A year ago Thomas Friedman suggested that we solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict by placing NATO forces as the doorman of the Palestinian state. This suggestion is not of his own making, but that of Mahmoud Abaas, the acting governor of the civic affairs of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. According to Thomas Friedman this is a reasonable and even a very good option, even though everyone will have to abandon their present and accepted way of thinking. In the journalist’s own words: “…Yes, it will require Israel, the Palestinian Authority and America to all agree to do something they’ve long felt was outside their strategic comfort zones…” The writer of this article erroneously assumes that we are dealing with a territorial conflict. And this is also his and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kerry’s huge mistake.
In order to understand in depth what is taking place in the Middle East we must put on the proper glasses. For some time the world has gotten used to ignoring the following basic thinking.
What differentiates between man and other living things?
There are several answers. Man can think and define things, or also, man has free will to choose between different values (for example, the issue of euthanasia: The value of human life as opposed to the value of the whole. A person who has been given the responsibility of making a decision regarding euthanasia – yes or no.) Or alternatively, take a couple who finds themselves at a crossroad decision of aborting a fetus from the woman’s body. Every sensible person should realize that there is a difference between those whom the decision directly affects and their external advisors. There is an additional realm in which man differs from the animals with which he co-exists. And that is the realm of religion.
Our intention is to what is termed professionally, the “Psychology of Religion”. Alfred William James, Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, Erik H. Erikson, Gordon Allport, Adler, and other worthy advisers have dealt with this field. But in the end, everyone, like all good advisers, are coming from another world. The academic world and the religious world are two parallel universes which can’t fathom each other’s world language. It is impossible to negate the religious world, but we find ourselves with “researchers” who are attempting to understand the religious world but who aren’t fully there; they do not possess the full responsibility of those termed religious. They will call them “fanatics”, “extremists” and more derogatory names which alienate these believers from “the normal world”.
In a certain sense perhaps Thomas Friedman and the rest of the aforementioned figures need to abandon their way of thinking. It is crucial that they grasp the reality that we have here an enduring battle between two contrasting and conflicting cultures.
All these people must also understand the Tanach and its meaning. It is no secret that Am Yisrael (the People of Israel) has returned, as a People, to their ancient homeland after 2000 years of exile. It is obviously very difficult for the world to accept this new version of the Jews. And despite this we have come home!