— by Yaron Sideman, consul general of Israel, Mid-Atlantic Region
It was his ability to transform his country’s culture of animosity into a culture of acceptance, and to replace an entrenched ethos of hatred with one of tolerance which made Nelson Mandela the great man that he was. Few leaders are capable of making that personal journey, let alone successfully leading their people through it.
I wish there were more leaders like Mandela in the Middle East. In particular, I wish that the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership would take a page from the Mandela playbook and realize that the time has come to jettison its culture of hatred and to embrace one of acceptance. How else can any effort towards peace succeed?
More after the jump.
Unfortunately, Mandela’s way has not yet sunk in with the PA. Had it, its officials would not have rewarded released terrorists with overly generous grants (up to $50,000) and monthly salaries ($4,000), in effect illustrating that terrorism does pay.
The Middle East is riddled with tensions and divisions of a vastly different nature than those of South Africa. However, in both cases, at the core, are ordinary people, who want nothing more than to provide for their families and live their lives in peace. The Middle East would greatly benefit from more “Mandelas” — leaders able to bridge divides and bring people together.