Blowin’ in the Wind – in memory of Ezra Schwartz and Taylor Force

It is a magnificent day in New York City today yet a horrific day for those who care about decency in that part of the world where Sacred Narratives tell us decency was born. Last fall, those of us who sent our children on gap year programs were chilled when 18-year old Ezra Schwartz was killed in an intersection in the Gush. Today, news comes that a US veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, a graduate student from Vanderbilt, was fatally stabbed on a promenade in Jaffa. Taylor Force was an American citizen visiting the Start Up Nation; unfortunately, he found himself in the midst of an unending cycle of violence and terror. No matter one’s faith, every citizen of the US should be outraged that yet another American has become a victim of this primitive wave of violence. Will this “random killing” wake up President Obama and his advisers as to the nature of the evil that has infected the Palestinian psyche? How many lives will it takes ’till he knows, that too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind……

I also wonder what Mr. Trump has to say about this terrorist murder? Does Mr. Trump understand that under the Oslo Agreements, Qualquiya was one of the seven cities to be governed by the Palestinian Authority? If he were to send some of his people on a mission to get the facts, would Mr. Trump learn that Yassir Arafat and after him, Mahmoud Abbas totally failed to advance the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people? Rather than constantly blame the Israelis and settlement expansion, would the no-nonsense, I’m not beholden to anyone Mr. Trump see the real picture? While Prime Minister Netanyahu has not been the most cooperative leader in the past several decades, to blame his government for the potential failure of the two-state solution is simply a failure to understand the full picture. That the situation has deteriorated to random violent stabbings that take the lives of those who happen to be visiting the modern Jewish state is unacceptable. It is with great concern that I write these words, wondering how many deaths will it take until the world knows, that too many people have died?

My daughter, her husband and their two daughters, Shira and Molly, are living in Bayit vaGan, in Jerusalem. Since before becoming a foreign resident in 1999, beginning with my trip to Jerusalem to be present for the Shloshim of Yitzhak Rabin in December of 1995 and continuing on through my Partnership work during the worst of the second intifada, I have experienced the difficult emotional reality of life in this perpetual state of conflict. Having my blood on site continues that intense emotional link. Since founding the Sacred Rights, Sacred Song Project in 2010, I have modified the narration and included songs that reflect the security situation. In conclusion and in memory of Ezra Schwartz, Taylor Force and all the other who have lost their lives to this unending violence, I share the words to “Our Sacred Shared Prayer”. With a nod to Bob Dyan, I offer my take on the the eternal challenges to true peace between all humankind.

Each child has a sacred right to survive, whether from Gilo, Gaza or Gedera.

In the Divine Image each child is made, whether from Haifa, Beit Hanoun or Hadera.

A sacred song must now be sung, to remind ourselves that “We are One” is not just about a special tribe but also about looking deep inside to find a way to heal the Rift.

May we use song, our sacred gift, finding words, joining voices, Arab and Jew.

A new way, a new commandment, this we must do.

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