Monday, December 28, 2009

The Everyone Wins Peace Plan in Halacha

A common theme that a couple of the religious critics of the Everyone Wins Peace Plan have expressed is that peace plans to the right of my plan follow Halacha (Talmudic Law) and mine does not in relation to not allowing gentiles to have dominion in the Holy Land. Here is where they are mistaken according to my understanding of Talmudic Law.

Are Arabs allowed to be accepted in the Holy Land by the Jewish people?

  • 1) The Biblical injunction against allowing idolators to possess the Holy Land (Lo Techanem) only applies to adding groups and entire populations to the land, not individuals. (for more on this study tractate Avodah Zarah, Mishnah 1:8 and the Gamora 21a) So, for example, to bring this back to current events, the concept of an Arabic "right of return" to the Land of Israel would not be acceptable under this concept.

    Saving Lives (pikuach nefesh) is the more pressing concern, however, as Security realities preclude an Arabic "right of return" therefore the Arabic "right of return" is forbidden due to clear cut danger to life concerns and thus the prohibition is even more severe than the concept of Lo Techanem alone would prohibit and is absolutely forbidden under Biblical injunction.

  • 2) Maintaining current demographic ratios via a staggered naturalization process connected to Jewish immigration rates (i.e. the heart of the Everyone Wins Peace Plan) would not be Biblically prohibited.

  • 3) Any rabbinical restrictions that would be glossed over, due to the fact of the realities on the ground, and the probable leadership of a secular government in this process cannot override the fundamental command of preservation of life. Every day that true peace is delayed more lives are at risk. It would be a violation of Biblical law to even consider delaying a TRUE peace plan.

Moshiach (the Messiah) could come up with a better plan, I admit. But we are prohibited to wait until he comes for such an optimal plan due to the danger of life that would entail (unless he should show up before you finish reading this...). Since that is the case, we must run with whatever peace plan that is politically VIABLE within the context of allowing for primal halachic standards. Rabbi Kahane's plan, unfortunately, does not meet that test.

Of the currently well known peace plans, Everyone Wins allows for primal halachic standards, while showing the most concern for the indigenous Arabic population (as well as the indigenous Jewish Population) of any halachically acceptable plan.

This makes Everyone Wins the most politically liberal interpretation of halachic standards in the context of any peace plan out there.

That means that Everyone Wins' political viability is unmatched by any other halachically acceptable peace plan over the long term.

That also means that unlike a Kahane type plan, it does not require a political revolution to occur.

This way of a "politically natural" redemptive process is consistent with the concept (in Isaiah 44:22) "return to me for I have (already) redeemed you."

Thus the three main standards that would uphold halachic concerns in our search for a true peace plan would be:

a) being strong for security (and against terror),

b) allowing Judaic religious freedom in any part of the land, and

c) political viability so that the first two goals can be achieved as soon as possible.

The emphasis in religion should be on morals and ethics and it all starts with the preservation of life. That is the intent of Talmudic Law. And so may it be our collective aspiration, by the grace of God.

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