Obama's Cairo Speech Resonates in New York

President Obama's speech in Cairo resonated deeply with Jews and Muslims around the world and in New York.
      
There are about as many Jewish people in the United States as in Israel---and New York is the major Jewish center.  In America and in New York, the Muslim population is growing fast.
       
The President was eloquent, almost poetic. He invoked the Quran, the Bible and the Talmud. He was prayerful, political and professorial almost all at once.
        
"As the Holy Quran tells us," Obama declared, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth....the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart."
                                                     
He called for "a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a  state of their own and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes."
 
The preacher impulse in Obama seems to be strong. He said: "All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time."  And then added: "There is one rule that lies at the heart of every religion, that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us." He called this a truth that transcends nations and peoples.
            
He quoted the Quran as saying "we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."  He said that the Talmud tells us that "the whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

And he cited the Bible for affirming: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of  God.''
             
In the Muslim world, one resident of Baghad called Obama "a brave president" and added: "We hope he will open a new chapter with the Islamic world and Arab nations in particular."

The Israeli government said: ''We share President Obama's hope that the American effort heralds the opening of a new era that will bring an end to the conflict and [lead] to general Arab recognition of Israel.''
              
Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace prize winner, said Obama's speech was "full of vision, a courageous speech that requires hard work by all parties involved."
              
The prophet Isaiah had a vision of peace too. He predicted that swords would be beaten into ploughshares and ''nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.''
               
The vision of peace in the Holy Land is still pursued -- but is still elusive.

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