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Vayeitzei: The Root of Arab Rage

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Arab Rage

The Case Against a Palestinian State

With a so-called “cease-fire” between Israel and Hamas, one need not be a skeptic to wonder what this “cease-fire” actually means, and who it applies to. Hamas has been raining missiles indiscriminately on cities across Israel, terrorizing millions. Israel simply reacted as any country would. And now, a cease fire is declared?! Who is meant to cease-fire? The perpetrators or the defenders? And a cease-fire to what end? Did Israel succeed in eliminating the threat?

Does anyone, on any side of the aisle, truly believe that this will hold, and that our problems are resolved?

The only way to understand this latest conflagration is to see it as a series of events that have been going on for over sixty years and perhaps longer — fires that have flared up again and again in a highly combustible environment. At best, Israel has been successful in putting out many of these fires, but never has it eliminated the underlying cause, nor has it changed the volatile ground that breeds and feeds the ongoing threat.

The mighty Israeli military — and the highly acclaimed Jewish intelligence (yiddish sechel) — has thus been rendered into being nothing more than… glorified “fire fighters,” adept at extinguishing blazes, but not at solving the root of the problem: the factors that cause these blazes to ignite in the first place.

Beyond the short-term deterrents, what then is the bigger picture, and what can be done to resolve this at the source once and for all?

*

Let us begin with the big question: What lies behind Arab rage against Israel? Compared to the millions of Muslims slaughtered by other Muslims in Sudan, Syria, Iraq and other countries, Palestinian deaths in Israel are relatively few. Yet the millions massacred and millions more repressed does not evoke Arab outrage as do the events in Israel. Why the double standard? Some argue that this double standard in the Middle East is due to the fact that Arab countries are shame-based societies, and Israeli repression of Arabs is seen not just as brutal, but also as humiliating.

They cite Arabs sating that, “Israel is a colonial outpost and that as a result while Israeli Arabs may have ballots and free speech, they have no dignity. The Israeli occupation represents a total humiliation of all the Arab regimes. It’s a continuous reminder of the weakness of the Arabs as people, of their society and political system, as well as an indication of the impotence and corruption of their regimes.”

Arab humiliation seems to have become a mainstay since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The Arab world can simply not get over their lost pride as a people who once ruled and represented the epitome of civilization, and now are relegated to Third World status. Israel and America represent for the Arab world the source of this humiliation – so the argument goes.

Many other speculations are offered to explain Arab rage and frenzy against Israel and the West.

Understanding the underlying causes for Arab sentiments is not academic; it is the only way to get to the bottom of the issues. Understanding their mentality is the true key to help provide us with a meaningful strategy. We can never devise a workable plan as long as we focus on the superficial causes, and do not understand the driving force of our adversary. Does the Arab world just want justice for the Palestinians? Equal rights (rights they do not have under any Arab ruler)? Some land to live peacefully? Or perhaps they want something more that they simply are not telling us?

I submit that the true reason and core root of Arab anger is religious and not political.

The Arab world’s opposition to Israel is not due to any Israeli actions, but rather to the very existence of the Land of Israel and Jewish control over the land. This control is a perpetual thorn in their side, and the root cause for their “shame” and humiliation.

Why? Because Muslims fundamentally believe that Israel’s existence – and Jewish control over Israel – in what they consider to be their ‘conquered land,’ is a desecration of their religious vision.

This is the reason why Muslims have always built mosques on the sacred land of Jews and Christians (e.g. the Temple Mount, Bethlehem) to demonstrate their absolute belief that Muslim control over these lands fulfills and realizes the Divine will.

This religious belief is the true cause for the rage of the Arab/Muslim world against Israel. It is not about human rights, Palestinian sovereignty, Arab dignity, oil, money, harems, or any other issue. No amount of land return, no concessions will satisfy them – other than the elimination of Jewish control in Israel.

As uncomfortable as it may be, we will never be able to resolve the issues until we realize that this is a religious war not a political one.

Many of us would like to conveniently believe that the issues are political ones, because that would make the situation a lot more manageable and the problem a lot simpler. We know how to deal with political challenges. But if this is a religious war, we simply do not have the tools, experience or interest to fight such a war.

Our existing modalities are secular ones. Our political systems and governmental institutions have been built with secular goals in mind, without much consideration to spiritual and religious values, which we have relegated to the private sector. We therefore do not see the world in context of religious and spiritual vision. That’s why we cannot fathom or understand the rage of the Arab world today.

And this is why a Palestinian state is not possible, and for that matter not doable. A state will never satisfy the Arab world. They will simply see it as a step in the direction of their re-conquest of Israel. They do not want a state for political reasons, but for religious ones. That is the key to the underlying issues. As much as we wish to make the Arafats of the world our “partners in peace,” we must realize that our secular notions of peace are not part of their agenda at all.

But what lies beneath and behind – what fuels – this Arab rage and passion? To understand this we need to enter into the secret world of religious passion.

Balance between the sacred and the mundane is a central theme in the Torah and in Jewish literature. We read time and again about passionate souls who are challenged to find balance between transcedence and existence. We are clearly instructed to live holy lives. “Be holy, because I, your G-d, am holy.” But how do we do that in a deeply secular and mundane world, without annihilating our existing institutions and infrastructures?

Sanctifying yourself in the material world is no simple feat. Spirit and matter are dichotomous. Our physical existence consumes us so that it leaves little room (space and time) for spirituality. Our struggle for survival – eating, sleeping, work, shelter – hampers our search for transcendence, the pursuit of our calling and higher purpose. Material life lends itself to corruption, which explains why the scouts sent by Moses to Israel returned with a negative report, arguing that Israel is a “land that consumes its inhabitants.” Who among us does not have the struggle between our own personal higher standards and the temptation to conform to society’s standards, between home and career, between focusing on our transcendental needs when we are so preoccupied with our material ones?

The challenge of creating harmony between body and soul is twofold. When we are immersed in our daily needs it is increasingly difficult to access our souls. When we are inspired by a transcendental experience, we find it difficult to reenter regular life. It seems as if the extraordinary and the ordinary are mutually exclusive, like two different worlds that can never entirely converge.

How often do we find someone caught up in spiritual ecstasy that they cannot return intact? Being burned out by the fire of a passionate high, unable to reenter ordinary life? Case in point the famous Talmudic story of the ‘four who entered the garden,’ three unable to return unharmed. This explains why some mystics have chosen the ascetic path, separating themselves from regular life, so that they can pursue the life of the spirit.

In the book of Leviticus we read how Nadav and Avihu succumbed to this temptation. In their great passion and love for the Divine, they entered the Holy of Holies, and they… ‘burned out’ and could not return. The Torah then proceeds to define the necessary guidelines on how to enter holiness and how to internalize and integrate the experience and not self-destruct.

Of course this fear of being spiritually ‘burned out’ can lead one to argue the merit of the exact opposite position: We should just immerse ourselves in our material lives and forget about our spiritual dreams and fantasies. The argument goes: In our mundane world it is simply naïve to live a life of spiritual and ethical integrity. If we do embrace the sublime, we stand the great risk of ‘burn out’ and being unable to cope with ordinary life. Why take the risk, better to just resign ourselves to a mundane life, as close as we possible can to ‘animal bliss.’

But that type of resignation is a cop-out. Can we be healthy human beings if we repress our soul’s restless thirst for transcendence? Indeed, we are obligated to sanctify our lives. And this precisely is life’s challenge: To fuse both worlds – matter and spirit, to spiritualize our material existence. This requires a delicate balance – a delicate dance – to synthesize both experiences, without one annihilating the other.

What is sanctity? Sanctity is recognizing that that every aspect of your life is not self contained but meant to become a channel for a Higher presence. Kedusha (holiness) is bittul (see Tanya chapter 6), suspension of self that allows the Divine to enter. Selfishness and narcissism does not allow anything else in. “Where is G-d?” the future Rebbe of Kotzk was once asked as a child. He replied: “Wherever you let Him in.”

The command “be holy” instructs us to sanctify all aspects of existence – time, space and human. We must sanctify our personal behavior, through kindness and love. Then we sanctify time – we realize the preciousness of each moment and fill it with meaningful and Divine activities. Shabbat and the holidays are sacred days. Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the year, the Holy of Holies – is the epitome of time sanctification, serving as the source of sanctity for all days of the year.

Finally we sanctify space, the homes, land and countries in which we live. The Holy Land of Israel is the epitome of space sanctification, serving as the source of sanctity that spread to the entire globe. [This is one reason why we pray facing the East – Israel, Jerusalem, the Temple Mount].

Jerusalem – especially the Temple Mount and specifically the Holy of Holies on the Mount – is the center and nucleus of Holiness on Earth. No wonder everyone always wanted to control Jerusalem. Not just today but throughout history. How many battles have been waged over that holy real estate?

So, Jewish control of the Holy Land and particularly of the Holy of Holies is no small matter. Arab rage against Israel may have many ostensible causes. But at its core root, it stems from the Holy of Holies – from the need and will to control that vital region. As long as Jews control it, they feel utterly weak.

The Talmud gives us a profound psychological insight. At times your unconscious – your mazal – may sense something that causes a strong physical reaction. The holiness of Israel and Jerusalem is the cause for the profound enmity of the Arab world, even if there are other perceived causes and not everyone may be conscious of the true cause.

But to devise a successful strategy requires a true diagnosis of the problem. And sometimes (more often than not) the truth is something no one wants to hear or acknowledge. The war against Israel is rooted in religious belief (albeit distorted). And this is very difficult for us to accept. Why? There are many reasons. One compelling reason is this: After all, our modern secular world still lingers in the long shadow of the war between science and religion, a war many thought was won long ago by science and secularism. Suddenly religion comes back on the scene, and is threatening not just the Middle East but New York and Washington – mighty secular America.

That is too much to absorb in one shot. That’s why people are in such shock. We need to get accustomed to this new reality — a religious global war being fought, a war that will determine what G-d really wants of us, a war that will define and crystallize once and for all what is true Islam, what is true Christianity and what is true Judaism. We need to learn to reintroduce a long forgotten G-d into our lives, to reacquaint ourselves with G-d after a long hiatus, fueled by prosperity and its inevitable complacency and spiritual lethargy.

As a Jew, I know that our role is to use every platform available to us today to advocate the universal message of Torah – what Abraham taught to all his children, how G-d wants all of us to live, Jew, Muslim, Christian and all people.

The Torah’s essential message is that we can and we must sanctify the material world. We need to integrate the sacred with the mundane. One extreme or the other is simply not acceptable: Violent passion – even in the name of G-d – is destructive and therefore un-G-dly. Too much untempered chesed (Ishmael) annihilates the universe. Conversely, overabundant gevurah (Esau) and immersion in the material, or its antithesis, radical disassociation with the physical (as in celibacy), is equally destructive.

The holiness of Eretz Yisroel is complete when it creates harmony between the physical land (Eretz) and the Divine (Yisroel, meaning “You have battled with the Divine and with man and you have prevailed”).

We are now experiencing perhaps the greatest ‘market correction’ in history – in defining the truth of the world’s religions; a reality check of the vastest proportions – the final battle – and ultimate reconciliation – between the sublime and the secular, between spirit and matter.

Truth or consequences is not a game today; it has never been so apparent. The consequences of living a lie are becoming more obvious by the day. Lies and deception work well in shadows, where is difficult to discern true from false. But as the dawn breaks and we can begin to clearly see the price we pay for our falsities, the truth emerges in direct proportion to the exposed lies.

Are we really surprised that Hamas is declaring victory after the so-called “cease-fire” and calling for a third intifida?

Sometimes the most obvious truths are not stated and acknowledged because we fear the unknown. But then when we do acknowledge them we begin to realize that we have the power to face the challenge.

Let us hope and pray that we do not have to pay with any more lives to realize the truth of our situation and act accordingly.

Image by: Israel Defense Forces from Israel (Palestinian Rioters in El-Arrub) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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21 Comments
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Paul Corcoran
1 year ago

As a secular person who has no need for a crutch, in the shape of religion, to lean on to get me through my life I would suggest that the aftermath of the 6 Day War in 1967 is the reason for your continued troubles in the West Bank and Gaza. Whilst you continue with the same policies then the Palestinians will continue with theirs of suicide bombings etc. And of course you will continue with your illusion of peace yet have airport style security even when you just go shopping to your local Mall. Is that what you really want for your children’s children.

Louisa Thomas
4 years ago

I agree with the rabbi, but doesn’t the origin of the problem begin much earlier, between the two sons of Abraham, one the legitimate son of Sarah and the other the illegitimate son of her handmaiden Hagar? Sarah’s descendants became the Jews and Hagar’s the Arabs, and they were never at peace with each other. This is what I was taught; do others agree that this view is based on the

Linda Levee Samuels
7 years ago

Rabbi Jacobsons insight is great, but not new. Any Jew who has learned Torah has long understood the role that the sacred plays in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. What is less obvious is the claim of Islam to ever increasing pacels of land. The Moslem sacred claim to land most likely stems from its roots in the desert, where food supply is limited. Eretz Yisroel sits on some of the most fertile land in the Mideast; of course the Moslems want every bit of it.

Likewise, Christianity rapidly expanded from the Mideast to the fertile plains of Western Europe. No lack of productive land there! As Christian adherents became too numerous for the lands of Europe, they began the search for a new world. I believe such is the basis for Manifest Destiny.

Our Torah teaches us how to live on our land and maximize its productivity. Thus we too honor the sacredness of our land. It is no surprise that the word for war, milchamah, finds its roots in lechem, the word for bread. Every holy war waged through the ages had to do with feeding hungry populations.

The bottom line is that, as our Torah explains over and over again, the spiritual and the material are inextricably linked. Yes, Arab pride plays a major role in the conflict with Israel. However, until such time as Arab leaders feel capable of filling the stomachs of their constituents, war will continue.

Mark Feffer
7 years ago

Rabbi Jacobson. You asked recently for any ideas about solving the Arab-Israel impasse.

Of course it seems to be mostly a Divine solution needed.

However I encapsulate current Israeli politics thusly: The Left: Make peace and prosperity and harmony will ensue.
The Right: Not if they kill us first.

Shalom from Yerushalaim. Mark

Hillel
7 years ago

Dear Rabbi and fellow readers
I am in agreement of your analysis.
The question is: What to do with your realization that it is religion and not politics that motivates uncompromising Islamist violence?
The answer seems to have multiple levels:
Practically –
to stop pacifying and placating Islamic fanatics. Such behavior is read by them as fear, which triggers more attacks.
Socially –
To educate our clueless western liberal leftists, especially the young generations being (mis)educated at universities today, where subjects such as truth, good and evil and justice are treated cynically as being without real meaning. (but let those professors have their paychecks ducked – and theyll sing a very different tune in court demanding their money!)
Religiously –
Also to take a hard look at western permissive ethical void, and start a rational-religious (no oxymoron!) discussion in the west.
And MOST URGENTLY: Have a real rational-religious discussion – especially with Muslims – about the simple fact that since they believe (as most of the world does) that G-d Almighty is the parent of all of us, and since G-ds sustaining us proves G-ds love for each of us (albeit not necessarily love for each of our deeds) – it logically follows that like loving G-d CONTRADICTS doing harm to ANY of G-ds children.
And the places in scripture where G-d commands killing are specific, hence proving that for all other cases, without G-ds direct and open command in a SPECIFIC situation – no one has the right to do so, let alone in G-ds name. Scripture must be read in light of the above – that G-d wishes for the best to all, and that dishonoring the gift of life means dishonoring the gifts Giver.

Neil Shore
7 years ago

I would like to see an additional article that addresses the act accordingly of Let us hope and pray that we do not ….

Im at a loss as to how we address the fanatical religious hatred of the Jews and Israel by Muslim Arabs.

Esther Sarah Evans
7 years ago

bH
Basically this is correct. The conflict is a religious one, but it has been grossly corrupted by opportunists.
Just as we have our corruption, so they have theirs, and it became very obvious under Husseini who learned from Hitler, yemach shemo, even on location.
Already then the US was playing the ball into their court – that of Hitler, yemach shemo, and them – by arming Hitler, yemach shemo – by refusing, with full knowledge of what was going on there with IBM going in and out, to bomb the rails leading to Auschwitz. While both the US and England felt they were playing one off against the other – the Moslems against us – corrupt elements from amongst them, the terrorists were already slowly but surely taking over. The US government is now a tool of the terrorists, and the UK government is also, even if it is toned down to let the world think things are normal by allowing the British monarchy to exist.
In the US, the melting pots so hot now that the frogs can scarcely jump out.
Aside from the terrorist element against us and others, there is the internal terrorist element that has perverted Islam into something that looks like a Middle-Eastern KGB.
Furthermore, and more to your point, yes, the world take-over element is built into the Koran too, but co-existence with us is possible if both sides recognize G-d – however we call HIM and act according to HIS orders. Thats where your point comes in, and yes, its feasible, but the war against our Yetzer hara is much harder it seems than with the terrorists even. When I suggested even trying to keep Shabbat once or twice as a means of trying to help, this was not received – even for the hell of it. Now, for the heaven of it and for the only cease-fire we can ever, ever, ever win I suggest Tshuva on behalf of all of us, an effort to behave with Chen vaChesed veRachamim beEyney HASHEM uveyney kol Roeynu and Shmiras Shabbos. None of that costs any more than we are paying now (and what we spend on Shabbos we get back). Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose? but everything to gain!
Lets use our democratic freedom while it still exists, even if only on paper, and go for it – this year already in YERUSHALAYIM!!!

Elin Levina
7 years ago

As a Jew, I know that our role is to use every platform available to us today to advocate the universal message of Torah – what Abraham taught to all his children, how G-d wants all of us to live, Jew, Muslim, Christian and all people.

The Torah commands that only men serve in the Israeli army, so if we want to return to our roots, we must follow the Torah strictly. But as long as women serve in the Israeli army while most orthodox men wriggle out of serving in the Israeli army and hide behind the womens backs and thus demonstrate to G-d and to everyone that they do not care about the Holy Land, they do not want to defend it, they do not love it – G-d will act accordingly and send Arabs to pester the Jews. The root cause is not the Arabs, but us.

Deborah
7 years ago

I find your article to be deeply distressing and frustrating. Perhaps I do not understand, but if your goal is to get us to understand the root cause of this hatred from the arabs- and I ask you to consider that there is hatred on both sides, which neither side should be proud of- then WHAT is the solution? You say the solution is not providing the palestinian people with a state because it only opens the door to further demands. Perhaps we speak with different types of people, but my Palestinian and Israeli friends couldnt give a d-mn, pardon my language, about intifadas and supremacy of one people. They want to lead normal lives! Israelis want to stop hearing the rocket fire and the iron dome, and palestinians want to stop feeling like they are outcasts and parasites! While Netanyahu and Hamas and the political and religious extremists on both sides of this issue lob words and weapons of hatred- MOST people in the land of Israel and its neighbors wish for peace. I find it incredibly troubling that your article would paint an entire people by the actions of their extremists- that is like painting America by the actions of the Tea Party, G-d forbid. You do neither Jews nor arabs favors by painting the latter as of a kind -they are, as are all people, complicated humans, most of whom wish to live their lives peacefully, but whose agenda is currently being dictated by people with weapons in power.

Mireille Perrot
7 years ago

I am in total agreement. But we cannot forget that even before the fall of the Ottoman empire, in the Middle Age when the Crusaders defeated the Sarazins. A new Muslim Order the Muslim Brotherhood has sworn that they will never stop their fight until they have a capital in every part of the world. We must look at what is happening under our noses, no one seems to remember this part of history. Many Arab/Muslim citizens all over Europe, here in the USA, in Asia etc….. Now the Brotherhood is involved and Heading the government in Egypt, the Brotherhood was also involved in Libya, these are two countries where their influence is obvious.

Yes, pride is involved and used to infused religious believes and the passion to rise again as a great civilization in the new world.

But the brain washing of the youth, particularly in Gaza, is using the political situation of the population but putting all the blame on Israel for the purposeful aim to eradicate Israel. Arafat was not a peace man, Arafat has been a parasate that has lived on profiting, exploiting the misery of his people!!! This Brain washing is based on lies.

I do not believe that Hashem will let an erroneous teaching/brain washing of a population to win over Tzedakah. We all Jews need to address this injustice, speak to regular people in order to bring awareness. We need also to realize that the major Western powers has also a very evil political interests to have both populations to be antagonistic towards each other. During the Ottoman empire both populations were coabiting in harmony with one another. Thee politic of the British Empire was: Divine the populations in order to rule over them. Britain has done it in India, now divided into two countries: India and Pakistan, the same has happened in the MIddle East. Britain has given faulse hope to the Arab and the Jews (Balfour declaration) and other empty promises.

At the time of the creation of the State of Israel, if the Western powers wanted truly to make sure that the divisions of Palestine would bring a peaceful settlement, they all in concert would have made sure that the four other Palestinian states (Lebanon, Syria, Jordania and Iraq) would agree to absorbe the Palestinian population that was leaving the New State of Israel. This was obviously ommitted in order to have always a fire of discord in the Middle East, and consequently an open door for trading arms, military vehicles etc….to the two parties involved. The Arab World was certainly more demanding military artillery.

So though on the basis, indeed the situation has a religious back ground, it also uses political lies, and politically the Western powers need also to address their participation to infuse the conflict out of their political greed the heavy arm industry must be working at its fullest!
Thanks for raising this very important subject.
Mireille

jake
7 years ago

I think you have an insighful knowledge of Jewish concepts regarding such notions as bittul (self-annulment), and the need for harmony between Hesed and Gevurah. But my problem is how you give a generalized view of Islam, with no regard to the fact that such nuances, and comparable insights exist within Islamic discourse. I think that if such sweeping generalizations were made about Judaism, such as cliches about the Book of Joshua being a genocidal minded textbook, you would react by explaining that one must avoid generalizing. One must know, therefore learn, these sacred Writings with seriousness, to discover human treasures such as Chasidic thought, within these holy traditions. Hillel said it – Confucius too!- What is hateful unto you, do not do to your fellow…Now go learn!! Meaning, in our dialogue with and about other faiths, the best is to avoid speaking about someone with criteria lower than the ones you would expect for yourself. Are you touchy about your message being confused with another one? Is The Baal Shem Tovs message to be confused with the one of his Jewish opponents? What do people, non-Jews included, need to know to understand the difference? Should one let confusion run, because uneducated people dont make the difference, and thereby cloud the issues? If one reads Rumi, one can discover a treasure which in the Islamic dimension, compares to Chasidut in Judaism. Why not quote Islam from there? If your discourse to address the general public uses Chasidut, in speaking for Judaism, why not use Rumi in speaking for Islam? By the way, Rumi says As for I, I cannot be called a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. I am just a Breath. Dont you find that beautiful, R. Jacobson? Could we start the conversation from there? Hillel again Be of the students of Aaron, lover of Peace and Pursuer of Peace. What is the difference between loving peace and pursuing it? I submit that Hillel makes the case for knowledge being higher than feelings. You must not only love peace for the feeling it gives, but the knowledge it demands. You must know the others deeply to love them deeply. You must seek knowledhe as the tool of peace, thats what pursuing Peace means to me. We dont love people by ignoring them. To make people feel peaceful toward Jews and Judaism, you provide them with pearls of knowledge from your tradition.
You enhance Peace by knowledge. To extend Peace to others, the same must be done, you must show them you know them, you are more interested in them, than the superficial generic image suggests.
Then you will be believable. And then we can see bittul in action.

David
7 years ago

This was a rather interesting article. I suspect that there are many reasons for the Arab rage that we see, and this concept of shame seems quite plausible. Its also something that we dont often hear about.

Like Marc (commenter below), I was hoping to see a suggested solution. I found Marks suggestions to be rather good, although I disagree with him that Islam is not a religion.

Mark suggested that we undermine Islam by helping them to attain freedom for women. I dont necessarily see this as undermining Islam, but rather bringing it into the modern world. It is clear that they are stuck in another time; by one example, I have seen a number of Islamic commenters remarking that Jews view themselves as the Chosen Ones and that every non-Jews life is comparable to that of an animal. Its undeniable that the Jews being G-ds chosen people is recorded in our religious documents, but how many of us go about our days feeling that we are superior to every non-Jew around us? I have never met anyone who has such thoughts! Perhaps back in biblical times the accusations of feeling racially superior would have been valid (I cant say for certain), but it is an absolutely ridiculous accusation to throw around today. Yet they stir themselves into a frenzy with such thoughts.

How do we bring Islam into the modern world? Education, treating women as equals, and tolerance for others and other ways of life are traits that define modern societies and modern religions. If the members of these rage-filled societies began to take up those values, would they still be so willing to begin conflicts? Would they let go of their anger and work toward bettering their societies? I think so, but it is not the case that these societies are filled with primitive savages. Just look at Dr. Morsy, Egypts current president – he is a highly educated man, having earned his Ph.D from an American university, and yet he still aligns himself with an extremist religious organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. Throwing money at these societies in the hopes that they will educate everyone is not viable, either.

I think that one of two events needs to occur in order for these societies to become open enough to accepting changes in perception of women and education:

1) A charismatic leader (or set of leaders) could do wonders. This could be either a political or a religious leader – someone who would reject the concept of jihad, and would focus instead on improving the lives of their people through peaceful, self-focused means. The problem here is that these people would be vulnerable; the current leaders who preach violence are clearly not above killing their own if they feel that their power is threatened.

2) The condition of their societies deteriorates (this is something that we may see when the world eventually shifts away from being so heavily dependent on oil). Suffering tends to evoke change. If they are unhappy enough, the people may reject the leaders who preach the same old course of violence and war, and instead adopt some of the ways of the more prosperous societies in the world. Of course, there is also the chance that the people would become even more extreme in their violence. Yet this outcome may also lead to a resolution by forcing the armed conflicts to reach levels that are far beyond what we have seen over the past years, although there would be much more suffering and strife in the process.

Dr. Albert E. Lyngzeidetson
7 years ago

Excellent over view of the problem. I just wanted to add a couple of points:
1. I cant help but suspect that the rage is perpetuated, ruled, and maintained by extremist Arab elements who use these consequences as a means to secure their positions in the power-politics such as Hamas. Furthermore, the many Arab young men who are sent to slaughter as homicide bombers often come from decrepit, poverty stricken circumstances, where the fans of hatred are easily fanned by the rhetoric that claims that without the Israeli occupation and oppression their lives would be prosperous and idyllic.
2. Israel has repeatedly reacted with the utmost self-restraint, resorting to military force only when its continued existence was. In the greatest of perile. Think about it: were Israel to react with the same modus operandi as the US has since 9/11, then by now the IDF would have occupied Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

ruth housman
7 years ago

You are right, this is a religious war, and all that you state here is so eloquently true but I also do perceive that the split between ordinary and extraordinary is an illusion, because the ordinary exists within the extraordinary, and I have been doing IT with words for a long time. In fact, I just got an email from a woman who takes the name tSofi, who had a photo exhibit with the title the ordinary within the extraordinary and she felt the depths of what I had to say about her photography.

So its a story that is coincident. With yours.

I believe there are two sides here, and I am coming in the side door in saying I understand both sides, simutaneously, in a deep way, and this also goes back to the story of Ishmael and Abraham, and the rights of passage. A story also of Hagar who became haggard in that she bore a son, and was then so abandoned. Its an ancient story and in the Middle East there is a passion of remembrance, and a passion of wanting to feel included, because this is also an ancient tribal feud, that involves G_d and a story only G_d could have, wrritten.

I see the only viable solution as the opening of borders, and the inclusion of Arabs as boarders, meaning the rest of the Arab world must get into the ACT, as in Egypt. As in, the greening of parts of the desert, in ecologically sound ways, as in the enlargement of a country now only the size of a postage stamp, that everyone may be included, and I see a solution that involves Solution itself. A One State solution, but first a massive opening of consciousness to allow this to happen, and for me, to go, aloud.

Jacob Slater
7 years ago

Right after 9/11 G.W. Bush gave a speech to the nation where he declared war on terror. At the time M. Feiglin wrote an article saying that Bushs declaration was doomed to failure because he did not recognize the religious nature of this war. Your words now, and his then, are so accurate. It is clear that only if we fight G-ds war not necessarily with destructive weapons but with constructive ones, will be victorious with the coming of Moshiach.

Mark
7 years ago

I enjoyed you article The Root of Arab Rage and appreciate very much the well thought out discussion about the religious overtones of this conflict. I agree also with the premise that the Arab world experiences shame about their perceived status in the world. I also think you are right on about Jerusalem being the center of holiness however we diverge when you start speaking about the religious prerogatives of the Muslim faith.

Islam although espousing a belief in one G-d was primarily setup as a political organization to unify the disparate Arab states at the time. The Koran itself contains revelatory material but it primary purpose is to reign in a people with political adjuncts requiring submission to a creed rather than a Holy perspective.

Their jihad while based on a calling from above is nothing more than a politically expedient directive meant to achieve not a higher purpose but rather the material conquest for material gain very much in this world.

You right in that this is an Arab and not a Palestinian issue simply because they who are called Palestinian are those who were rejected by the Arab world. The Arab support of Palestine is the support for the reconquest of Jerusalem and the Jewish state but not for any religious purpose or higher calling but basely because of a need to assert their ascendancy.

It is ironic that a fundamentally based political institution like Islam cannot achieve a political solution but like many right wing politics they have become so carried away but their own rhetoric that they cannot help but be myopic in their world view.

As with most political organizations the leaders always stand to benefit much more than those who are the professed followers. This is apparent in every Arab country where due to the inherent inequality of their political system vis a vis Islam they are forced to maintain a system of haves and have nots.

The so called Arab spring is a temporary redistribution of power that will always devolve into the self interests of those who remain in charge. Back of these upheavals Islam stands ready to take charge in its usual repressive way.

We are dealing with Amalek…he will hit us when we are down, he will lie in wait for us, he will feed us untruth, sacrifice his children, and attempt to destroy us altogether.

The answer is to undermine Islam politically with freedom for women…freedom for the oppressed-the poor. In addition to self defense and offense with material weapons we have to fuel the seeds of political discontent within the gestalt of Islam itself undermining its very core beliefs. The first step in this process is to not accept Islam as a religion but rather a political organization and see it crumbling from within.

When Moshe held up his hands to defeat Amalek he was holding up the truth to iniquity.

In the Tikkunei Zohar Haqdamah Daf 9 there is a discussion of Tefillin and its significance to the divine holy names and in terms of the evil inclination.

It says paraphrasing that we are to bind the evil inclination and then slaughter it.

In the case of Islam we have to hold fast to the truth of Torah and stop comparing Islam to Judaism since they are not moral equivalents. This is the argument that has to be made in our hearts. We cannot accept even as talking points the idea that this is one religion against another.

Secondly once Islam is stripped of her moral equivalence it must be slaughtered in that we can then take it apart for the political ideology that it really is subjugating its people with the rhetoric of the convenient for the sake of political and material gain

Marc
7 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree with your diagnosis for the root of the arab intolerance of the existence of Israel and the failure of modern society to be able to open its eyes and see the truth. However, in most cases, at least in medicine, once a diagnosis is established, then a cure may be sought. You do not present any compelling argument here to resolve the disease. If anything, your words, although enlightening in my eyes, adds fuel to the fire that religious passion is the cause for the worlds unrest and problems, and not its cure. This is why, perhaps, so many throughout the world refuse to accept the notion that you (and I) support religious intolerance as the root of Arab rage, but the rest of the world turns a blind eye to the reality.

Daphne
7 years ago

Arabs being shame based is so interesting. How do you fight a battle when it is based on shame?

mgoldberg
7 years ago

The erudition, the quiet yet assuredly meaningful approach, while engaging, doesnt actually approach where the rage arises. I mean specifically, from where it arises. And that answer is what is avoided, most studiously. That answer is … Mohammad. And this prophet who spoke no prophecies, who after 13 yrs as a failed religious leader, had a revelation to submit all, all the unbelievers. And that he did. And with no more ethics, no more morality than of a motivated, serial killer. This of course, would no doubt be extremely inciting to his adherents who were taught that there was never to be any question of any of his theology by any of them, let alone by the dirty unbelievers, who were to be slaughtered and terrorized as he concluded. I have been made victorious thru terror, wrote Mohammad. And he said that in a thousand more ways, eliminating any and all who stood in any way in his path.
Of course, we cling to general notions of religion, monotheism, and allow those who demean us in every way imaginable to besmirch everything that makes us a people, a nation, even human. We observe rules that allow none of that in return.
In short, the golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you- actually, do not do unto all others as you would not have them do to you, which is the jewish gift from G-d almighty to us, and copied by almost every other religion in the world since, is not followed by one religion today. And that is Islam.
Islam presents everything as believers vs unbelievers.
So… to the point, what is the source of arab rage. Since no arab left arabia to conquer, nor submit anyone outside of arabia, until Mohammad came alone, failed as a preacher, and then… got the revelation to submit all others, everywhere, for all time, we have our source. Of course saying this would
make muslims violent, rage, murder. So does, for that matter- anything- anything at all that questions anything that says they, he, are not whatever he, they say. It starts with Mohammad. And is for always, and everywhere, unchangeable.

Roxanne Perri
7 years ago

I enjoyed the article the Root of Arab Rage and found it very valuable. It is true that we live in an upside down world where truth looks like falsehood and falsehood looks like truth. Thank you Rabbi Simon Jacobson for enlightening us the the real root of the Arab rage is because of the Arab denial of our existence and their true desire to annihilate us.

Roxanne Perri
7 years ago

I appreciate the article The Root of Arab Rage especially in light of the cease fire. It never stops to amaze me how the world watches us, stops us, blames us and turns a blind eye on Israel just when we are strong enough to protect, defend and fight back. In this world truth looks like falsehood and falsehood passes for truth. With rampant immorality and leaving G-d out of our lives, it is any wonder we are in such turmoil Thank you Rabbi Simon Jacobson for another wise wording.