Construction cranes sprout from the Tel Aviv skyline like new shoots in a fertile field. Crumbling old buildings, which give the city its disheveled charm, get a fresh coat of paint or plaster, or fall to the wrecking ball. For a visitor like me, who hasn't been here in awhile, the changes are stunning to behold. Development is both blessing and curse; rebirth spells hope, even as the demise of the old leaves a pang in the heart.
On the road to Jerusalem yesterday, the motif continued. The two lane road I recall long ago gave way to four lanes, and soon there will be six. The Romans, master builders in their time, would have been impressed.
I wonder how Iran's peevish leaders feel. The audacity of the Jews to build and to grow—a needle in the ayatollah's eye. Iran's Syrian proxy Bashar Al Assad, smashes the life out of his erstwhile citizens, while over the border in the Jewish state it's build, build, build.
Hardly reason for Mr. Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, to have a nuclear tantrum. And if you have to destroy something, how about those uranium enrichment centrifuges? Kiss economic sanctions goodbye; embrace the ingenuity of the Jewish state. Don't opt for mutually assured destruction, assured growth could be yours by doing business with Israel.
It's sad to ponder so many lost dreams and shattered lives in the Middle East. For so many of the people beyond Israel's borders it's hard to think of goodness prevailing. And for the Jewish people within Israel and outside, it's unimaginable to think of anything but good arising.
That was the message delivered today by Israel's President, the venerable and wise Shimon Peres. “Logic has a limit, but not courage,” he told the assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, meeting here in Jerusalem. “The greatest treasure in life is the human being,” he said.
And so the construction cranes dot the skyline, in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem, and all over the Jewish state. Under them new apartment buildings arise.
Reflecting on the founding of the state, Peres said, “We answered the call of the time.”
Then as now, the call of the time must be to build, not to destroy. May others in this part of the world, where destruction spreads like an infection, come to see building, not killing, as the call of the time as well.
Listen to Aaron read the piece on our JUF News podcast page.