The peace move­ment need­sre­li­gion’swis­dom

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

that Rabbi Yosef un­der­stood the Jews’ his­toric con­nec­tion to cer­tain sites in the West Bank. Sig­nif­i­cantly, he also be­lieved that Is­raeli set­tle­ments were not the pri­or­ity if main­tain­ing them put the lives of Jews and Pales­tini­ans at risk.

By marginal­is­ing re­li­gious Jews from the peace process, by as­sum­ing their cen­tre of grav­ity lies to the right, the Is­raeli pro-peace move- ment loses hun­dreds of thou­sands of po­ten­tial supporters. It loses peo­ple for whom land swaps in ex­change for peace might rep­re­sent more than Re­alpoli­tik, but a re­li­gious im­per­a­tive. With their ex­tra­or­di­nary growth rates — half of world Jewry by 2050 — ul­tra­Ortho­dox Jews in par­tic­u­lar are marginalised at our peril.

Yosef was not alone. Ortho­dox rabbi, Michael Mel­chior, a for­mer mem­ber of the Knes­set and cur­rent chief rabbi of Nor­way, who also spoke at this con­fer­ence, be­lieves land swaps are a ha­lachic im­per­a­tive. He com­pared the peace process to “driv­ing a car into a cul de sac again and again.” Mel­chior be­longed to the left-wing re­li­gious Zion­ist po­lit­i­cal party, Meimad (an acro­nym mean­ing: “Jewish state, Unity: The peace process needs to hear voices out­side of pol­i­tics

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