Israelis Plan to Visit Arab Lands if Peace Comes With AM-Palestinians-Peace, Bjt
JERUSALEM (AP) _ For Rafi Danon, who owns a hobby shop, peace will come on the day he can drive to Jordan across a frontier free of land mines and barbed wire.
Ruthi Zadka, who has an 8-year-old son, has no desire to set foot in Arab lands, but fervently hopes the state of war will end.
″I don’t want to be their friends,″ she said. ″I don’t want to go to Syria for the weekend; it doesn’t interest me. What interests me is the opposite of war.″
Danon and Ms. Zadka represent the range of feelings among Israelis after the preliminary peace talks in Madrid.
Many have dreams ready to be played out, others have difficulty imagining peace. Some pray for a feeling of security and an end to the 4-year-old Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories. Still others see a chance to do business with the Arabs.
Ms. Zadka, director of a Jerusalem art gallery, said she thought peace was ″a fantasy″ for most Israelis.
″As youth, we drew olive branches and doves, and when we grow up we suddenly understand the meaning of war,″ she said.
She hopes now for tranquility, Ms. Zadka said, so the compulsory military service that awaits her son will not be dangerous.
Danon, 27, wants adventure once there is peace. He said his first visit would be to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, where Israeli youths now sometimes go secretly as a test of courage.
″My wings are clipped here,″ he said. ″Everywhere I drive today, I’ll eventually run into a fence.″
Travel agents believe there are many Israelis like Danon and predict a wave of tourism. Nearly a million Israelis, or one in five, have visited Egypt since the two countries made peace in 1979.
In Zichron Yosef, the Jerusalem neighborhood where Syrian Jews live, Rachel Elhav, 37, said: ″Of course I’ll want to go to Syria, to Damascus, to see where my father was born, see where he grew up and was educated.″