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Prologue

The relationship of Israel, (or of the Jewish People), and the world's nations is a problematic one. Almost every gentile meta-historian has become exasperated with the Jewish People, who did not seem to comply with his scheme. This is the more sophisticated expression to the common view expressed in the popular saying of "how odd of God to choose the Jews". (Quite recently I saw a publication of a self-proclaimed "school for world-servers" who saw no other topic to initiate a discussion of "solving the world's problems" than by introducing "The Jewish Problem," and this by resorting to every antisemitic utterance of a couple of occultist ladies). Our suggestion would be that in seeking an approach to solve the global world problems, it would be good to pay attention to intelligible Jewish views on them.

The problem is no less pressing on the Jewish side. There is a lot of past hurt and even xenophobia there, leading to a common failure to look optimistically at the relationship of Israel and the nations and to missing on its opportunities. One role of the Hayut Foundation for a New Vision of Zion is to bring out optimistic visions for Israel, to encourage their study and adoption, which we do by our "Academy of Jerusalem" project. In its role of an experiment in "higher education", the Academy conducts symposia and tutorials.

Nehamah Nadborny approached me at her own initiative with a plan to make a book on "Israel and the 70 Nations" as a sequel to her book on "The Twelve Dimensions of Israel". We soon found that we had a common ground in thinking afresh the plurality implied by a re-evocation of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and could aim at some common further aims. The main help I could offer Nehamah was in a series of meetings, in which various bits of further information and some new insights were offered, beside some (hopefully) useful criticism and guidance. These symposia operated on several modes, scholarly as well as artistic and even mystical. On the practical side, we were able to offer the costs of publication of a monograph of the Academy of Jerusalem - from painting materials and a stipend for writing, editing and printing costs.

We hope that in the future we shall be able to likewise assist still many more motivated colleagues and students. We ask you, the reader to show such generosity and suspend your judgement until you read all of Nechamah's argument. It will take you through some delightful places, and demonstrate in a fairly simple way the enigmatic Biblical stipulation - that God has "set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the Children of Israel" (Deut. 32:8).

 

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