This week witnesses the beginnings of US engineered peace talks. We pray that these will not just be talks which allow the settlements to expand further and more Palestinian land to be expropriated, but that they will be short, fair and just and will bring an end to 43 years of occupation, oppression, displacement and misery.
We pray for respect between peoples and religions. In the week when Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the ultra Orthodox SHAS party, said the Palestinians should "perish", we pray that all right thinking people will condemn such words and turn our energies to seeking justice for all, which can also lead us on the path to peace and reconciliation.
As schools return from the summer break, Israeli pupils will have rewritten history books* which remove references to the Nakba (catastrophe of loss and dislocation) the Palestinian people suffered when Israel came into being. We pray for opportunities for all children, Israeli, Palestinian, American, everywhere, to learn about history and civic engagement free from political and religious propaganda.
Ramadan continues in the summer heat. We pray for our brothers and sisters who fast from food and water in these days. We pray also for those who seek to worship in Jerusalem and who find their way blocked and themselves intimidated and harassed by soldiers and police trying to prevent them coming to give thanks to God in one of their holiest places, the Haram al Sharif in Jerusalem. May God be merciful to all.