Mideast Needs Passover Miracle

Whenever the spring holidays come around I think of miracles.  Both Jews and Christians celebrate their respective holidays around the same time.  Whether it is Passover or Easter it's a time for remembering G‑d's intervention called miracles.On Saturday evening, April 7th, Jews world over will be celebrating the holiday of Passover.  This holiday commemorates the exodus of Jews, after hundreds of years of slavery from the land of Egypt some 3,213 years ago.  On this night families gather together and observe the holiday by reciting the story of enslavement and their miraculous freedom from a book called The Hagaddah.  The meal is replete with many symbols.  The wine represents wealth and happiness.  The horseradish "bitter herbs  - represent the bitterness of slavery.  Most importantly they eat Matza, the unleavened bread.  This represents bread baked hurriedly by Jews during their departure from Egypt.

Passover is an eight-day Jewish holiday of biblical origin.  It marks the birth of the Jews as a free people under the leadership of Moses, who is considered the greatest Jewish prophet in history.  The Jewish nation wandered forty years in the desert culminating with the arrival in the land now called Israel.

For thousands of years the Jewish people have been dispersed in countries throughout the world.  The wandering Jew, as he is so often called, has touched the soil of every country.  In 1947 the Jewish nation obtained its opportunity to rebuild its homeland.  In a way, modern day Israel represents the eternity of the Jewish people.

Now, Israel, once again, is faced with slavery.  This slavery is different from the days of the Egyptian bondage because Israel is now under siege from its own people.  Never in history has there been a time when Jewish people were so undecided as to the direction of their country's destiny. 

Recent events in Hebron, Ramallah, and Jordan show us the volatile conditions that Israel is experiencing.  Radicalism is causing suffering on both sides.  Some Israelis want settlements to expand while others want the settlers to leave.  As a goodwill gesture they want to give the beautiful settlements to the so called "displaced Palestinians".  A smaller Israel is a safer Israel, they claim.  How much smaller can it get I wonder?  With the division of the city of Jerusalem being debated daily I sense that there is more unrest to come.  I can't imagine Israel with it's capital in a divided Jerusalem.

Truly, neither Jew nor Arab is happy with the turn of events.  Yasser Arafat claims he cannot control the Palestinian movement.  He says that the terrorist bombers are a reaction to the stiff control Israel is placing on Arab movement in their state.  Blocking roads to Palestinian towns and villages may stop bombers and terrorists however they restrict and stifle the normal life and rights of the Palestinian people.  Arafat is more interested in free movement for his people at the cost of Jewish lives and havoc caused by the terrorists that slip through the blockades.  He claims that blockades cause the bombing and Israel should be more flexible.  In essence, what he really is saying is, that if there were no Jewish government in Israel then there would be peace.  There would be no more terrorist bombings.

Prime Minister Sharon continually reevaluates ways to guarantee the safety of his people and is frustrated by the internal bickering of the Kenesset leadership.  He can't find a way out of this mess.  The government leadership keeps on changing directions.

In these times Israel needs a miracle resembling the one that helped form them as a nation 3,213 years ago, something that would supersede normal events.

In the Middle East Region there are millions of people waiting for the miracle of good leadership, leaders that will bring peace in the state of Israel.  That Arabs and Jews will live and co-exist in peace.  Israel prays for a miracle to be liberated from its own internal bickering and fighting.  Arabs pray for the miracle that their own people be understanding and accepting of the road towards friendly co-existence with Israelis.

If peace could be achieved what a wonderful Passover miracle and gift it would be for all of us.  On Passover night we read an old Jewish prayer from the Hagaddah that says, "Next year in Jerusalem," however,  peace now!