Jews and Muslims

Sept. 11 and the Second Intifada in Israel interrupted years of improvement in Muslim-Jewish relations.

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As of this writing, a new attempt to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--the so-called "road map"--is in its early stages of deployment. Road map supporters hope the plan will finally cut the Middle East's Gordian knot, and bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians. But even if it succeeds in ending the violence and the demonization, the anger, mistrust, and overt hatreds that now divide Jews and Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere will not soon be overcome. The suspicions between the groups that have colored their relations for most of their shared history have so deepened in recent years that, even with the best of outcomes for the road map, the existing animosities are likely to take generations to overcome.

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Ira Rifkin

Ira Rifkin is a national correspondent for Religion News Service based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization: Making Sense of Economic and Cultural Upheaval.