were going to see this death-de-
fying excursion at 6 and 11.
Writing in the edition of the
New York Jewish Week that ar-
rived in the homes of many of the
mission's participants on the day
they returned, Editor Gary
Rosenblatt wondered, "What are
we to make of these showy signs
of support? Should we swell with
pride or lower our heads in em-
The reaction of the Israelis
who boarded the bus along the
route was a (by then familiar)
mix of irritation at the obtrusive
television cameras, curiosity
about the American presence,
and genuine gratitude for the
The Israeli 11th- and 12th-
graders with whom the mission
participants, drawn mostly from
the Connecticut, New York and
New Jersey area, met that morn-
ing at the Gymnasia Rehavia in
Jerusalem lacked the cynicism
about the American presence.
"It is important to sit together
to know that although we are
thousands of miles apart, we are
bonded together," student
Jonathan Gorodetsky said.
The youth of Israel, repre-
sented by these students,
emerged in the public arena in
the aftermath of the Rabin as-
sassination, as the pictures of
their public mourning were
flashed around the world. If the
loss of the prime minister meant
the loss of hope in the different
future he represented, the recent
rash of terrorism suggests the
possibility that their immediate
futures could be influenced.
The students said they and
their friends all want a compre-
hensive peace for the region, but
"there's a lot of division about the
price of peace." They mentioned
the debate about trading the
Golan for peace with Syria and
the need for Palestinian Author-
ity President Yassir Arafat to
And although the debate over
the appropriate nature of U.S.
support, from American Jews
and their government, will nev-
er cease, it was clear during this
short sojourn that symbolic mis-
sions are important.
The reaction to President Clin-
ton's visit in particular was noth-
ing short of astounding. Amid the
stark insecurity and fear that
seems to have enveloped Israel
over the last few weeks, his visit
acted as a gigantic injection of
confidence. Asking Israelis only
about the mood of the country,
they painted a dark picture but
would invariably brighten when
recalling his visit.
"If Israel has ever been in the
need of a hug, the time is now,"
Editor Hirsh Goodman wrote in
the Jerusalem Report. "Perhaps
this is a war that is hard to see
and understand. But never has
the time for encouragement been
so ripe." CI
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