A long, caged walkway leading from the last Hamas checkpoint to the Israeli border compound gives the feeling that you're entering a maximum security prison. As I was walking, wearing a flak jacket and carrying all my gear, I could hear the booms of Israeli strikes, fired from close by, and the sounds of outgoing Hamas rockets aimed at where I was heading.
Headless bodies. Screaming children. Entire neighborhoods fleeing on foot. The unmistakable sounds of Hamas rockets and the booms of Israeli strikes. Here's a look at what I've witnessed this week in Gaza.
"It's that place where all the rockets are falling," I would tell my friends about the embattled southern Israeli town near Gaza.
This process is rooted in the dark underside of the best teaching of Torah, "Love the stranger, the pariah, for you were strangers, pariahs, in the Land of Egypt." This is repeated 36 times in the Torah. Why? Because to repeat the command so often means it is being rejected, disobeyed.
Nobody who signed the document did so lightly. It is always difficult for spiritual leaders to take controversial decisions, and it has been especially difficult for American Jewish leaders to openly dissent from the government of Israel.
I'd like to believe that prayers are like pixie dust. But they won't get me to win the PowerBall; they won't prevent me from getting sick; they won't always save my children, my neighbors, my friends. So what's the point?
President Obama needs to start spending some of the political capital he earned through his election victory to help restart the peace process, which has stalled since Mr. Netanyahu took office four years ago.
As rabbis, we must hold both Israelis and Gazans to a basic principle in international law and in the Jewish tradition: We have a right and responsibility to defend ourselves, but must not kill civilians in the name of self defense.
For Israel, a dual message of the right to defend ourselves, with deep and profound ethical sensibilities, is what this past conflict was about.
Both "brothers," Palestine and Israel, today need to make the choice that begins with the new cease-fire, but must lead from there to a long-term truce; the truce must give time for compassion to flower where there was fear and rage.
While the timeline only represents a fragment of a conflict that stretches back to the turn of the 20th Century, in the 12-year period since 2000, an underlying asymmetry is revealed, allowing us to look past the headlines and hype, and focus instead on the hard data.
I am grateful I am alive because this past weekend, I was on the beach playing paddle-ball with my cousins in Tel Aviv when the air-raid sirens went off, which meant a missile was very possibly coming toward me.
Unfortunately, Operation Pillar of Defense, as the Israelis call it, will be remembered as exactly the contrary: another round of needless violence.
Whatever U.S. veterans feel after they come home from Iraq or Afghanistan, you can be sure that Israeli soldiers feel it even more intensely. We get to leave the problems of Iraq on the other side of the world. They don't.
All concerned should pull back the lens -- from Israel and Palestine, where so much attention is focused, to the vast region around that tiny place, where changes are afoot with profound implications for Palestinians and Israelis.
Despite his Islamist credentials -- and his party's historic rejection of the accord -- Egyptian President Morsi has made it clear that the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine is here to stay, and, over the last few days, it has been maintained.