Israel-Palestine: The Promised Land
In my first two posts about the Israel-Palestine conflict, I talked about how the land is plagued with a seemingly unfixable struggle between different groups of people and how there is suffering on each side (Essay 1 Essay 2).The two most plausible solutions, the two-state and one-state plans, still have many problems and would inevitably leave some groups unhappy. What does the future hold for the land of Israel? Are the people bound to fight each other until there is only one side remaining? Is there anything we can do to stop the killing and hate? Up to this point, I have attempted to leave my personal beliefs aside, but I feel I can do this no longer; I am going to share how I view what is happening. I believe that there is a fate in store for the land that is out of our control, but I also believe we have a choice in how this fate comes to be.
I want to be as transparent as possible so let me start off by making a few things clear about what I believe. I have come to believe that the Tanach, commonly referred to as the Old Testament, and the New Testament writings are divinely inspired. I believe that they have constantly been accurate in predicting future events and revealing the Creator’s plan for Israel.
That being said, because of my belief in the scriptures, I am a Zionist, but only in the original definition of the word and not the current which holds that one must completely support the State of Israel. Zionism originally meant the belief in the “national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.” I believe HaShem, the Creator of the universe, has made a covenant promise with the children of Israel and given to them the land of Israel as an inheritance for all of their future generations. We can see how this promise has manifested itself throughout history.
Since the Jews conquered Canaan, there have been a few times that they have been exiled from the land due to divine punished but, miraculously, they have always been allowed to return after a time. The most recent of these returns began in the 20th century and is continuing today. Since the destruction of Jerusalem in the early 1st century, the Jews have been in diaspora around the world. While some Jews remained in the land, the majority did not. In the early 1900’s, the Jews began to migrate back to the land and eventually gained control of the land once again. (Here is a link to a more extensive timeline of the history of Israel). Now there are over 6 million Jews in the land, almost half of all the Jews in the world,and the number is growing everyday. I do not think that this is by chance. After two thousand years of exile, HaShem is restoring the promise He made.
As a side note, I am by no means completely against the state, in fact, I believe it has done many amazing things and I wish to become a citizen one day, but the country has many problems and has made many mistakes. The State of Israel has, so far, been the instrument by which HaShem has gathered the children of Israel back into the promised land.
So, if it truly is the HaShem’s will that the Jews are to be in and control the land of Israel, then there is nothing to stop it from happen. No matter how much people resist it, it will happen. But just because the ultimate destiny for Israel is set, that doesn’t mean that there is only one path to getting there.
As of now, it has been by bloodshed and war that the Jews have been able to gain control of the land once again — this is not to say that Israel has always been the one to instigate the fighting; both sides have been at fault — but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is nothing stopping all of the people in the land from living in peace but in order for this to happen, compromises must be made. The Israelis need to do what they can to find ways to sympathize with the Palestinians; they have now been in the land for a long time and deserve equal rights with the Jews living there. The Palestinians need to realize that HaShem has made a promise to the Jews and that they are there to stay, whether they want them there or not.
We, as people both inside and outside of Israel, must then do two things. The first is to continue to try to find compromise in such a difficult situation. While fate of Israel might be set, the path to the fate might not be. Let us strive towards the peaceful route, not the chaotic. The second is to not be on the wrong side of the will of HaShem. Although both Babylon and Persia were used as tools by HaShem in the first exile of the Jews from the Land, Babylon was punished for being the one to exile Israel and Persia was blessed for being the one to bring them back. Let us be like Persia and bless the people and land of Israel, and in doing so, be blessed ourselves (Genesis 12:3).