Signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
From left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House, Sept. 15, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images via JTA)

Despite the chaos, despite the unrest and unknown, there is always a silver lining. And a certainty, that we as Jews and Israelis will prevail.

Over the next several weeks as we continue to celebrate the Chagim in this new year of 5781 we look forward to what hope and promise this new year will bring. To many of us, myself included, Rosh Hashanah meant  “Good Riddance” to 5780 and sincere wishes that 5781 will be a good, peaceful healthy year.

Enough ink has been spilled, words have been spoken, and tears have been shed as a result of Covid-19. We all know the devastation it has caused, the uprooting which may take decades to replant. As Israel has begun another strict lockdown I pray this next few weeks will mean compliance which will translate to numbers that allow us to reopen safely.

Despite the chaos, despite the unrest and unknown, there is always a silver lining. And a certainty, that we as Jews and Israelis will prevail.

Aviv Ezra
Aviv Ezra

This theme, “We Will Prevail,” is pervasive throughout Jewish history, and provides the backdrop for the message I carry with me leading into this time of self-reflection. That message can be summed up in one word: Belief. Belief that a sense of normalcy will return, belief that we will forge a new path through turbulent waters, belief that better days are ahead. And this belief is far from unfounded. There have been moments throughout our people’s history that hope seemed futile, moments in which it seemed certain that we would surely join the long list of peoples who are now just a memory. And yet, here we are, and here we will remain. Armed with our beliefs and traditions, this moment in history will surely be no different. We Will Prevail.

Many of us were not yet alive in 1978, or can hardly remember, when the first signing of a peace deal between Israel and one of its 19 Arab neighbors, Egypt, sent shockwaves through the Middle East. It took 16 years until another of Israel’s neighbors, Jordan, followed suit. Now, 26 years later, we have arrived at another historic crossroads. A few weeks ago, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced they would be normalizing relations, followed soon after by Bahrain.

This landmark agreement, most significantly, does not come at the expense of the Palestinians, but in fact presents them with a unique opportunity to return to direct negotiations with Israel. Israel is ready to do so, and will come to the negotiating table with the principles of the American administration’s Peace Initiative. The peace deal provides a practical and realistic basis upon which the two sides can begin negotiations, and in the light of the Abraham Accord, achieving a lasting resolution between Israel and the Palestinians now seems that much more attainable.

The Accord represents an alternative and paradigm-shifting step forward for the region. It has fostered a revolutionary opportunity for other Arab nations to establish formal ties with the State of Israel, a concept previously deemed far-fetched and impossible. It provides a striking alternative to those radical forces who oppose peace and prefer to perpetuate conflict until victory is won over resolving conflict in a peaceful manner and reaping the benefits that cooperation can provide. Moreover, the agreement effectively strengthens the power of moderatism in the face of the extremism that Iran and its proxies sow across the region.

Ultimately, the Abraham Accord represents an alignment of values. Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain are all facing the shared challenges of climate change, diminishing resources, and most pertinently, of disease. It is essential that we focus on agreement over disagreement, and combine our capabilities for the wellbeing of our citizens. This is exactly what this agreement has achieved. The Abraham Accord should be the guiding light for all other nations of the region of the good that can come from making peace with Israel.

While to many, these events transpired relatively unnoticed, they represent another seismic shift in Israel’s status among its neighbors. People may be quick to point out that Israel was not in a state of war with either of these countries, so what’s the big deal? But it is a big deal. It is a big deal that Israel’s neighbors have begun to recognize that peace with Israel is the road to success. They have begun to recognize that their economic futures will be better off by forging long-lasting ties with a small and mighty nation than denying the fact of its existence. They have begun to recognize what we, as Jews, have known for millennia: We Will Prevail.

Aviv Ezra is the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest


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