That's right. I'm visiting Israel next week (Oct 17th through Oct 27th). It's with Kesher Birthright Israel trips. It's going to have a historical, religious, and political context. I am a reform jew and this trip is being given by a reform organization. Reform, while it has some implications of leniency in religious practices, I believe also imparts a certain abhorrence to war not found in some other, more conservative jewish sects. I'm hoping that when I go over there, all Israelis and Palestinians will have some transformative thought change and stop fighting. I don't expect that though. I was thinking about the situation over there. Here is what I've concluded: The Jewish people, as part of our historical monologue, need to be constantly under attack and overcoming oppression. From our youth, we learn about jewish history in a context of subjugation followed by empowerment. We wouldn't know what to do if no single group of people despised us.
Consider this hypothetical world: The government of the state of Israel, or what ever it would be called, were totally secular. All religious groups are free to live among one another in mutual respect and harmony. The laws of this state would not favor or disparage one group or another. The problem here is that the people living in that part of the world don't want secular government. The jews want ALL JEWISH ALL THE TIME. The muslims want ALL ISLAM ALL THE TIME. I believe that the amount of religious zeal held by the inhabitants of Israel and surrounding countries is too great to allow secularization of government. Everyone is uncompromising and there will never be a time when the people can live harmoniously.
You may be saying to yourself, "this bloke is making unfounded claims about the desires of israeli and palestinian peoples and their governments' capacities for change and compromise!" You're right. I'd like someone to tell me what are some thoughts of israeli and palestinian peoples? What are the political stances held by their governments?
Anyhow, Ashley and I went to New Haven today and Campbell Falls yesterday. Photos will be up shortly.