Dear Friends,

At a kindergarten graduation in Gaza the other day, young children were given toy guns and told to shoot at a man dressed as a Jew. They were then told to capture and kill another who was dressed as an Israeli soldier. Such is the “education” of young children whose hearts become filled with hate.

I think about these children and compare them to my own grandchildren. Rather than their days being filled with fun and play, these innocent souls have been taught to believe the perversion that there is goodness and great reward for hating and killing the one who is identified as the “enemy.”

What a sad commentary on the world in which we live, and in which these Palestinian children are growing up. What will be their future? And to what will they aspire?

I am among those who believe that the only solution to the Middle East conflict is two states for two peoples. But I regret that such a reality seems so far off, in large part, because the next generation of Palestinians has been indoctrinated with hatred for Israel and the delusion that Israel will yet be destroyed.

Sadly, we know of the Palestinian Authority’s policy of training young children to view terrorist murderers as heroes and role models. The PA has named 31 schools after terrorists and sports tournaments are frequently named after terrorists as well. Having a tournament named after oneself: murder or injure some Israelis and you become a hero!

But the reality is worse than that. A volleyball tournament for teachers was recently conducted by the PA Ministry of Education—the tournament was held to honor the memories of two Palestinian terrorists. Imagine the negative influence upon a young child—using sports as a means to promote hatred.

I like the following sentiments very much, as they remind us that even as our children come into this world as their unique selves, that still we have a great influence upon them.

“If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.

If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.”

Would that we reach a time when all parents will embrace those truths;
a time when young children will truly represent our hope for the kind of world that we want for all.

Shabbat Shalom

         Rabbi David Greenberg