Saturday, December 24, 2005


Shabbos was great, thanks. The cholent and the kugel (or something) took me to the upper heights of holiness, and glimmers of new wisdom were revealed to me.

First, Esav soneh l’Yaakov is an excuse and a dodge. Too many Jews use this slogan to buttress arguments against Oslo or other attempts at peace with Israel’s neighbors. “Esav soneh l’Yaakov,” they say, “Therefore peace with the Arabs is impossible. So let’s keep killing them.”

More scrupulous Jewish thinkers will remember that the Arabs are not Eisav, but lets pretend that Esav Soneh l’Yaakov is a blanket statement, which includes all non-Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Still, it holds no water as a political argument against Oslo, or any other Arab-Israeli peace venture.

Egypt, for example, is Esav, and hasn’t Israel enjoyed a cold but firm peace with Egypt? Turkey is Esav, and isn't Israel's relationships with Turkey warm and almost friendly? And what about the United States of America? Esav, in point of fact, are the Christians, and is there a country in the world today more Christian than the USA? Yet the United States is Israel’s best friend, to the tune of several billion dollars per year.

It appears Esav soneh l’Yaakov is a sliding scale. Esav can view us with murderous intents, like the Palestenian Arabs, or Eisav can support us and send Israel tankerships brimming with money, like the United States.

If both possibilities exist, shouldn't Israel use diplomacy to move the Palestenians from the dangerous category to the beneficial category?