Putting the Bible to Use in Israeli Diplomacy

In a historic ceremony on Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, gathered at Entebbe to commemorate Israel’s 1976 hostage rescue there. Musevini not only commended Israel for carrying out the raid—despite the fact that IDF commandos killed a number of Ugandan soldiers—but compared it with various events in the Bible and even with a passage from the Quran. Speaking of his hopes for warm relations with the Jewish state, Musevini added that “on the issue of Israel/Palestine, we in Uganda are guided by the Bible.” Dror Eydar points to some important lessons Israeli diplomats can learn from this speech:

Museveni used Abraham’s two wives, Sarah the matriarch of the Jews and Hagar the matriarch of the Muslims, to propose a solution for the conflict between [Israel] and the Arabs. Both peoples, he said, belong to the region. He asserted that attempts to compare Israel with South Africa under apartheid rule were nonsense, that the two countries had “totally different stories,” and offered his services as a go-between on the mission to achieve peace.

The same parts of Israeli media (and politics) that are devoid of knowledge of Jewish texts and religious issues scorned what looked like a mixture of politics and myth. . . .

But anyone who is well-versed in our people’s ancient knowledge and spirit realizes the great potential that lies before Israeli statesmen (and also people in trade) if they appeal to religion as a source of common ground with their counterparts abroad. Israel’s renewing of its relations with African nations is a crucial historic event that could help break down the diplomatic wall that Israel’s enemies have worked to build around it. The Israelis came [primarily to commemorate the raid at] Entebbe, but the president of Uganda and many Africans along with him saw the representatives of the historic Jewish people, the people of the Bible. Only a blind person could miss this opportunity.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Africa, Bible, Entebbe, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Quran

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat