In our view, the most important condition for this blind conflict
to come to an end and for real peace to be established in the Middle
East is for both sides to genuinely and honestly understand and
implement their own beliefs. The conflict between Israel and Palestine
has taken on the identity of a 'religious war' between Jews and
Muslims, whereas in fact there is absolutely no reason for such
a war of religion. Both Jews and Muslims believe in God, love and
respect the same prophets, and possess the same moral principles.
They are not enemies. On the contrary, they are allies in a world
in which atheism and hatred of religion are widespread.
Based on that fundamental principle, we call on the Israelis (and
1) Muslims and Jews believe in one God, the creator of the
universe and all living things. We are all God's servants, and to
Him we shall return. So why hate each other? The holy books we believe
in are different, but we all abide by those books because we believe
they are the revelations of God. So why should we fight one another?
2) Instead of Muslims, would the Israelis rather live among
atheists or pagans? The Bible is full of passages describing the
terrible cruelties inflicted on the Jews by pagans. The terrible
genocide and cruelty inflicted on the Jews by atheists and unbelievers
(such as the Nazis, anti-Semitic racists or communist regimes such
as Stalin's Russia) are clear for all to see. The atheist forces
in question hated the Jews because they believed in God, and that
is why they oppressed them. Are not Jews and Muslims on the same
side against these atheist, communist or racist forces that hate
3) Muslims and Jews love and respect the same prophets.
The prophets Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses or David are at least
as important for Muslims as they are for Jews. The lands where these
holy figures lived and served God are at least as holy for Muslims
as they are for Jews. So why drown those lands in blood and tears?
4) The fundamental values of Israel are also sacred to us
Muslims. The word 'Israel' is the name of the Prophet Jacob, who
is praised in the Qur'an and remembered with great respect by Muslims.
The Magen David (Star of David) is the holy symbol of the prophet
David for us too. According to the Qur'an , synagogues are places
of worship that Muslims must protect. (Qur'an , 22:40). So why should
members of the two religions not live together in peace?
5) The Torah commands Jews to establish peace and security,
not to occupy other lands and spill blood. The people of Israel
are described as 'a light unto the nations.' As Rabbi Dovi Weiss
"The Jewish people are commanded
by Almighty God to live in peace with all peoples and nations
on the face of the globe. Our agenda is simple It is to humbly
worship the Creator at all times. As Torah Jews we are called
upon to feel and express our sense of compassion when any person
or group of human beings suffers."1
If the Israelis continue to treat the Palestinians as they are
now, they may be unable to account for that to God. Those Palestinians
who kill innocent Israelis, on the other hand, may be unable to
account for those murders. Is it not a duty in the eyes of God to
put an end to the fighting, which is dragging both sides deeper
into satanic violence?
We invite all Jews to consider these facts. God commands us Muslims
to invite Jews and Christians to a 'common formula:'
Say, "O People of the Book! Let us rally to
a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship
none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we
erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than
God." (Qur'an , 3:64)
This is our call to the Jews, a People of the Book: As people who
believe in God and obey His commands, let us come together in the
common formula of 'faith.' Let us love God, the Lord and Creator
of all of us. Let us abide by His commands. Let us pray to God to
lead us further on the path of righteousness. Let us bring love,
compassion and peace to each other and the world, not hostility,
blood and tears.
That is where the solution to the Palestinian question and other
conflicts in the world lies. Come, let us find a solution together.
The deaths and suffering of so many innocent people remind us every
day what an urgent task this is.
How Can the Palestinian Question be Resolved?
Based on the principles of toleration and moderation we have outlined
above, it is possible to solve the Palestinian question, which has
caused so much bloodshed in the Middle East over the last 50 years.
Jerusalem must be made a free city in which members of all three religions
can carry out their obligations in peace.When these conditions are
brought about, Israelis and Palestinians will have recognized each
others' right to exist, shared the Palestinian lands, and resolved
the status of Jerusalem, the subject of a great argument, in a manner
satisfactory to the members of all three religions.
Our hope is that the constant hostility of the last 50 years or
so, the prejudice, killing and slaughter will come to an end.
1-"The Torah Demands
Justice for the Palestinians" Presented by Rabbi Dovid Weiss of
NKIAt Time Square in Manhattan on Friday afternoon, June 1, 2001.
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