A World Away Never Felt so Far

Nearly everyone knows that there is a lot of tension in the Middle East between countries especially between Israel and the countries that border it. In this article (http://huff.to/1tqfolB) some of the tensions in the west bank are discussed. The article primarily focusses on how Israel has begun to re-implement a policy of demolishing the houses of suspected terrorists and their families. This policy is not new and was used lots in the early 2000’s but was suspended for the most part in 2005 because officials questioned whether or not it was actually effective. What the government does is that they give a family a 48 hour notice of demolition and if they cannot provide a sufficient petition, their house is destroyed. This may seem very cruel; however the Israeli government draws a distinction between these terrorists and “regular” terrorists. The government claims to only destroy the houses of terrorists who have targeted civilians, not simply, “just throwing stones or Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers.”

I feel as though this story relates to something that most people have heard about, Zionism. However, what most people may not know is that Zionism can come in many forms. There is social/cultural Zionism, which strives to revive a strong Jewish culture. In this form of Zionism, Jewish communities would become essentially families wherever they live. These small pockets of Jewish communities would have strong interdependent bonds and would live a Jewish way of life. There is Religious Zionism which seeks to re-establish the Mosaic Law and to live in full obedience to God. They would seek to restore the rabbinic tradition and to have all Jews from all over the world, living in accordance with God’s commands. Lastly and, with regards to the news article, most importantly there is territorial Zionism. This is the desire for all Jewish people to be re-united in a single place, whether that is the Holy Land or some other location. Central to this form of Zionism is the idea that God has promised the Israelites there own homeland, and that it was their divine right to have a piece of territory to call their own. Since the creation of Israel this has caused many problems, one of which we can see in the news article. Since the Jewish people believe that it is their divine right to be in the Holy Land, the country is run much differently from other countries. The laws that have been put in place to try and accommodate non-Jewish people while keeping Israel a Jewish country have caused a lot of tension between people groups and this tension often manifests itself in the form of violence and retaliation.

I feel as though Israel is in a difficult situation. I understand how they wish to establish a strong Jewish culture in a country and a territory that they feel has been given to them by God. But it is also difficult, if not impossible, to say that they are not at least partially to blame for the violence going on. In my view, a plot of land or a home is not worth taking someone’s life, something that both sides are guilty of doing. That being said, it is difficult for me to fully understand the scope of the problem since I am not Jewish, or Palestinian and I have never even been to that area of the world. What seems like a dispute over land and a way of life is probably much more than just that. To know exactly what is happening would take much more than a quick glance or even a careful study. Only those involved in the conflict know the pain that has been caused and the disagreements that are still to be settled. If you wanted to truly know what this conflict was like you would have to experience it first-hand. Thus at this moment I find it impossible, and likely always will, to truly understand what is happening in that part of the world.

#349 #uwreligions

Tommy Douglas

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