Jewish Journal

An open letter to President Obama

by Noga Gur-Arieh

March 12, 2014 | 10:14 am

President Obama,

My name is Noga, and I am a young Israeli student. I am now in my senior year of my B. A studies in Political Science and Communications, and this is about the time in my life where I start thinking about the future. I have big dreams of being a Diplomat, strengthening Israel’s relationships worldwide and making a difference in the world. I dream of representing my country in pride, while bringing the unique Israeli essence to people of different cultures.

I am a big believer in globalization and its powers to narrow differences, mitigate confrontations and enrich us all in many ways. When I look at my future, I see it combined with Israel’s, reaching to the outside world, using knowledge and innovation in order to make this planet a better place for us all to live in.

I don’t want this dream to end before I even got the chance to try and make it come true. When you say, even if not to Netanyahu’s face, that Israel “could face a bleak future -- one of international isolation and demographic disaster -- if he [Netanyahu] refuses to endorse a U. S. -drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians,” my dream drifts further away. When you redefine “negotiation,” in which *all* parts involved must make compromise, as a process in which one side wants everything and the other must make all of the compromises, you make us, Israeli citizens, helpless to the ever growing threat of isolation from the global village that’s growing around us.

When you turn to our Prime Minister, with whom we all know you don’t have a flourishing relationship, and gently threat him – you must take in count that we are the ones suffering from the consequences. When you talk to him, you talk to all of us. True, not all of us chose him, and most certainly we do not all believe in his approach to this negotiation, but since most of us elected him about a year ago, we have no other choice but hope he’ll make things right. That’s why the next time you talk to him or about him, remember that he is not only the individual you may or may not dislike. He is Israel.

Behind Netanyahu stand millions of people who dream big. Adults who want to see this conflict finally come to an end, children who make plans for a bright future and young folks like me – who can’t find rest because of the fear that your words will come true and Israel would be isolated.

When facing this conflict, please think of us before you put the blame for every bump on the road on our Prime Minister. The next time you put your mediator hat on, please think of the next generation of Israeli thinkers and dreamers. Think of the next Waze or Flash Drive. Think of the next IDF humanitarian delegation to a third world country.  Think of the next generation of musicians, poets, authors, filmmakers and actors. The next generation of diplomats, businessmen, scientists and ambassadors. Think of the millions who live here, and wish for the dark cloud of global isolation to fly away.

Israeli dreams are not the only ones to dissolve in case this peace process would fail. Many Palestinian dreams are also at stake, and I am sure they are as eager as me to put this conflict behind us for good.  In order to do that, though, you, as the mediator, must demand participation from both sides, and expect both sides to make compromises. International isolation of Israel is not the way for this conflict to end. It would only make things worse and cause nothing but suffering to both sides, for the future Palestinian country would have to depend on the Israeli economy, much like many Palestinians do now.  

We all want peace, Mr. President. This uncertainty of life under constant threat is a burden on us all. This is why it is very important for us to know that you, also, want better lives for us all.

Thank you,
Noga, an Israeli who truly wants peace.

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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