By Moshe Feiglin
Editor's Note:This article uses labels that refer to Christians and Moslems. Certainly, these two large populations are not monolithic and display a variety of beliefs in different countries, and that there are genuine friends of the people of Israel in both groups. So, this article should be read as a critique of general majority trends rather an all inclusive description.
The small war between the Israelis and the Palestinians for some reasons attracts international attention out of all proportion. The vast majority of the sessions of the UN Security Council are devoted to that small strip of coastline on the eastern part of the Mediterranean. The international media networks permanently maintain offices and teams here; and the US State Department, Congress, and the American Administration are constantly busy with the events taking place here. Even the European Union countries, Russia, and, of course, the Moslem countries are unable to stop participating in the affairs of this region.
The number of people killed in the wars between Israel and the Arabs does not form more than a minute fraction of the losses suffered by the human race in the wars and disputes that have taken place since the establishment of Israel. However strange it may seem, when regarded objectively Israel is one of the quietest and safest places in the world. So what is the meaning of the world's interest in this little piece of land? A world war is being waged here in Eretz Israel. This is not a war between "Israelis" and "Palestinians". Such a stupid war between a tiny country and a bothersome terrorist organization would have interested the world like tribal conflicts in the Congo. This is a war of a totally different kind: A war between philosophies, a war between religions and cultures, a war centering around the question of which of the three greatest influences on human history will in the future lead the human race -Christianity, Islam or, perhaps, Judaism. All this tremendous charge lies behind the ongoing farce between the Israelis and Arafat's band of gangsters.
They don't necessarily see themselves as such. They are modern, rational people, some of whom are atheists, and many of whom have forgotten what the inside of a church looks like, but their culture is based on Christianity. This is a culture that sanctifies weakness and suffering (a crucified god suffering all the time), a culture based on unbalanced benevolence, a culture that differentiates between unbalanced moral demands and surrender to cruel, sensual reality, while abandoning the attempt to bridge between them.
The Christians recognize the existence of positive values but despair of the capability of achieving them, and are constantly frustrated by this dissonance. They leave holiness to a few individuals who abstain from the follies of this world, and hate and persecute the Jews who, by their very existence, prove that it is possible to live in holiness and not just die in it.
The Christians are constantly nearby, with mixed love-hate feelings for Israel. The return of the Jews to their country forms the realization of the visions of the Biblical prophets, in whom they also believe. But it also represents something far deeper. This renewed return to Zion contains the potential of realizing not only the visions of the physical return of the Jews to their land, but also the renewed acceptance, by all of humanity, of the kingdom of the Creator. If during their exile the Jews proved that it was possible to live in holiness as individuals, now in Israel they are liable to return to themselves and prove that it is possible to renew national life in this way as a nation and a state. The Christians both anticipate and fear this - they love and hate and are spellbound by the issue.
The Moslems are less anti-Semitic than the Christians. This is not a case of lofty values, and barbarity following the incapability of realizing them.
The struggle against the Jews is a material/ territorial one, and when satisfied, the Jews can continue to live with inferior status. If you enter the time machine and don't know in which period you will emerge, it is better for you (as a Jew) to land in the periphery of the Sultan rather than that of the Pope. The basis of Islam is not the quality of mercy but of justice. If Christianity bridges the gap between sin and morals by automatic benevolence and absolution (that over long periods were sold by the clergy), Islam does this in a far simpler way ? it abolishes both benevolence and morals.
The Christian cross has four extremes: good, bad, strong, and weak. The Moslem crescent has only two extremes: strong and weak. Good is included in the strong, and bad is found in the weak. The god of the Moslems isn't wretched and crucified. Their holy Muhammad is strong, cruel, and deceitful. The lust for women is not solved by the world to come, in which we will live in holiness. On the contrary, seventy virgins will be waiting there and the sexual urge will be everlasting. Since the foundation of Islam is matter, it developed an anti-productive culture.
Why should I plant a tree whose fruits I won't enjoy? When there is no good and bad the sole criterion for development is direct enjoyment. The Biblical curses that Ishmael received, "By your sword you shall live" and "His hand was in everything and everyone's hand was in him" forms the root of this culture. The Arab is not the son of the desert but its father. His black goat eats up every green shrub down to the roots and makes growth impossible. An Arab does not steal or rob; he is merely making a living.
In the Arab countries there will never be economic development or democracy. Every place they reach will become a desert. The funniest thing is the idea of reforms and economic development amongst the band of robbers called, for some reason, the Palestinian Authority. The Arabs steal not only material but also spiritual things. The Dome of the Rock Mosque meant nothing to them: the Temple Mount had been abandoned for centuries, and old photos clearly prove this. It became holy only when stolen from the Jews. Joseph's Tomb didn't interest the Arabs - but it immediately became a mosque and was declared to be a holy place after being stolen from the Jews. They have no holiness of their own, and therefore have to steal it from others.
In contrast to the qualities of mercy and justice removed from their original context by the rebellious daughters of Judaism, the Jewish people offers humanity the whole concept. Perhaps this is an exaggeration. Most of the Jewish people, after countless Inquisitions, Holocausts, and tragedies, no longer know where it is headed. It accepts the Western Christian culture without understanding its significance. It fails to understand itself and the way it is judged by humanity. It also fails to understand why, when it offers everything to the Arab robbers, they still don't leave it in peace. It also fails to understand why, when it is more Christian than the Pope, and lets its soldiers get killed in order to save the lives of "Palestinians" in Jenin, the Christians still support the weaker side.
It fails to understand that this struggle is not about territory or the realization of national rights. This struggle is one between giants for the culture that will lead the human race in the future. The Christians and the Moslems hate one another, but are united in fear of the truth represented by the Jews. They therefore cooperate against the Jews. You can desecrate a church in Bethlehem and persecute the priests. It doesn't matter how much blood you have on your hands if you are a Moslem - the Christians will rescue you from the Jews and will give you refuge in their countries.
The Moslems act as a hammer actively hitting the Jews. No one expects mercy or any other value from them. Their war against the Jews is direct and blatant. The modern Christians are fighting against the Jews in a far more sophisticated manner. They don't actively attack the Jews: They are not the hammer, but the anvil, without which the Moslem hammer is ineffective. The Jews, who have accepted Christian values, are incapable of escaping from the hammer blows, outside the range of the Christian anvil. You can enter Jenin to catch a murderer and then leave. To treat Jenin like Dresden or Hiroshima is a luxury permitted only to real Christians. They have a priest who will give them absolution. The Jews don't.
In this way the Christians perpetuate the war between the Jews and the Moslems and make sure that the Jews will never win. The Jews are fleeing from their Judaism to a kind of counterfeit Israeliness, and the last thing that interests them is the desire to perfect the world as the Kingdom of the Almighty.
But is appears that they have no choice. For four thousand years the Jews have been leading the history of mankind towards this perfection, and it is now far closer than ever before.