Religion 21st Century

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Israel Belligerence and Anti-Semitism

Since 1949 Israel has been a uniquely Jewish nation that accepted Jews from many countries. Not all Jews are created equal. The founders of modern Israel, mostly Europeans, preferred similar, educated Jews who were familiar with European lifestyles. Jews that arrived from other areas with very different backgrounds received poor accommodations and few advantages. The AdvaCenter, an Israeli think tank on social equality, documented discrimination and inequalities. In a 2001 Report, Adva described the major social and economic trends in Israel: “The past two decades were marked by significant economic growth. The fruits of this growth, however, were inequitably distributed. A relatively small percentage of Israelis enjoyed a sharp rise in income and standard of living, while the rest benefited far less. Today, the salaries of two-thirds of Israelis fall below the average wage, and two-thirds of young people still fail to graduate high school with diplomas that qualify them for university study.”

The history of Israel is marred by relentless conflict with neighboring states and with the Palestinians who were displaced by immigrating Jews. Marlow summarized the sixty-year history: “Six decades after fighting six Arab armies to realize the ancient dream of a Jewish return to Zion, Israel is still searching for its identity and place in the world, lacking recognized borders and a way of sharing the land with its Arab inhabitants, the Palestinians. This existential struggle plays itself out every day in the Holy Land, whether in the furious construction of Israeli homes on disputed territory, or the touch-and-go attempts to make peace with moderate Palestinians while clashing daily with the militants in the Gaza Strip.”

In an episode of destruction and killing, Israel bombed Gaza, killing civilians. The growing Israeli belligerence raised alarm in many countries. In Egypt, Sheik Eid Abdel Hamid Youssef deplored the Israeli attack on Palestinians in the Gaza strip. He stated: “Muslim brothers God has inflicted the Muslim nation with a people whom God has become angry at and whom he cursed so he made monkeys and pigs out of them. They killed prophets and messengers and sowed corruption on Earth. They are the most evil on Earth.”

Amos OZ wrote: "For 2,000 years, the Jews knew the force of force only in the form of lashes to our own backs. For several decades now, we have been able to wield force ourselves — and this power has, again and again, intoxicated us. In the period before Israel was founded, a large portion of the Jewish population in Palestine, especially members of the extremely nationalist Irgun group, thought that military force could be used to achieve any goal, to drive the British out of the country, and to repel the Arabs who opposed the creation of our state. But Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. Hamas is an idea, a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the desolation and frustration of many Palestinians. No idea has ever been defeated by force — not by siege, not by bombardment, not by being flattened with tank treads and not by marine commandos."

“To defeat an idea, you have to offer a better idea, a more attractive and acceptable one. Thus, the only way for Israel to edge out Hamas would be to quickly reach an agreement with the Palestinians on the establishment of an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as defined by the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. Israel has to sign a peace agreement with the Palestine government in the West Bank — and by doing so, reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip. That latter conflict, in turn, can be resolved only by negotiating with Hamas or, more reasonably, by the integration of Fatah with Hamas...no matter how often Israel deploys its military, police and covert power, force cannot solve the problem that we are not alone in this land, and the Palestinians are not alone in this land. Until Israelis and Palestinians recognize the logical consequences of this simple fact, we will all live in a permanent state of siege — Gaza under an Israeli siege, Israel under an international and Arab siege."

Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace surveyed the countries of the world and assembled a list of the 60 most vulnerable states as of 2007. They ranked 177 states in order of vulnerability to violent internal conflict and societal deterioration, using 12 social, economic, political, and military indicators. Israel became a failed state ranking 58 of 60 because of its inability to integrate its Arab minority, its economic disparities, and the increased fractionalization of its political leaders. FP stated: “Israel owes much of its ranking to conditions in the West Bank, the continued hardships in the territories cannot be divorced from the stability of Israel itself. It shows that the fates of neighbors can be just as critical to the fortunes of otherwise stable states. And that is a reality that should shock no one. “


  • Religion for the 21st Century is available as an eBook download. The book is intended for a well-educated smart reader who is interested in a world view of religious expressions past, present and future. The main theme is that each religious group has its own claims and stories and will tend to reject others. A reader committed to one point of view may not accept the egalitarian review presented here. Innate tendencies are expressed as religions and in the past have created conflicts that hinder progress towards the real and true. The book examines paths for religious renewal in the 21st century.

    The author is Stephen Gislason

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