Israeli Diplomat Visits Coast For The First Time

For the first time since taking office, the highest ranking Israeli diplomat in the Southeastern United States visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Consul General Jacob Rosen is traveling across the Southeast. He says his mission is to urge Americans to ask questions and get informed about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rosen told an audience at the Beth Israel Synagogue in Biloxi that there are no precedents for solving the complex issues that divide the two factions.

He says the United States can help broker peace in the Middle East by supporting democratic ideals. In fact he says it's the democratic spirit that gives Israel and U-S have such a close relationship.

"If America would like to take sides with non-democratic countries, I think it is possible," Rosen said. "I'm not sure the American public opinion would accept it. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is a good friend of the United States and I think this is what keeps the bond together."

Democracy isn't the only thing the two countries share. Because of September 11th, Rosen says Americans now have gotten to know first hand about a problem his country has battled for years, terrorism.

"We have learned to live with it," Rosen said. "Don't give up and you persist in the struggle until you manage to contain the situation. I'm not sure you ever have the final conclusive victory."

Rosen says he is one of few Israeli diplomats who has lived in Arab nations. He says one things he's learned is that that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that everything is a matter of perspective. He says he is not prepared to give up on peace in the Middle East.

"One should never raise his hands. I think there is always a chance. These are not permanent things. People change. Leaderships change and we always have to hope for the better."

By Danielle Thomas