Could the formula for advancing American political life have been developed in the 16th century, in the small mystical community of Safed in Israel? There, the kabbalist Shlomo Alkabetz wrote the hymn “Lecha Dodi” sung each Friday night as we greet the Sabbath. The next to last verse begins: “Break out, right and left.”
For the first time, a son of Safed is prime minister. All right, so Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the Palestinian prime minister, but Israelís fate is in his hands as much as anyoneís. When he insists that peace depends on Israel recognizing the Arab right of return, heís talking about himself and heís talking about Safed.