Breathe a Sigh of Relief

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On a recent visit to UMass Amherst to help lead a discussion about “Operation Pillar of Defense,” the conversation quickly moved to a debate about the larger issues facing Israel around the Middle East. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the escalating violence in Syria and the ever-present threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it seems that the recent conflict with Hamas is just a drop in the bucket (and I did not even mention the thousands of rockets pointed at Israel from Hezbollah in Lebanon). How then can Israel ever feel safe and secure in such an unstable time? While I am not intending to minimize the dangers encircling Israel, it is worth highlighting an article written by Fareed Zakaria last week in Time Magazine. Even though I did include the piece in my list of suggested readings for my “Weekly Middle East Update,” it is worth reemphasizing the point made by Zakaria. Yes, there is still much uncertainty and danger in the region. However, we must remember what Israel has faced in the past and what it was able to accomplish. With that understanding, it should make us feel slightly better that today, the Middle East is a “more vibrant, energetic and democratic place than it was a generation ago.” Who knows what Israel can consequently accomplish today?