Dozens of Jewish and Muslim student leaders are meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia to promote inter-religious dialogue through backdoor channels.
Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the Palestinian Authority to join negotiations with Israel.
In the past two years, a soundproof curtain has descended on dialogue between individuals in Israel on the one hand and Gaza and the West Bank on the other. Without the possibility of interchange, it is but a small step to collective demonization of the other.
If Palestinians and Israelis are linked by anything, it seems to be fear and mistrust.
Now a one-of-a-kind social experiment has stepped into the void, attempting to pierce the soundproof curtain. Not between politicians. Not between delegations. Not between professional groups. Not between celebrities.
With supreme -- and perhaps naive -- faith in the common man, a local group has come up with a scheme to allow Palestinians and Israelis a first step in one-to-one contact: giving them the opportunity to talk.
So what do you say to children when hate explodes in our world, taking with it thousands of lives?
That is what educators at Pressman Academy at Temple Beth Am dealt with Tuesday, after they made an early morning decision to keep the Westside Conservative day school open, even as other Jewish day schools across Los Angeles canceled classes for the day.
They were called "Syrian-Israeli" talks, but this week's second round of negotiations between the two countries was very much an American affair -- in a storybook small town chosen by the White House, with President Clinton playing host and mediator.
So it was no surprise that when the talks were snagged over a disagreements over what to talk about, it was Clinton who held the negotiators' hands, cajoled, nudged and pleaded.