Dear Sultan,

Your wonderful letter touched me deeply. Thank you, my friend – and I feel that, though I know almost nothing about you, we have already become friends.

I wholeheartedly endorse your idea that personal connections between Arabs and Israelis can help ease the task of the politicians to make peace, as you put it. Unfortunately, those who call for a boycott of Israelis fail to understand the Israeli mentality, which is to push back when feeling under siege. The movement to boycott Israel has the opposite effect of forcing us into concessions. I wish people in the Arab world understood that the only way to convince Israelis to be generous in territorial withdrawal is by persuading them that it would be safe to do so, that their security wouldn’t be compromised. And the only way to get that message across, I believe, is through messages such as yours.

That is partly what motivated me to write my book. The more voices for peace and reconciliation that we hear from the Arab world, the more Israelis will lower their guard and begin to trust that they really can find their place in the region.

I would be honored to welcome you to Jerusalem. I would be delighted to welcome you for dinner in our home, to share with you the Jewish celebration of the Sabbath. And yes, my dream is to visit Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, as a neighbor, a friend, a brother.

Please tell me something about yourself.

With blessings and warm regards –

Yossi