The reason religion is important is that it is about so much more than religion. It is about history, culture, tradition, belonging, identity and meaning. It is about the philosophy of life. It is about the spirit not the flesh. If the Middle East produces political change, without social change that is based on an open mind towards others, then it will have been a revolution half formed and unfinished and the economic change, so vital to advancing the position of the people, will likewise fall short. Such change cannot come without Islam and indeed all of us embracing the 21st Century. It is therefore our job at this moment to reach out; to open not close our own minds; to push forward for justice and for peace; to partner the modernisers and give them hope; and it is their job to lead, to reach back, to show that respect and equality between people of all faiths and none, is a purpose shared. This change can be managed over time and with care; but come it must.
That is why, even with all the uncertainty and even instability of the present time, we should be demonstrating renewed commitment to security for the State of Israel and the dignity of statehood for the Palestinians. Now is the time to prove that if peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is at an impasse, there is an overwhelming will to remove the blockage and press forward. It is time for our ambitions to be bold however hard they are to achieve.