Although Farah Stockman raises some important challenges in her op-ed “Jerusalem, divided,” we are troubled by her emphasis on extreme voices in each community.
No mention is given of the 56 percent of Palestinians who told a Washington Institute poll this year that they want their government to renounce violence. No voice is given to the 60 percent of Israelis who told a Dialog Institute survey this summer that “if the prime minister reaches an agreement whereby a Palestinian state will be established alongside Israel,” they would support it.
By describing those who pass out candy celebrating brutal terrorist attacks on synagogues as “Palestinians,” while referring to Jews who murdered a Palestinian as “far-right thugs,” Stockman conveys that Israeli society sees these actions by Jewish individuals as an extremist response. She also leaves the impression that all Palestinians celebrate terrorism, thus diminishing the voice of those working for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
In discussing recent efforts to expand the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, Stockman does not mention that many of Israel’s most prominent leaders, including Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, have publicly condemned this effort. In fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has courageously rejected any efforts to alter the status quo at the sacred site, and has even flown to Jordan for emergency consultations to support the role of Muslim authorities at the site.
We assume that Stockman spent time with those in Palestinian and Israeli society who are grappling with the dilemma of a shared land and a holy city. It would serve readers to hear their perspectives on the challenges that she saw in Jerusalem.