I then reflected upon my wonderful experiences with Maikel and his followers. Maikel and his followers have shown me an example of love and compassion on a consistent basis which contrasts sharply with the anti-Semitism that I experienced among both some Arabs and some Russian studies professors at my university. They have shown me a different and a better way of living, and I salute Maikel and his followers for their kindness toward me and my people.
I am saddened but not surprised that unknown agitators tried to disrupt Maikel’s speech at Tel Aviv University. Unfortunately, they are not capable of holding a civilized discussion with those individuals and groups who disagree with them. So rather than engaging in dialogue, they try to intimidate their opponents. I know Maikel will not be intimidated by them as he has faced far greater dangers at the hands of the Egyptian military and radical Islam in Egypt.I am beginning to question the whole institution and concept of war in response to Maikel’s love and compassion toward me personally and my people in general. I am gradually understanding that war itself is evil and is a source of great and often unnecessary human suffering. Maikel has undoubtedly greatly influenced me in this direction by his personal example and his logical arguments. I see that war itself, even when conducted by democracies who don’t target women and children, is an instrument of tyranny and injustice. I haven’t yet reached the place of rejecting every single war, because I still think that sadly war is often necessary to destroy tyrants such as Saddam and Assad. And in Israel’s case, the Jews definitely need an army for self-defense and must go to war despite their peaceful intentions.
But Maikel has forced me to ask hard questions about the nature of war and to think carefully about the implications of war. Maikel has opened my heart to the value and necessity of peace and the pain and cruelty of war and militarism. He has also helped me to realize that war is not just an inevitable but cruel fact of life. He is helping me to see that war is a choice and that we need to work as hard as possible to find alternatives to war. The Israelis need to develop a much more humane, open-minded, and caring attitude toward our Arab and Muslim friends such as Maikel and also the followers of Ayatollah Boroujerdi.
Finally, a Facebook friend introduced me to the concept of natural horsemanship. Natural horsemanship is a non-violent way of caring for horses. This principle is used not only to treat horses with natural compassion but to teach non-violence to many different human audiences, including schoolchildren, corporations, abused kids, autistic children, and juvenile delinquents. This method is also used to help soldiers heal from the traumatic effects of PTSD caused by combat. I am profoundly attracted to programs and concepts of non-violence such as natural horsemanship as a result of my interaction with Maikel and his pacifist beliefs.