Peace between Arabs and Jews seems forever out of reach, both sides caught in a never-ending cycle of violence and revenge. But while treaties and other top-down solutions have had little lasting effect, peacemakers on the ground are creating real change—within themselves and with their enemies. In Bridges Across an Impossible Divide, American professor Marc Gopin offers an unprecedented exploration of the spiritual lives of Arab and Jewish peacemakers who have evolved deep friendships despite decades of war and suffering on all sides. Through trial and error the peacemakers in this book have devised their own unique methods of looking inward and reaching out across enemy lines. Gopin provides insightful analysis of the lessons to be learned from these peace builders, outlining the characteristics that make them successful. He argues that lasting conflict and misery between enemies is the result of an emotional, cognitive, and ethical failure to self-examine, and that the true transformation of a troubled society is brought about by the spiritual introspection of extraordinary, determined individuals.
The book is unique in that its central body is the actual words of peacemakers themselves as they speak of their struggles to overcome the death of loved ones and to find common ground with adversaries. Most of these accounts are from peacemakers who have hardly written before. This is a treasure trove for scholars and the general public who seek to understand the conflict and its peacemakers at a far deeper level. These remarkable stories reveal a level of inner examination that is rarely encountered in the literature of political science, international relations, or even conflict resolution theory. They show how building friendships invigorates the effort to bring equality, nonviolent social change, and reconciliation to warring peoples. Bridges Across an Impossible Divide takes listeners beyond the rhetoric of political leaders into the spiritual lives of men and women actually making peace with their enemies.