Can the Quran Solve Israel’s Political Impasse?

April 23 2021

Among the factors contributing to the current parliamentary deadlock in the Jewish state is that Bezalel Smotrich, head of the newly formed Religious Zionist Party, refuses to sit in the same government as Mansour Abbas’s Islamist Ra’am party, noting that Ra’am’s 2018 charter calls Zionism “a racist, occupying project.” Daniel Pipes sees a clear, if unlikely, solution: Abbas can reform his party’s platform so as to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and in exchange Smotrich can back down. Moreover, Abbas can do so while remaining true to his principles:

Believe it or not, the Quran is a proto-Zionist document, with verses that endorse the Jewish presence in what it calls the Holy Land (al-ard al-muqaddasa), the territory that roughly makes up the modern state of Israel. For example, Quran 5:20-21 quotes Moses saying to the Jews, “O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God [Allah] has ordained for you to enter.” . . . . Other Quranic verses confirm this theme, as do hadith, [extra-scriptural sacred traditions], and leading Quranic scholars of the premodern era.

Deep research into this issue has been carried out by such scholars as Nissim Dana of Ariel University. . . . In the words of the Muslim scholar Khaleel Mohammed, “It’s in the Muslim consciousness that the land first belonged to the Jews.” Another Muslim thinker, Abdul Hadi Palazzi, comes right out and states that “Allah is a Zionist.”

I am under no illusion that Ra’am would jump at this offer, but it is well worth a try, and for two reasons. First, Mansour Abbas has shown an unprecedented pragmatism and flexibility. . . . Second, even if Ra’am declines the opportunity, such a public challenge by Smotrich to Abbas would finally introduce the Quran’s largely unknown proto-Zionist outlook into wide general discussion in Israel and beyond, a beneficial step for Jews and Muslims alike.

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Read more at Daniel Pipes

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli politics, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Mansour Abbas, Quran

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship