There are two peoples, three religions, with one common father in our sacred land. Today, the soil of that holy earth is soaked wet by the tears of our common father Avraham-Ibrahim, hugged by the arms of grandchildren Jacob and Esau.
I can hear their cries, sometimes muted by the tears falling from their eyes. “My children have disappointed me”, Abraham cries. “They have forgotten the meaning of love and honor which they saw when they lived with me. How can I save them? How can I redeem them?”
Abraham, supported by grandson Jacob, hears the dreadful replies and he tears his garment, symbolic of mourning.
Father Abraham left his birthplace in Ur Kasdim, a pagan city on the banks of the Mesopotamian kingdom. The voice of God told him that his name was now changed from Abram to Abraham, meaning “father of nations” and God directed him to the land of the seven Canaanite peoples.
There he lived among them and taught them of the One and Only True God, Creator of heaven above, the earth below and the waters beneath the earth. He destroyed the pagan idols and taught his neighbors how to worship God and how to love their neighbors and their fellow brothers and sisters.
But Father Abraham’s teaching was only half-learned. His neighbors accepted the worship of the One True God but they neglected and even failed to love and respect the others, overcome by jealousy and hatred.
With Abraham’s children, Isaac and later Ishmael, the land flourished and as people moved from one land to another they took Father Abraham’s One God along with them.
Centuries later, the Hebrew people known as Israelites or Jews, living on the land of God’s promise to our Father Abraham, saw the birth of an infant Jewish boy named Yeshua in Hebrew (Jesus in Greek) and through him a new religion was born on the soil of Abraham’s land.
For various reasons and religious disputes, the Jews could not worship the child known by the Greek term “Christos”, meaning anointed messiah. But now, two religions of the Abrahamic faith developed in the land where Abraham had settled.
And centuries later, a prophet in the land of Arabia, had a vision and created the third monotheistic faith, Islam, meaning surrender to God.
Islam and Judaism are extremely close to one another, much more so than Christianity and Judaism. The Islamic worship is much akin to Jewish worship and traditions of Judaism were incorporated into Islam.
Ancient rabbis had taught that while it was forbidden for Jews to worship in Christian churches which were adorned by images and statues alien to the faith of Father Abraham, they were not prohibited from attending a worship service in a Muslim mosque.
In that sense, Jews and Muslims have much in common with one another.
But the tragedy relates to the question of ownership of the land. Jews were born on the sacred soil of Abraham’s Israel whereas Islam was born in the desert of far-away Arabia. Jews, therefore, have more claim to the land than any other peoples or faiths. This is determined in both Jewish and Christian holy bibles.
Instead of living as brothers and sisters… instead of sharing the blessings of Abraham’s land… the one thing that they manage to share, regrettably, is the blood which flows from their bodies.
Father Abraham witnesses the tragedy and he weeps bitter tears. Grandson Jacob acknowledges battles with his brother Esau, but in the end the two brothers embraced one another and there was peace between them.
Our common father, Abraham ,in sacrifices that he offered up to God, prayed for a lasting peace between the brothers. When it once seemed a possibility, that dream has today faded and is in grave danger of disappearing forever.
If Father Abraham… Avraham… Ibrahim…could use his effective powers he would give a paternal spanking to the Arab children of the Abrahamic faith for breaking away from the life and traditions which he taught them by his example.
Hopefully it is not too late to redeem the two great faiths by demonstrating that the two can live together at a distance or at side by side in peace and harmony if they but will it to be.
Abraham’s sons can reply, each in his own tongue. “Insh’Allah” and “Ken Yehi Ratzon”. And all three of the children of Father Abraham’s beloved faith should respond with a loud and well-meaning “Amen”.
Only then can our Father Abraham wipe away his bitter tears from falling. Only then!