In Weiss's view, the struggle for peace in Israel parallels the United States' current dilemma. "I think that there are no Jewish people who have never hoped to have peace. As long as the Jews have been around we have wanted peace. This is a constant factor with the Jewish people. The same attitude is seen in America in how to deal with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Some say to negotiate, some say to continue bombing. It's only natural that people hold varying opinions. I'm hoping that there will be peace through whatever it takes. I don't think any Jew feels taking a tough stance is the way to go, but the situation requires taking a tough stance. I don't think any American wants to bomb Afghanistan, but we are still all behind President Bush on how to deal with people who blow up innocent people. Personally, I don't know how to deal with people who have a philosophy of killing women and children."
The problems Israel faces are close to home for Weiss. "I'm not there, but I have two brothers and a sister there. My son is a colonel in the U.S. Army, but his son is in the Israeli army. I can only hope that things will be well."
Weiss is less equivocal when it comes to Yasser Arafat. "Even President Bush has to prove that [Arafat] is not a terrorist. As far as I know, [Arafat] has been a terrorist for most of his life, and I don't think he has changed his ways. How to deal with him is up to the prime minister and the people in Israel. Now, Sharon is a democratically elected prime minister and the leader of the government in Israel. I am sure that he is dealing with the situation as well as anybody could. Even America doesn't know how to handle the situation.
"Somewhere along the line, I feel that terror will not succeed. Not in America, not in Israel, not in Pakistan. Ultimately, contrary to what appears on the surface now, Palestinians want peace. Israelis want peace. The world wants peace. It's a matter of how soon and when. All I can do is pray that it be soon."
But do the Palestinian suicide bombers want peace? "I have a difficult time believing they want peace, but it's their culture. Are you aware that 24 hours a day on Arab television, they are fed a constant showing of the evil that is supposed to be Israel. They never show what is happening to the Israelis, only to the Palestinians. Somewhere along the line, that has to change."
If the culture has to change, Weiss sees that change must extend beyond Palestine's borders to the entire Arab world -- a world that refuses to recognize Israel. "Some don't even recognize their existence, even though the United Nations helped form the state, and even though it is recognized by the rest of the world. Now Jordan and Egypt have recognized them in treaties, but they are what you call 'cold treaties.' There's very little assistance from Egypt, because Egypt has its own problems with militants. They have to walk a very straight line so as not to anger the militants in their own countries. This is mostly because the Arab leadership -- whether it's to keep their power or the safety of their own positions -- have created this image. I think most Arabs are human beings, and their mothers also cry for the children who are dead. When the heads of governments change, the people will change and then there will be a chance for peace."
Both men were interviewed for this article on May 8, the day after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 15 people in an Israeli pool hall.