BLOG from the Holy Land #7 – Sept. 17th, 2016

Blog #7: A Vision for Peace In The Holy Land

Rabbi Yakov Nagen has a vision for peace in the Holy  Land. He is an orthodox rabbi, a teacher in a yeshiva, a settler, and a man with a true, loving, pure heart. From the outset some of those qualities seem contradictory but that is the nature of life here in Israel and Palestine. Rabbi Nagen is also a dedicated member of the Abrahamic Reunion using his religious foundation to envision peace here. He recognizes the reality of the two cultures but uses the common areas between Arabs and Jews to craft this vision.

Reb Nagen sees a confederation similar to the European Union, where both states would maintain their autonomy, individuality and core identity yet join together when the benefit for both would be helpful. Imagine two circles next to each other with an are of overlap in the center. The overlapping area would be the areas of commonality that would provide both a buffer to each other and an area where relationships could be fostered. What this plan offers is an opportunity to envision something greater than the two states while at the same time offering respect to both cultures. What he is suggesting is really a process not an end. Really a place to begin which seems so lacking in the maelstrom of conflicting ideas, cultures and opinions that makes up the Holy Land. The area that is the natural place to begin is also the place of controversy; religion.

Haddasah Froman, wife of the great prophet of peace Reb Menachem Froman whose presence is so sorely missed, is continuing his great legacy of honoring the great wisdom found in the three religions of Abraham and using that wisdom to promote peace and hope. One of Haddasah’s projects is to teach Israeli soldiers when they begin their military training some truths about Islam and Palestinians. She shares a very human and loving perspective that hopefully penetrates the hearts of these young men and women so their actions in the field will be both compassionate and wise. The list of other projects Hadassah is involved in is extensive and includes teachings for leaders of the government and the military. She also teaches young students in Israel in conjunction with some great Palestinian Muslim leaders to show an example of harmony.

It is psychicly exhausting to be here right now as there is a disconnect between the inner desire of the souls of so many on opposite sides of the issues and the outer expressions and actions. We are trying to simultaneously build bridges and take down walls, a difficult combination.

I see so much material progress in both areas, so much worldly success but inwardly the need to connect with the divine is not being cultivated. The religion of the compassionate heart is longing to be embraced here.

With love and blessings from the Holy Land,

David Less