so happy together

The maverick original.But remember, the smoke of a burned church in the West Bank or firebombed cars by Palestinians was done peacefully, in the name of peace. Like much in the Holy Land, even violence is somehow sanctified and holy. Rabbi Menachem Froman, the recently deceased rabbi of disengagement claimed the war between Jews and Muslims was the work of the devil and that Islam is named after peace. The learned rabbi, eccentric as he was, and perhaps even dangerous for advocating an ideology that puts Jewish lives in danger was actually grounding his beliefs on a rather specific interpretation of the Torah, which accordingly involved a sovereignty in Judea and Samaria in the hands of Palestinians and for Jews to live there quietly, biding time until the Messiah arrives. It is true, there are passages in the Torah that would not condone Froman’s thesis; that is, if Jewish lives would be safer under Arab rule, but the extenuating circumstances of contemporary antagonisms would be mitigating factors.  …

( see link at end)…If Israelis and Palestinians agree on one thing, it’s that more settlements in the West Bank will eventually make a two-state solution impossible. Rabbi Menachem Froman, who died on March 4 at age 68, thought differently. Froman was a proud and early settler, a founder of the hard-line Gush Emunim (“Bloc of the Faithful”), theologically committed to permanent Jewish settlement in what he considered historical Judea and Samaria. But Froman also fully accepted the idea of a Palestinian state there — in which he and his fellow settlers would continue to live as minority citizens.

---Rabbi Menachem Froman (right) hands over a Qur'an at the mosque---click image for source...

—Rabbi Menachem Froman (right) hands over a Qur’an at the mosque—click image for source…

Crazy, you say — as did just about everyone else in Israel, to say nothing of other settlers. Froman played up the appearance of madness by appearing in Palestinian villages in his prayer shawl, tefillin (phylacteries) and long white beard and blessing the people in Arabic and Hebrew. His acting and speaking like a biblical figure further underscored the impression that he was some sort of unrealistic prophet, whether utopian or dystopian resting in the eye of the beholder. But why, really, is it impossible to imagine that religiously committed Jews might live under Palestinian sovereignty as citizens in the way that some Palestinian Arabs live under Jewish sovereignty in Israel proper? Looking at the standard reasons carefully, instead of just assuming their truth, can provide us with a much-needed thought experiment about the viability of the two-state solution, which looks increasingly tenuous to its supporters and critics alike.

The first reason that it’s hard to imagine several hundred thousand Jews living under Palestinian authority is their security. What sort of safety guarantee could be provided by a Palestinian state, whether secular and led by figures such as those at the head of the current Palestinian Authority or Islamist and dominated by Hamas?

Such a guarantee could never be absolute — but the state of Israel sitting next door, with its vastly superior firepower, would provide as much of a guarantee as minorities ever get in emerging states where democratic institutions are gradually consolidating. Any settlers who wanted to remain would have to assume the risk that a Palestinian state would enable them to live safely.
Then there’s the question of whether Jews in a Palestinian state would be treated equally. The reciprocal example of the Palestinian minority population in Israel might provide the beginnings of a guide. Formal legal equality would not be hard to provide — in Froman’s occasional discussions with Yasser Arafat and figures in Hamas, the Palestinian side expressed willingness to confer equal citizenship. When it comes to actual, de facto equality, one is inclined to be skeptical –but such real-world equality has also not been accomplished by Israel with regard to its Palestinian Arab citizens.

An ethnic minority living in a nation-state that makes its own separate claim to morally legitimate ownership of the land will always be in a tricky position, demographically and practically. Jews in a Palestinian state would have to accept that — but the barrier does not seem insurmountable. Most so- called economic settlers in the West Bank wouldn’t take the risk, but religiously committed believers could.

The faith of the hard-line settlers leads to the last major challenge to the existence of a minority Jewish enclave in a Palestinian state: Most of them believe with perfect faith that Jewish sovereignty between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is divinely ordained, commanded — and imminent. What made Froman unique was his willingness to accept the idea of Jews living under non-Jewish authority in land he fervently believed to be the part of the historic land of Israel.

The rabbi’s reasons were theologically complex, the subject of study by the Rutgers anthropologist Assaf Harel. Froman accepted the basic world view of modern religious Zionism, according to which the state of Israel began a historical process leading to a messianic era where peace would prevail and Jews would live in harmony in their land.

His simultaneous theological commitment to the equality of all humans led him to think that Palestinians had a right to their own land. This allowed him to reconcile the idea of Jewish sovereignty over the state of Israel with lack of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria — provided Jews could still live there.

In this compromise, it’s possible to see both the benefits of a sovereign state of Israel and a willingness to consider that being in diaspora need not be inherently negative. The existence of Israel means in practice — and, to Froman, in theory too — that Jews don’t have to live under foreign subordination. But in a democratic state that’s not defined as a Jewish state, Je

an also live as full citizens. Froman imagined that Palestine could become such a place.

In essence, he was gambling that if Jews in a future Palestine could give up their claim to be the majority power, they could be accepted by Palestinians, in the same complicated way that most Israelis accept the equal citizenship of Arab Israelis.

---The rabbi, Menachem Froman, is certainly unusual. While he himself is a founder of Gush Emunim and he is rabbi of the settlement of Tekoa, he has met with many Hamas and Fatah leaders over the years, including Sheikh Yassin and Yasir Arafat. On the other hand he is a strong opponent of "disengagement" and even moved his family to Gush Katif beforehand. He says that he would rather live in Tekoa under Arab rule if Israel gives it away. "Quixotic" seems an image for source...

—The rabbi, Menachem Froman, is certainly unusual. While he himself is a founder of Gush Emunim and he is rabbi of the settlement of Tekoa, he has met with many Hamas and Fatah leaders over the years, including Sheikh Yassin and Yasir Arafat. On the other hand he is a strong opponent of “disengagement” and even moved his family to Gush Katif beforehand. He says that he would rather live in Tekoa under Arab rule if Israel gives it away.
“Quixotic” seems an understatement….click image for source…

The lesson for the rest of us, who lack Froman’s religious imagination, is not that the practical challenges of a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state can easily be overcome. It is that the only route to a two-state solution comes through rejecting the absolutist idea that either side must have absolute sovereignty — and imagining new and creative possibilities for coexistence. To accept the settlements as a fait accompli that will prevent peace plays into the hands of those who would like to stop it from happening. At its best — which is also often its strangest — religious thought allows us to reimagine the world through new and different ethical lenses. That has great value even for those of us who have trouble seeing God at work in today’s politics.( Noah Feldman) Read More:

Effectively, Rabbi Froman’s idea was a variation on the land for peace formula which in distilled form means all sacrifices should be made to achieve peace. But does phrasing the issue in this manner distort the issue at hand? Why should conceding land be regarded as a step toward peace? If we look at the situation as it is, there has never in the history of Arab-Israeli relations been concessions that led to an attitude of conciliation and peace. Instead, the intial concessions have communicated feelings of weakness and insecurity that have been exploited by the Arabs and have encouraged them to make further and more excessive demands. Every retreat before pressure has called forth greater pressure to retreat even further. There is a certain logic to the Arab argument; after all, one israel has accepted the basic premise that is is proper to compromise its security to placate the Arabs, it is hard to draw red lines.

Finally, do the Arabs really want peace? Or is their involvement in the process lip service just part of a holy war to liberate Palestine. Lets not forget the Palestinians who danced on their roofs with glee when the Iraqi scuds fell on Israel in the first Iraq war of 1991. But terrorism does work, at least until it blows up in their faces. The Arabs have learned that through terror they can win concessions, and that the Israelis are willing to sacrifice security bit by bit to win temporary calm. This is the pattern, and once validity is granted to the Arab goal, “freedom” and “liberation” devolves into a philosophical debate as to whether all means are accessible, which also implies that god’s promise to Abraham is not valid and Biblical prophecies are irrelevant.

When the Bible’s prophecies serve as the basis for israel’s claim, then many other arguments are effective in reinforcing the positions. But when this foundation is lacking, and instead replaced by the Balfour Declaration of other international laws, Israel has difficulty in refuting the claim that they are robbers and thieves who took by force the lands of other nations.In this sense the policies of the Jewish Home party of Naftali Bennett is not erroneous in asserting that restrictions against settlement invite more protest and violence. In this light it becomes apparent that settlement freezes, or outright dismantlement and expulsions by force such as Amona and Migron are imposed only because in essence there are Israelis who feel that they don’t really belong there. Settling the land without restriction, by contrast, sends the message of confident self-esteem, in effect, showing the world that israel is doing everything possible to maintain her security and will not be halted in that endeavor, which means giving sovereignty to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria as Rabbi Froman proposed would be inimical to the safety and security of Israel’s citizens.

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