Every new year begins with our most fervent wish for peace. In a region of the world that sadly has known too little of this through the millennia, positive developments are taking place that we hope will bring our brothers and sisters in Israel and throughout the Middle East closer to that goal. The following article was written by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, after the agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain was signed.
Today’s White House ceremony celebrating the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain has been long in coming and is a welcome step toward a future in which Israel is a fully accepted member of the international community. While it solves few of the complex issues at the heart of a future comprehensive Middle East peace agreement it still signals an important shift that we pray will lead to many more significant shifts toward peace.
All those who played a role in crafting the accord: Israeli, Bahraini, Emirati, and American officials and leaders alike, are to be congratulated for preferencing a peaceful future over a hostile past. We commend President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu for prioritizing efforts to expand the list of Israel’s regional partners, committing the necessary resources and time to make today’s agreement possible. The UAE’s Minister of State, Yousef Al-Otaiba, the country’s ambassador to the US, deserves much credit for his Hebrew op-ed in which he starkly challenged Israel to choose between annexation and normaliza- tion. Israel chose normalization over the disastrous effects of annexation, we strongly hope permanently. In the coming months we hope Israelis and Palestinians can directly engage in the hardest and most critical discussions that will move the region forward towards the future we desperately need.
May the new year about to begin, 5781, be a year of peace for all peoples.