Focus Article: Religion is part of the solution in Middle East

by Ben Mollov

Jerusalem – Bringing religion into the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be avoided. It is already part of the conflict and has been from its inception. But in public discourse the deeper cultural and religious roots of the conflict are usually omitted.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is a function of a parallel renewal by both Jews and Arabs of an earlier “heroic era” that has become central to the narratives of both sides. Both stories are steeped in religious and cultural significance and must, therefore, be made integral to any conflict resolution process.

The Zionist movement proposed the solution that the Jewish people needed to renew themselves on the model of the Jewish civilisation during the time of the Bible in their ancient homeland. Although many early Zionists rejected traditional Jewish practices that they equated with passivity, they were steeped in the ethos of the Bible, which was at the foundation of their longing for the Land of Israel and also motivated the revival of the Hebrew language. An entire new cultural ethos was created of a new and proud Jew who could farm the land and, if necessary, defend it as in the time of the Bible while developing a progressive society based on the legacy of the Hebrew Prophets. Read more…

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