A few months ago, my 8-year-old son took part in a ceremony in which all the pupils in his class were given a Bible to mark the beginning of their Bible studies. When the ceremony was over, all the pupils climbed onto the stage and sang a popular song about — what else — the yearning for peace. And at the end of the song, “God Gave You a Gift,” the children asked God to give them only one small gift: peace on Earth.
On the way home I thought a bit about that song. Unlike the other songs my son sings on Independence Day and Hanukkah commemorating battles fought fearlessly and the darkness driven away with a flaming torch, peace wasn’t something he wanted to achieve through sweat and blood; he wanted it to be given to him. As a gift, no less. And that, it seems, is the peace we long for: something we’d be very, very happy to receive as a gift free of charge. But contrary to the proven idea that we alone are responsible for our survival, peace depends on divine providence.
I think that my son is the second generation, if not the third, to be indoctrinated with the view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been imposed on us from above. A bit like terrible weather, which we can talk about, cry about, even write songs about, but which we can’t do anything to change.