June 26, 2008
Rabbi Zoë Klein: L.A. delegation to Israel returns with wealth of optimism
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Villaraigosa asked about the possibility of peace. Peres answered, "We have to transform it into an economic song open to all of us.... But politicians are not trained for it ... politics make headlines but economics is boring."
He said that the answer is economics, that the world since World War II is a world "without borders, distances, partitions; it is open, free and competitive." Peres spoke about creating giant projects generating a million jobs for Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians to work together, like bringing water from the Red Sea to replenish the dying Dead Sea.
A little mournfully, Peres said, "It is strange, but not everyone knows how to dream anymore." And then he added, smiling, "But Los Angeles is the capital of dreaming."
"We're only limited by our imagination," our mayor agreed.
Our delegation reached the Western Wall about an hour before sundown. Our strict schedule required that we return to the hotel for dinner by 7:30 p.m. We were all very tired and very hungry.
That day we had already met with officials of Ben-Gurion Airport about security and traveled all around Sderot. Villaraigosa gathered us together and said that it just wasn't right for us to come all this way to Jerusalem, to be at the Wall this close to Shabbat, for us not to be here when Shabbat began.
"You haven't seen anything until you see the whole city descend upon this place to welcome the Sabbath when the sun goes down," he said.
And so his staff got on their BlackBerrys to push dinner back two hours, and we waited.
And as night rolled softly in, so did the people, and all of us, Christian, Muslim, Jew, prayed and danced and blessed for unity and for the ability together to dream.
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