Yoel Oz
Co-Founder of the Abrahamic Movement

Ramadan, Abraham and Mideast Peace

As our Muslim friends, brothers and sisters begin the month of Ramadhan, there is a a window opening providing us with the opportunity to talk about peace. For many Israelis and Jews, this is the last thing we want to be thinking about. Our three boys who were kidnapped two weeks ago are still unaccounted for and all of of our common wounds have been reopened. Al-Qaeda appears to be gathering strength in Iraq and in neighboring Syria and there is great fear that a new front will be opened in Jordan next.

It is precisely because the moment is so dangerous that we must address the regional conflicts and that we must address that religion is at the heart – both as a source of the various conflicts, but also as a means to resolving the conflicts.

Westerners and Europeans are afraid of addressing religion and lack the language to take religion seriously. It is for this very reason that extremists and fanatics have managed to hijack religion for their own political purposes and gains. It must be made clear that any political group that does not put the sanctity of human life at the very center of its raison d’etre cannot honestly call itself a religious organization. Man created in the image of God is the highest value of all the Abrahamic religions and those who faith in God is pure and uncorrupted know in their hearts this is true. It matters not whether the individual is a Jew, Christian or Muslim. This is the true legacy of our common Father Abraham.

And so, as the followers of Abraham’s firstborn son Ishmael begin a month of fasting and prayer, there is an opportunity for us all to look inward and find those basic human ties that bind us together.

Let us be clear: we have no choice in this matter. The fuel on the ground is too dangerous. Peace is the only way. It is foolish to believe that Islam or Judaism will disappear. The faiths of believers is too strong or powerful for such a silly thought to even be contemplated. This is the only way we will be successful in fighting terror organizations like Hamas and al-Qaeda.  This will occur when the “regular people” of faith will be able recognize the differences between true religious organizations (i.e. concern for all human dignity) and groups only interested in Political power.

About the Author
Yoel Oz is the co-founder of the Abrahamic Movement and the author of "Abrahamic Federation: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." He served as an Orthodox rabbi and educator in the Washington, DC metro area for five years. He studied at Cornell and Yeshiva Universities and Yeshivat Hamivtar and Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan. He currently resides with his wife and daughter in a suburb of Tel Aviv.
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