From the Israeli tourism homepage to casual conversations with strangers, “Shalom” is the most common greeting used in Israel. It can mean a number of things from hello to goodbye to peace be with you. In Hebrew, Shalom means peace. I once heard in a seminary class that “Shalom” is not just any peace. It is peace in the midst of conflict not in the absence of it.
Yet, it is interesting that many Israelis don’t believe that peace will ever come to their country. From Christian Arabs to IDF solidiers to secular Jews, if they are honest, most don’t believe the age ole differences in the country will ever be solved. Every political “solution” seems to make it worse. I haven’t met any Hamas fighters. But I guess they probably feel the same way as the Israelis. There is too much at stake for either side to ever allow the struggle to die down. Neither side would be willing to give what would be necessary for “peace.” And I strongly doubt that any “peace” would be lasting.
I find it ironic that the word used as a generic greeting in Israel describes a condition that many residents don’t believe will ever take place. I wonder if hidden beneath every “Shalom” is a cry for a solution. Is this really a call for the Prince of Peace?
Shalom from Israel.