My last trip to Israel was a memorable personal and family occasion at the turn of the millennium. Israel was enjoying a period of peace and calm between the first and second Palestinian intifada (uprising).
Ending the occupation is not a charitable gift to the Palestinians. Only by accepting their right to a state of their own will Israel remain a Jewish and democratic state enjoying peace and security, instead of being drawn toward an abyss from which there is no salvation.
Israel's extended olive branch to the UAE occurs within a complicated geopolitical context, in which some traditional alliances are strained, several states are exploring new partnerships and various actors are seizing upon newly generated opportunities in the region.
The 20th anniversary of the assassination of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin took place last month, providing a stark reminder of that fateful November 4 for multiple generations of opportunities lost and proving to be a particularly emotional day for his son, Yuval Rabin.
While I applaud the sentiment that Israelis and Palestinians are closely connected, what struck me the most is his characterization of himself, as if being a Jew means automatic support of Netanyahu's policies, regardless of how misguided they may be.
Whereas Israel enjoys a preponderance of military and economic power and negotiates from a position of strength, the Palestinians are living under occupation with a limited ability to challenge Israel.
In an environment where the spirit, the ruach, of the commander is the one calling the shots, the rhetoric is the only thing we can cling on to. It won't move mountains, but it will install a discourse of hope.
Wherever we start - and let's remember that Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein started in war over Jerusalem - perhaps our deepest question should be about ourselves, asking what kind of "image of the Divine" we wish to be in this world, to borrow terms from Genesis.
Fear, yes fear, makes us look at everyone with suspicion and a desire to call the authorities. Don't even take your cellphone out of your pocket, it might be a weapon. How long can we all continue with this madness?
A pair of recent atrocities by Israeli terrorists (which is what they must be called) underscores the futility of diverting attention from the country's oppression of Palestinians by emphasizing its pro-gay policies.
Contrary to common wisdom, the turmoil sweeping the Middle East, the convergence of multiple conflicts, and future uncertainties have created new compelling circumstances that support the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
It carries big ramifications for American politics, the Middle East, and relations between the Islamic world and the West. Most everything will be more inflamed, not least the Iranian nuclear controversy and the future of Palestine. And of course American politics.
The incredible spectacle of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's speech to Congress -- in which he appeared as much as the leader of the political opposition to the Obama administration as the head of government of an allied nation -- has come and gone but will reverberate for a long time.
As European governments, one by one, vote to recognize a Palestinian state, Israelis are wrestling with their own questions of national identity in a polarizing debate that some say will destroy the state of Israel in its current form.
Twenty-five years ago, in late 1989, I enrolled in an ulpan or Hebrew immersion program at Mishmar Haemek, a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley. When I met the kibbutzniks as well as the other students in the ulpan, many of them would ask me two questions.