Jay Moses is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program.  Jay is the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program in the Foundation’s New York office.  He can be reached at jmoses@wexner.net

Our armored bus rolled through the desert and turned in to the winding streets of Hevron. Wexner Heritage members and spouses were spending a day exploring the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Home to over 100,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jews, Hevron is a powerful symbol of the intractable nature of the conflict. As we approached Machpelah, traditionally regarded as the burial ground of the patriarchs as described in this week’s parasha, history loomed even larger than the enormous structure that has been built around and over the burial caves.

Hearing a Hevron resident talk about reclaiming our ancestral land in the face of constant security threats, while at the same time refusing to condemn the Jew who murdered 29 Muslim worshipers on that spot, put the leadership challenge into stark relief: will Israelis and Palestinians just dig in on their tug-of-war stalemate until one of them collapses, or will they find a way to slack the rope and relieve the unbearable strain?