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5764

A Long-Term Conflict


Written by the rabbi

Dedicated to the memory of
Hana Bat Haim


1.. Religion at the Root
2.. A Jewish State
3.. Jerusalems Temple Mount

Religion at the Root
The ongoing confrontation between Israel and the Arabs living in the Land of Israel is not an isolated dispute; it is in fact a confrontation between the Nation of Israel as a whole and the entire Arab people. The aspiration of the Jewish people, to return to our homeland in its entirety and to thrive as citizens of own Jewish state, free from the yoke of the nations and in accordance with the distinctive spirit of Israel, thus fulfilling our unique role in the world - this aspiration is our very life. It did not ceased throughout the two-thousand-year exile, and it began to take concrete practical shape more than one hundred years ago. We are today in the midst of an ingathering of exiles, the return of the people to its homeland - the holy land of its forefathers..

In contrast, the ambition of the Arab nation as a whole is that the entire Land of Israel be under Islamic-Arab rule. The Arab world-view claims that the Nation of Islam has replaced the People of Israel, that Islam is the true heir to the Israel and its faith..
Suddenly, the Jewish People have risen up again after two-thousand years of Exile. Its spiritual and material assets - the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel - have not been bequeathed to another people. They are the exclusive property of the living Nation of Israel. Islam is not willing to come to grips with this fact. It desires that the entire Holy Land be subject to its own rule. Hence, the struggle between us and the Arabs living in the Land of Israel is a confrontation between the Jewish people and its faith on the one hand, and the Arab nation and its faith on the other.

For this reason, it is fruitless to consider a solution to the troubled relations between Israel and the Arabs which is detached from the source of the confrontation. If we refuse to recognize the source of the problem we will not be capable of dealing with it properly. The source of the conflict is religious in nature, and religious conflicts can find no true solution in political agreements. Its solution must be searched for in the religious-theological arena. We, for our part, request of God that a solution eventually be reached "neither through militia nor through force, but through My spirit."

The recognition that the source of the conflict between the Israel and the Arabs is national-religious in nature, obligates one to accept the fact that it is bound to go on for a very long period of time. Our approach to dealing with the conflict need not demand finding some solution to the conflict, but learning to live with it. We must rather accept the fact that we do not presently possess any way of solving the conflict: neither side is ready to abandon its national-religious aspirations. Therefore, we must learn how to live with the conflict. In the same manner that each of us must learn to live with hardships, difficulties, illnesses and catastrophes which contain no solution, so we must learn how to live with Arab hostility and terror..

We must learn to limit the amount of attention we give to this problem, to restrict the matter to its appropriate boundaries without putting all of our efforts and energies into it. Most of our energies must be poured into efforts to advance goals such as gathering in all of the exiles, strengthening the population of Israel, developing the Jewish State, and endowing it with the kind of spirit which makes us a unique nation. We must stop chasing after peace. Peace is neither relevant nor practical. Of course we do not desire war, and we are forever willing to discuss peace, but there is no reason to go chasing after peace, for the more that we chase after it, the more it distances itself from us.. If we stop chasing after peace, it will at least stop distancing itself from us.

A Jewish State

The State of Israel must see itself as a State for the entire Jewish nation. This was the reason for its establishment, and this is how it should be. The State of Israel is not a multi-national, non-denominational entity; it is the state of the Jewish people - the entire Jewish people. Though Israels non-Jewish citizens, the Arabs, are citizens with the same rights as Jews, and each citizen of Israel is free to live his private life according to his own world-view and faith, the state as such must be Jewish with an unequivocal Jewish character.

Accordingly, the State of Israel must see every Jew in the world as a potential citizen. Every Jew should be allowed to take advantage of this privilege and receive citizenship, even if one has not yet immigrated to the Land of Israel and settled permanently herein. This step will have the effect of strengthening the connection between the land and the people. The assertion that the State of Israel is the state of the Jewish people is nothing new. It is anchored in Israels Scroll of Independence, and in the spirit of the Law of Return. This new measure, though, will serve to strengthen the true fabric of the state and reinforce the bond between Diaspora Jewry and the state. Giving voting privileges to Jews living abroad, on the condition that they come to Israel regularly for short visits, will shrink the looming demographic question.

The assertion that the State of Israel is the state of the entire Jewish people justifies our claim to the entire Land of Israel. The world community understands and recognizes the fact that the Jewish people have a right to their own state; the world community also understands that the Land of Israel is the place for such a state - it is the ancestral homeland of the Jews. Consequently, our claim that the entire land, according to its historical-biblical boundaries should be the homeland of the Jews, and that it is improper to prevent us from settling the entire land will be understood.

The assertion that the State of Israel is the state of the entire Jewish people and that its objective is to ingather all of the Jews and to create a distinctly Jewish national life will make the depth of the conflict between us and the Arabs better understood. This is important because to hide from this fact only blurs the situation; instead of aiding to bring about a solution, it aggravates it. Presenting superficial solutions will, in the end, only cause heightened eruptions - and experience testifies to this.

We must accept the fact that at the present time there is no viewable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Neither side wishes to join the other to create one united nation. It is therefore best to reduce the mingling of the two nations. The Arabs should be left to live their own private lives as they please, and they should also be allowed to manage their communal-cultural-religious life as they see fit in every area that it is possible for them to do this on their own. The state has the responsibility to encourage this separation between us maximally in order to safeguard our Jewish identity while at the same time allowing them to preserve their own identity. Joint activities will find expression only in those unavoidable areas where it is impossible to manage separate systems. In this manner we will succeed in reducing daily tension.

The state will guarantee complete equal rights, but it will also possess a very clear identity: it will be a state for the Jewish people; it will prevent citizens from assaulting its own sovereignty and Jewish aims.

Jerusalems Temple Mount
We cannot finish without touching upon Jerusalem.. Unified Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel, and the Temple Mount is the most holy site the Jewish people have. The Holy City must be subject entirely to Jewish authority, and we must demand that the Temple Mount, because of its tremendous sanctity, be closed off to all people until both the Jewish people and the world are prepared to aspire to such a level of sanctity..

In sum, the conflict between Israel and the Arabs runs very deep. It is a religious conflict to which there exists no solution at present. We must therefore stop investing all of our efforts in trying to create a path to peace. We must, rather, pour our energies into transforming Israel into a state for all of the Jewish people in the world and imbuing it with a clear Jewish character. We must keep the entire Land of Israel in our possession, declare an all out war on terrorism, and manage life in Israel such that there be as much separation between us and the Arabs in daily affairs as possible - not to blur identities.

It is impossible to halt the process of Israels national revival, the reclamation of its entire land, and revival of its unique path. We are constantly progressing; every seeming barrier acts as an impetus to ascension toward the complete redemption. Fortunate is he who has the privilege of lending a hand in Gods ongoing redemption of Israel.


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