive" is a Jewish imperative today.

When it comes to Israel, we Jews -- whether liberal or conservative, American or Israeli -- tend to think with our emotions. Even the most analytical of us responds with a knee-jerk "Is it good for the Jews?" That survival instinct has served us for thousands of years. But it no longer works. Not for our security , not for our peace.

The Israelis are superb tacticians. They win battle after battle. Their long-term strategy, however, is failing. Though many Jews responded with righteous pride at the strike on the Iraqi nuclear facility, most could not stomach the bombing of civilians in Lebanon. All are uneasy in the growing realization that Israel cannot continue indefinitely to put out a nuclear brush fire here, a missile threat there. Proposals for nuclear plants issue from Morocco, Tunisia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other countries. There are too many potential "enemies" even for Israeli military forces.

Our tiny silver of homeland with a few million Jews surrounded by a hundred million Arabs is at the hub of history. The Middle East is the nerve center for the world, today as in the time of Abraham, Jesus, and Muhammad. It holds the trigger for world peace or world war.


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