This is Yossi’s reply to Abdullah from Kuwait. To read Abdullah’s full response check this link  


Dear Abdullah,

Thank you for taking the time to read my book, for your passionate messages, for your friendship to the Jewish people. I never take for granted an outstretched hand, especially when that hand is stretched across the abyss of the Israeli-Arab conflict. I take your hand gratefully and offer you my friendship in return.

I appreciate your anger at the Palestinian national movement and at Palestinian leaders. I know how Palestinian leaders betrayed Kuwait at its most desperate moment, when Saadam invaded and Arafat and others enthusiastically stood with Saadam, despite Kuwait’s long history of support for the Palestinian cause.

I have deep anger toward the Palestinian national movement – for rejecting every peace offer that Israel ever put on the table, for always saying no and never saying what deal they are ready to live with (especially on the question of refugee return: return to where? Israel or Palestine?) I am enraged at decades of Palestinian terrorism. In addressing my Palestinian neighbor, I tried to control my anger. But believe me: Like most Israelis my memory is long and has forgotten nothing.

But there has been cruelty on both sides, and the Palestinians have suffered greatly in this conflict and I can’t allow myself to forget that too. And I also insist on a distinction between Palestinian leaders and ordinary Palestinians – some of whom want to harm me, some of whom want to live with me in peace.

I have no choice, Abdullah: The Palestinians are my neighbors. They also have no choice: The Israelis are their neighbors. Neither people is happy about that; both peoples would be very happy to wake up one morning and discover that the other has moved to Australia or Canada.

But that isn’t going to happen. We’re stuck with each other. We are like Siamese twins who desperately want to separate from each other but whose lives are entwined in each other’s fate.

I was pained to read your words: “The Palestinians must remain in camps.” My friend Abdullah: No human beings, anyway, should live in camps. No children should be born and raised in camps.

 I believe passionately in the right of the Jewish people to return to this land. As you note, we bought every piece of land on which we settled before 1948 (and then the war happened and the rules of war prevailed). I don’t feel guilty for Israel’s success. But I want this wound to begin to heal, or at least to be dealt with. We must at least try – and Israel cannot do it alone. We will need the help of the Arab world and addressing the political and economic consequences of this conflict.

In conclusion: I deeply appreciate your courage in standing publicly with Israel. I understand your anger at the Palestinians. And yet – I hope you will be able to adopt a more nuanced attitude to a whole people. Your friendship for Israel would also have more credibility in the Arab world if you could relate to Palestinians – the good and the bad – as being created in the Divine image, as the Torah says about all human beings. That means there is always hope for change and growth, for all of us.


With blessings and best wishes,