How bad are the prospects for peace in the Middle East? Here's a hint. The highest court in Egypt, the only Arab country to make peace with Israel, recently ruled that any Egyptian man who marries an Israeli woman may be stripped of his citizenship.
Israeli women can't be trusted, according to Egypt's supreme court. It made the citizenship ruling, according to a lawyer in the case, to prevent the creation of a generation of children who might be "disloyal to Egypt and the Arab world."
Israel and Egypt signed a peace pact in 1979. But the court ruling appears to have more to do with the Egyptian government's fear of being challenged by the Islamic jihadists who would prefer to see Israel obliterated, rather than befriended, to make way for a Palestinian state.
While visiting Cyprus earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI commented on Islamic extremism. While acts of terrorism may attract the media, he said, the often violent religious intimidation that has caused thousands of Christians to leave their homes in the Middle East is ignored.
The pope will hold a summit of Middle East bishops in Rome in October to discuss the plight of the more than 17 million Christians who live in homes from Iran to Egypt. Many are recent immigrants to the Middle East who came from the Philippines, India, and Pakistan to seek jobs.
The Vatican says the rise of extremist "political Islam" is a "threat to everyone, Christians and Muslims alike." The pope said that "only by patient work can mutual trust be built."
Patience has grown terribly thin in the Middle East, but the pope is right: Without patience, there will never be peace.