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Israel: From Startup Nation To Startup Peace

To become an international success story and to reimagine itself as a place where entrepreneurship thrives, Israel must leave occupation behind, writes Nadav Eyal. 
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) participates in a farewell ceremony with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and President Shimon Peres (L) at Tel Aviv International Airport March 22, 2013.   REUTERS/Jason Reed   (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3FBWR
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President Barack Obama’s speech in Jerusalem’s International Convention Center still resonates in the Israeli public arena. The President talked about the overall Israeli experience — its historical sources, the threats to its existence, its struggles and victories. Between his promise to the Israelis that they are “not alone” and his citing of Israel’s rare success, Obama aspired to transmit one simple, lucid message: That peace is possible, necessary and just.

The message was delivered, but Israel of 2013 is wrapped in layers of denial. Many of the headlines that appeared in the media extracted the comforting sentences from the speech, the preparatory words that preceded the real message. Obama did not come to Jerusalem only to tell the Israelis that America is on their side; he already said that in Washington. He also did not come to the Jerusalem’s International Convention Center to express the demand, directed at Palestinian ears, to recognize the Jewish state. The US President attempted to re-establish the importance of peace in the Israeli consciousness, a word that has become almost a disgraceful word in contemporary political discourse. Not because we don’t want peace, some of Israel’s politicians are quick to remark, but because it is not possible at the moment. And security-wise, it is not correct. And perhaps not fair, either.

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