- The economic portion of the Middle East peace plan has been unveiled by Jared Kushner the assistant to President Trump.
- Israeli religious fundamentalists want an Israeli State with just Jews the way it was in Biblical times.
- The Sea of Galilee which is cherished by Jews and Christians is the main reason why Israel needs to make peace with its neighbors.
The economic portion of the Middle East peace plan has been unveiled by Jared Kushner the assistant to President Trump. It calls for an investment of $50 billion to lift up the economy of the Palestinian and neighboring countries. It also entails $5 billion dollars transportation corridor between Gaza and the West Bank. It is called the Peace to Prosperity plan. The plan faces opposition on both sides by religious fundamentalists.
Israeli religious fundamentalists want an Israeli State with just Jews the way it was in Biblical times. The leader of Fundamentalist Zionism was Rabbi Meir Kahane who preached sending the Arabs out of Israel as the only solution to the Middle East conflict. Even today there are members in the government of Netanyahu who want to return to the Halacha Biblical law. They are members of the Right Religious party which received five mandates in the elections. Netanyahu recently appointed one of these outspoken religious right party members to a position as the minister of transportation. The opposition lead by Avigdor Lieberman has spoken out against the idea of returning to make Israel a religious state. He opposed leniencies given to the Orthodox Religious students which would exempt them from draft. He also has been against strict Sabbath laws in cities which were primarily secular including to allow bus transportation on the Sabbath. The Orthodox consider the Sabbath and its observance sacred. Lieberman accepts the Jewish custom of Sabbath as a national law but not sacred like the religious. He cannot accept the idea of a religious Jewish state like in Biblical times. He feels it is not the purpose of the State of Israel to support these extreme religious views which are dangerous for the survival of the State.
Fundamental religious Israelis do not consider that times have changed. They are motivated by their religion which was instituted shortly before the conquest of the Romans and the destruction of the temple. Jews pray three times a day for the coming of the Messiah who will bring all the Jews to Israel and throw out all foreigners to establish a religious Jewish state. Judaism teaches Jews not to use their own intellects and to accept blindly the laws and customs which were instituted by their leaders called the Men of the Great Assembly almost three thousand years ago. Religious Jews are learning each day in their schools and congregations the Talmud which has preserved Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law there is no permission to disagree with the Halacha. Lieberman disagrees; and the majority of Israelis disagree to various degrees.
Reformed and Conservative Judaism do not accept Halacha Jewish law strictly. Reformed already have changed the religion. Conservative have tried to preserve the religion but have accepted change. Meir Kahane and his followers accepted the State of Israel as the beginning of the redemption by the Messiah. These religious right party members and their mentors look toward Israel as the beginning of the Messianic age. They are waiting for King the Messiah to establish a Theocracy like in the past. Blind faith has kept Judaism and the dream of a Jewish State alive until today. It has its purpose but through the ages the minds of factions of religious Jews see clearly that times have changed. In Biblical times it was possible and maybe beneficial to have a Theocracy. Moses gave to the people the law and constitution of the Nation of Israel as a Theocracy with instruction to protect the Jewish nation from assimilation.
Lieberman calls these Jews sarcastically Messiah cultists. They see the messianic era as described by Jewish law as if there are no other alternatives for the Jewish people. Lieberman is not interested in the Messiah as a political figure. He may consider the Messiah as a man whose purpose is to strengthen the world in faith and bring peace to the world. Practically Israel today needs to worry about its survival which means militarily and economically. Religion to Avigdor Lieberman is complicated. There are many religious factions with their own viewpoints, Chassidic, Orthodox, Messianic Nationalists like Meir Kahane, and Anti – Zionists like the Niturei Karta.
Jews live today all over the world in places where there is religious freedom. Lieberman is Zionist and represents primarily Russian immigrants which gave up Russia to come to live in Israel. Russian Jews have added to Israel a new light of professionals doctors, engineers etc living secular but usually respectful to the religious. Some Russian immigrants have become Orthodox Jews. Most Russian immigrants keep Jewish traditions since they came to Israel because they are Jews. There are Russian immigrants who are not Jewish according to Jewish law since in Russia to be a Jew is according to the lineage of the father and in Jewish law according to the mother. This has made a conflict for them when they came to Israel and Lieberman is their representative in the Knesset. It has been a great transition for Jewish people to become part of a secular state. Almost all Jews living in Israel have chosen to join the secular state especially Sephardic Jews who immigrated from Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Persia. The transition was difficult and in the beginning of the state the religious values to many Sephardic Jews were damaged. In the last twenty years the Sephardic Jews have organized to become part of Shas the religious Sephardic national party. They have today their own day schools and seminars for strengthening their Judaism.
What is the difference between today and Biblical times? Why is it impossible to go back to the past? From the standpoint of national security if Israel would become a state like was pictured by Rabbi Meir Kahane they would be in great danger of destruction through the contamination of the Sea of Galilee. The primary water source for Israel is from the Sea of Galilee. In the times of the Bible before modern technology it would have been difficult for the enemies of Israel to contaminate the Sea of Galilee. Today with missiles with chemical warheads it is no challenge for the enemies of Israel to destroy Israel’s major water source. Now that Palestinians and Jews are sharing this water source to contaminate this water source would also kill two million Arabs. The Nation of Jordan is also using the water of the Sea of Galilee.
The Sea of Galilee Waters of Peace
The Sea of Galilee which is cherished by Jews and Christians is the main reason why Israel needs to make peace with its neighbors. As long as Israel shares the Sea of Galilee with the Arabs there can be peace. The Arabs which want to wipe Israel off the map is the main problem. Jordan and Israel have good relations because of the Sea of Galilee. Lieberman knows Israel’s first concern is security. The religious have an idea to return to a Biblical theocracy and throw all the Arabs out of the country which is a danger. It is a danger to make peace with Arabs that do not respect or recognize the state of Israel. Lieberman is practical like most Russians. They are not interested in the Messiah. Some say the Messiah has already come. Some say that there are two messiahs of truth. Messiah is a confusing topic. Survival is on the Russian mind and Lieberman is their representative.
Another way in which times have changed and it is impossible to turn back the clock is that after the destruction of the temple came into the world new prophets to establish Christianity and Islam. The Biblical State was a one religion nation without freedom of religion. In the Biblical state was suppressed other ideologies connected to Monotheism revealed at Mount Sinai. When the Biblical State fell these ideologies which are other ways of spirituality appeared in the world. To claim that there is only one religion Judaism like is written in Halacha Jewish law has been refuted even in Judaism by the Jewish prophets and in the last eight hundred years the Zohar, the book of Splendor. Jews and gentiles the children of Adam have their own inheritances connected to Mount Sinai and the Bible.
Peace is possible between Jews, arabs, and gentiles to live together in the land of Israel. If not now later. There is no way for Israel to exist without peace. Israel has to remain a democracy and a home for Jews and Arabs. Netanyahu speaks to Christians united for Israel 2012: