Reflecting on 2010, it’s clear that racism in Israel has reared its ugly head. A recent poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 51 percent of Israelis support equal rights between Jews and Arabs, while 53 percent think the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country. Thepoll also established that Jewish Israelis find the idea of living next to an Arab more troubling than any other minority, and that in the event of war, 33 percent of Israelis support the idea of putting Arabs into internment camps.
In the last few months, these findings were given concrete expression in a number of incidents. These include:
A religious ruling signed and endorsed by 50 state-appointed rabbis forbidding Jews from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews. “Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, head of the Yeshiva in Ashdod and one of the endorsers …
Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.
The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.
Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza
The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of war, the mutual recriminations of the present, the painful memories of a lost past, and the unreasonable fantasies of a world where one’s enemies magically disappear. Sometimes the way forward is to free the mind to build a different world, a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved.
Let’s imagine the following: a full peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital, a shared civil regime for the quarter mile of the Holy Basin in the Old City of Jerusalem that is overseen by Israeli and Palestinian Jews, Muslims and Christians, and a way for every Palestinian refugee camp’s residents to be awarded citizenship and compensation in a variety of countries including Palestine itself.
The first …
Excellent article, speaks for itself
Growing up in the West Bank, Mujahid Sarsur knew next to nothing about the Holocaust and saw little ground to sympathize with a people he saw as his occupier. 2010. But thanks to an Israeli roommate overseas, the 21-year-old Palestinian student learned about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews during World War II and discovered a new understanding of his Israeli neighbors.Now he wants other Arabs to do the same. Sarsur heads one of a handful of Palestinian grass-roots groups seeking knowledge about the Holocaust.On Wednesday, he led a delegation of 22 students to Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. The students, fasting for Ramadan, listened closely to their Arabic-speaking guide’s explanations, and were left wide-eyed by the gruesome images of the death camps.
Why is everyone so angry and appalled at this 21 year old Israeli woman? I think she is a perfect creation of a system. The fact that she sees nothing wrong with the photographs of her smiling and proud with blindfolded humiliated Palestinian prisoners is absolute proof that it is not her but the system that has prepared her as a teenager to become an occupier, not a member of an elite army, but an occupier of civilians who must be humiliated because that is the essence of occupation. she merely said on Facebook what so many say to each other in the field now. How can we blame her for being simply an expression of a system that must corrupt her mind, not to mention punish whole populations? She is the reason that most of the world has come to hate Israel, not her personally but the system, the …
(Originally published at Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility, in a very good issue dedicated to Iran. It will give you a good overview of thinking in the American Jewish community right now on the slowly moving crisis with Iran)
Over the past 25 years I’ve developed relationships across the Middle East; in Syria, specifically, over the past five years. While I traveled as a peacemaker, to be cautious I would emphasize my role as a professor and only reveal my role as a rabbi when it felt safe. I never experienced any negative comments because I am a rabbi; rather I heard from some a longing to meet with old Jewish friends. Experiences with Syrians have given me confidence that similar inroads can be made in Iran. What Iran shares with Syria, most importantly, is a historical tradition of religious pluralism and progressive religious thinking. There is still …