Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Be strong and of good courage 

With all that's going on there now, I got today a story of Prime Minister Olmert's Speech to Congress around Memorial Day several weeks ago. If we need any reminding of why Israel has been our best friend in the Middle East, and why we should pray for the strength of its leaders in these difficult times, you will find it in Olmert's own conclusion:
...what unites us, Israel and America, is a commitment to tap the greatest resource of all - the human mind and the human spirit.

We believe in the moral principles shared by our two nations and they guide our political decisions.

We believe that life is sacred and fanaticism is not.

We believe that every democracy has the right and the duty to defend its citizens and its values against all enemies.

We believe that terrorism not only leads to war but that terrorism is war. A war that must be won every day. A war in which all men and women of goodwill must be allies.

We believe that peace among nations remains not just the noblest ideal but a genuine reality.

We believe that peace, based on mutual respect, must be and is attainable in the near future.

We, as Jews and citizens of Israel, believe that our Palestinian neighbors want to live in peace. We believe that they have the desire, and hopefully the courage, to reject violence and hatred as means to attain national independence.

The Bible tells us that as Joshua stood on the verge of the Promised Land, he was given one exhortation: 'Chazak Ve'ematz' 'Be strong and of good courage".

Strength, without courage, will only lead to brutality. Courage, without strength, will only lead to futility. Only genuine courage and commitment to our values, backed by the will and the power to defend them, will lead us forward in the service of humanity.

To the Congress of the United States and to the great people of America, I wish to say 'Chazak Ve'ematz' be strong and of good courage, and we, and all peoples who cherish freedom, will be with you.