Television personality Art Linkletter, who recently passed away at age 97, had the secret for achieving peace in the Middle East.
Linkletter, who experienced many setbacks and tragedies in his life, observed, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”
Adherence to this simple bit of wisdom sums up why Israel has been a story of success and miracles and why the Palestinian Arabs languish.
Take the case of Gaza, that is getting so much attention now.
The Israelis decided to unilaterally pull their presence out of Gaza in 2005 and turned control for its administration over to the Palestinians. It presented an opportunity for the Palestinians to show the Israelis and the world that they could govern themselves and pave a path for prosperity and peace for their people.
Were circumstances ideal?
Certainly not. But that’s the point. Circumstances are never ideal. Our only choice is always, as Art Linkletter said, to “make the best of the way things turn out.”
But in a culture of blame and entitlement, your problems never get solved because they are always someone else’s fault. You can never move forward because circumstances are never ideal.
As the Israelis readied to withdraw, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister announced “We are telling the entire world, today Gaza and tomorrow Jerusalem.”
Instead of focusing on starting to build on what they had, the focus was the ongoing political agenda against the Israelis.
Soon the Palestinians were embroiled in a civil war, killing each other, until the terrorist group Hamas gained the upper hand in Gaza. Next on the agenda was smuggling in arms and shooting missiles into Israel.
Meanwhile, as result of the Israeli political decision to withdraw from Gaza, 8500 Israelis that were living there were evicted from their homes and forced to move and build new lives elsewhere.
A group of these families picked up and moved several miles inland into a barren patch of arid desert along the Gaza/Egyptian border. They used the funds the Israeli government paid them as compensation for their property to invest and build a new agricultural community in the middle of nowhere.
There are now 180 families living in Halutza (Hebrew for “pioneer”). They pipe in desalinated water from the Mediterranean coast, fertilize the sand, and grow produce. Today, five years after being evacuated from Gaza, they are exporting $50 million dollars a year of organic potatoes, carrots, and peppers from their new community.
Art Linkletter would call this, “making the best of the way things turn out.”
Halutza is the history of Israel in microcosm. Taking difficult and unfortunate circumstances and building anew.
Only 62 years after its founding in the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel has a per capita GDP almost on par with industrialized European nations, has the highest per capita venture capital investment in the world, and has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any non-US country.
Intel Corporation’s facility in Israel is its only microchip design facility outside the US and is responsible for the design of most Intel chips powering our personal computers today.
All this accomplished under constant siege and war because the Palestinians have rejected every proposal to live side by side since they first rejected the state they were offered by the United Nations in 1947, which gave them more territory than they claim would satisfy them today.
A culture of blame, entitlement, and hate is a path to nowhere. This is as true in the Middle East as it is in America’s inner cities, put on the government plantation years ago.
In 1957, Golda Meir, a future prime minister of Israel, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington. She said, unfortunately prophetically, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
The world is still waiting.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons