after this past summer's war. More
than 3,000 young people from around
the world applied to our Leading Up
North program, and this incredible
number alone shows how much this
generation is eager to be involved.
When the volunteers we took to
Israel finished their days fixing bomb
shelters and preparing charred for-
ests for replanting, they spent their
evenings in discussion with young
Israelis who have chosen to live in the
socio-economically challenged regions
of the country to bring about change.
They met with Israelis and other Jews
from around the world who are deeply
engaged in service, working with non-
Jewish as well as Jewish communities.
In response, our foundation has not
stopped with Leading Up North. We
continue to support Jewish service
in many ways, including J-Serve, a
national Jewish teen day of service,
and an online networking site and
follow-up programming for alumni of
Jewish service programs.
Make It A Must
Whether you call it volunteerism,
community service, tzedek, social
action or something else altogether,
an intense service experience must
become a rite of passage for all young
Jews. When it does, our community
will be living the values, investing in
positive change — both within the
Jewish community and the general
society — planting the seeds for their
children to flourish and returning the
favor in a never-ending cycle.
And so I challenge all of us to step
it up. Let's step up the number of
young Jews doing service. Let's step up
support for Jewish organizations that
provide authentic service programs,
significantly expanding their reach.
Let's step up our commitment to
tzedek and tik kun olam. Let's unite
our community with a sincere, shared
obligation to Jewish service.
Let's make service universal. 11
Lynn Schusterman is chair of the Charles
and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
demand for the eradication of terror
and for maintaining security, we must
also broaden the existing channels of
dialogue. Those who do not want the
current leadership will tomorrow get
Islamic Jihad and Al Qaida instead.
If we bury all hope about the cur-
rent alternative, we will find ourselves
facing an Arab world united behind
the Iranian intentions to annihilate
Israel. The continuation of the present
situation will bring upon us nothing
but disaster. With the lack of a diplo-
matic alternative, it is merely a ques-
tion of time until the Israel Defense
Forces return to Gaza.
If we allow despair to overcome us,
it will do so quickly and easily. There
also is a need to realize that without
the peace we yearn for, it is not pos-
sible morally to continue ruling over
the lives of 3.5 million Arabs who do
not want us. This moral position must
drive us also to make the effort to try
to climb the ladder of opportunity that
has been placed at our side.
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Saudi Arabia's foreign minister was
quoted last week as saying that
Israel's response to his country's
peace plan, calling for changes, is
The Saudi plan seeks Israel's corn-
plete withdrawal from the West
Bank, which would entail disman-
tlement of all Jewish communities
and east Jerusalem Jewish neigh-
borhoods built across the Green
Line since 1967, and intimates
that Palestinian refugees would be
entitled to return to Israel. The first
condition denies Israel's legitimate
historic and religious claim to any
part of the West Bank, and the
second condition is a demographic
time bomb that would lead to Jews
becoming a minority in Israel.
Michael Melchior chairs the Knesset
Education and Culture Committee. This
column first appeared on Haaretz.com .
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