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Mr. President, Visit the Parks and Coffee Shops

President Biden arrived in Jerusalem yesterday. He is staying a short walk from the institute where my wife Susie and I are studying.

The other evening, we walked home past the King David Hotel where the president is staying and made our way through Liberty Bell Park. It was filled with Muslims celebrating Eid al-Adha, the holiday commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. (Islam’s version of this story is different than Judaism’s.) There was enthusiasm, and ease, in the air as families shared picnic dinners and children played on the basketball courts.

We then made our way to the First Station, the renovated space of what was once the train station where people arrived in Jerusalem when they traveled from Tel Aviv. There, among the restaurants, bars and shops, we discovered secular, ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israelis, as well as a fair number of rabbis from our program. In one area, Israelis were taking a dance class and in another, they were enjoying a late dinner and in yet another, an evening cocktail.

There was no sense of the tension, and challenges, one reads about in the news....