Opinions on the Israeli pullout from Gaza have been mixed. We spoke with one of the most prominent religious leaders in the community about the historic event. This is Rabbi Peter Tarlow in his own words.
Seventy percent of their population, according to polls, wanted to pull out, while 30 percent wanted to stay in. The fact that, with a minimal amount of violence, they were able to accomplish it when it's such an emotional issue for 30 percent of the population, is a huge success.
I think Israel has become a very sophisticated society. It's very much a function of democracy. Yes, I expected people to be emotional. It's a real national trauma, and it's a real gamble for peace.
If it leads to a final peace process, it was a brilliant decision. If it leads to another war where Israel has to reenter Gaza, it was a tragic decision. So I think great leaders take gambles, and he (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon) certainly made a gamble. He made a major gamble for peace.
Israel is the only country that's a victorious country that has given up land for peace. No other country has done that. Certainly, we've never done that in the United States for anybody else. That's a major gamble, because it's the first time in world history that a country is saying peace is more important to us than a piece of land, or conquering other people.