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.

Read more at Israel Hayom

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

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict