A week after the general election, Israelis still do not know who will be their prime minister — Tzipi Livni or Benjamin Netanyahu.
While waiting for Ronnie outside the restaurant, and watching the handsome Israeli valet boys handle their customers with a pseudo-IDF smile, I could not but think to myself, "Geez, Israel has come a long way in 60 years. Shouldn't more Jews enjoy this jewel, especially now?"
The agenda linking Hassan Nasrallah, the Shiite leader of Lebanese Hezbollah; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Shiite Iranian president; and Ismail Heniyeh, the Sunni leader of Hamas and the de facto prime minister of the Gaza Strip is simple: remove the "cancerous cell" called the State of Israel from the Middle East. Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah have reiterated this message out loud; Heniyeh's Hamas Constitution explicitly calls for this objective. The goal is self-evident. As for the means, anything is legitimate.
I am lying in my Tel Aviv bed long after midnight, soaking my pillow with tears.
My cries are echoing in the house. My folks are fast asleep. The war with Lebanon has finally hit me.
Mahmud, 24, and I, met at a Moroccan falafel place near Dupont Circle on a surprisingly sunny December afternoon. I'd guarantee that even if you looked carefully around the D.C. area, you would find very few "couples" like us -- a Palestinian from Nablus, and an Israeli from Herzliya, talking with such sincerity for more than two hours, catching up on life. A week prior to our meeting, Mahmud had returned from a visit to Nablus, his hometown, after four years away living rather comfortably in the United States. The story I heard that sunny afternoon accounts for why Hamas won the Palestinian elections in such a landslide.
However, one truth does exist. Eleven dead soldiers in Gaza, literally torn into pieces, buried today on Mount Herzl. Eleven kids who are all between the ages of 19-23; 11 kids who could have been my best friends. My heart is breaking as I am writing these words. I served in the army for two years, and I am writing you as a soldier. These guys could have been my best friends, and they died in a way in which they did not deserve.