Contents | last section 2. Ecological Health
Personal Well-Being, Ecological Health & Holistic Peace
Dr. Yitzhak I. Hayutman, Cybernetician
3. Holistic Peace
I would like to go now to the problems pressing on this region, the Middle East, which is the test for any set of assertions. We are now in a very dramatic phase of development with the peace process and the interim agreement with the PLO. Many Israelis feel that this may be the end or the death of Zionism, and this assertion has been expressed quite explicitly. We should note that the whole establishment and growth of the State of Israel have been through a system of beliefs called Zionism, and it is this system which holds these very diverse people together. This system is derived from traditional beliefs of Judaism, but was an innovation, perhaps even a revolution. Zionism has, or had, its own varieties which we can also arrange according to the holonomic template shown before.
Zionism certainly has its Left and Right and it is common for the newspapers to talk of the Israeli Left and the Israeli Right, and people use these terms in precisely the way which is relevant in brain studies and in Kabbalah and the distinction of anabolic and catabolic processes (also in the mental domain), only they are not aware of it. There is a left which is rationalizing (and "ratio" literally means division) and taking things apart, taking structures of belief, demythologizing, desacralizing and breaking them down, and there is a right which tries to build up the myth. And there are several levels, like "Practical Zionism" used to be set against "Political Zionism". And there were higher levels, like "Spiritual Zionism".
But the situation now is that there is something being torn right now, right in the middle between the Left and Right. This tearing or opening wound may kill us, but may also heal. But we should check what is happening and why.
If we look at it in a different way and regard that Tree of Death, we may get a new understanding of what has been happening. In an earlier lecture I mentioned the symbol of Zionism, the interpenetrating triangles, as parallel to the Yin-Yang symbol with its light side and shadow side intertwined. Let us look in these terms of light side and shadow side about the relations of Israeli Zionists and Arabs. There is a system of beliefs, namely Zionism, which basically does not take into account the fact that these people are here. The Arabs have been left out of consideration. One can make accommodations on certain levels, and historically those accommodations did not work. Meanwhile the Arab entity has been emerging in a manner which I claim is like a shadow of Zionism.
The Palestinian movement is slowly developing much as a copy or a caricature of Zionism with a historic lag of about fifty years. So the Palestinian movement has been establishing, one after the other, the kinds of institutions like those of Practical Zionism and Political Zionism. It seems they have hardly come yet to the potential level parallel to Spiritual Zionism. On the Jewish side there was a movement called "Spiritual Zionism" which has already almost died out and which, in our work of the Hayut Foundation, we are trying to revivify. But as yet there is hardly any Palestinian spiritual movement. It is a national movement which claims that the Palestinians deserve to get what other nations have. This sounds reasonable and rational and gathers some support around the world, but it has no transcendent spiritual aspirations.
I would venture to say that if we could construct a redemptive scenario for all the people of this land that will allow their reunification or amalgamation into a coherent system - then there is a chance of achieving it. The Palestinians have been going into building their own national system much for lack of a better choice, and a better choice has never been offered. Maybe it is too late and Palestinian nationalism has already developed so much that it will crush any alternative, but I venture to say that there is a possibility for making a redemptive scenario around the center and the heart of the problem - which is Jerusalem - an issue which is not going to disappear as the bone of contention.
Jerusalem is not only the concrete entity of an earthly city. It is also a spiritual entity - there is the Heavenly Jerusalem, Yerushalayim shel Ma'alah, which in several of the publications of the Academy of Jerusalem we elaborate and explain what it is. Obviously when Khomeini, or Arafat, swears by the name of Jerusalem, it is not just the stones that they are after. Jerusalem has a great symbolic meaning. The question is whether this meaning can be a basis for a joint human enterprise. We have developed something on the level of de Chardin's idea of the Noosphere concerning the New Jerusalem, or the Heavenly Jerusalem as being the focus for new all humankind trends. It is consistent with the New Testament and with the Hebrew Bible, but in fact there is also enough in the Koran which suggests this transcendental entity - Dar El-Sala'am is the name in Islam for the Heavenly Jerusalem. This entity exists in potential, and it is possible to show that there is a whole structure which encompasses the warring people of this country as a coherent entity.
Right now, our work is in the stage of the development of a system of beliefs and redemptive scenarios. For this purpose, the facets which were brought earlier, of the scientific justifications for the employment of the myth of the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Death are obviously tools for anchoring the concepts for the redemptive scenarios. Of course bringing it down to earth and planting it within the existing systems of belief of the warring political organizations and into the practices in the field is a huge endeavor of which we know very little. But the holistic structure we have here of the Tree of Life at least allows us to know what are the A-to-Z stages for passing the new understandings and new revitalizing stories all the way down to earth. Thank you.
You spoke in the last part about the current situation, and you mentioned Spiritual Zionism and said that the Arab Palestinian cause has no spiritual side - that is what you seemed to imply. But you seem to imply that the spiritual side of Zionism came as an afterthought. But that, I would have thought, is not correct. There was first the spiritual aspect, and that is a fundamental point of this analysis.
Obviously, the psychological individual is the seed from which things grow, but later this is forgotten. There is no spiritual seed for the Filastinian movement. When you say in English that something is Philistine, you mean that it goes against culture and understanding. It is a falsity, falsification. And that is what is called in Arabic Filastin. It is an entity which is a bastard in the sense that this name has nothing to do with the Arabs or with Islam. It is an imposition of the Romans. When the Romans vanquished Judea and Jerusalem, in order to obliterate the name of Zion they resurrected the specter of the Philistines - who were originally actually invaders from the West and the name Plishtim literally means "invaders", polshim. So those Western invaders, the Romans, resurrected the spirit of the earlier Western invaders, and then when the British came here and received the mandate from the League of Nations over Palestine, they brought the name Palestine back in a strong way. So again a Western imperial power brought in the spirit of Palestine and resurrected it, while it had nothing to do with the local Arabs. What the Arabs had was Islam, with the myth of Ishmael, the son of Abraham. That is their mythical identity. In blood terms, in fact people have done genetic studies and found that many of the so called Palestinian Arabs are more Jewish in genetic structure, in blood, than are many Jewish newcomers. But these people of Jewish origin have been forced to apply other beliefs if they wanted to maintain their "Tsumud", their cleaving to the soil. Tsumud is not a new Palestinian notion, even though it is the very essence of Palestinian nationalism nowadays. Tsumud is an old principle, and the same Jews and Israelites who held on to the land when Jews were not allowed to live in Judea. They gave up their beliefs and became Christians and then Moslems...
.... there is an aspect of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which is not being recognized that this is a conflict within the family, within the self, that the conflict issue from lack of self-recognition. The Philistine falsity has been creeping in. One can even say "palash Satan" the devil has invaded. Satan in the very sense of the Islamic notion and the Hebrew root of the word, the one who waylays, who take things away from their proper course, take things on a left ward course away from their wholeness. There was a popular fundamentalist Christian book about "Satan is alive and well on Planet Earth". Certainly this is true in the Middle East. There is some demonic possession which is likely to destroy the two people, or the one people who are split right in the middle. But there can also be a healing story, and then healing disciplines, which come in order to solve the bitter conflict which now is going to come more and more.
Dr. Sarah Sallon:
Can you then describe the theme of the destructive effect of the Amalek myth, which is in a sense very much a part of the subconscious of, we may say, the religious Right in Israel. The Palestinians are the reincarnation, for those Jews, of the Amalek and it is, in a sense, incumbent upon the Jews to destroy Amalek. Perhaps first explain what Amalek is.
<The simple solution is for Israel to eradicate the memory of Amalek by simply forgetting about them>. There is a Rabbinical understanding of the Bible, that it is incumbent upon the children of Israel that when they return to the Land, they should do three things: obliterate the memory of Amalek, make a kingdom and build the Temple. This is an official redemptive scenario, one which most people prefer to forget about, but it is there. The eradication of Amalek is a very hard and obnoxious thing for our modern sensibilities - to destroy the Amalekites to the last vestige. But then people may wonder who is Amalek? From the left side, Abshalom Elitsur, in his book about the Bible and Freudian psychology, shows that Amalek is the one nation which is most similar to the Jews, like a caricature of the Jews. On the right, they say that in Gematria (the numerological or numerical study of the Hebrew letters and words), Amalek has the same value as "safek" namely "doubt". So their theory is that what we should eradicate, what is splitting us apart and eating the Zionist or the Jewish enterprise from the inside is the self-doubt. That this is what is killing us and what should be eradicated. This you may here in the extreme right circles like the "Hay vekayam" movement or in Rabbi Ginzburg Yeshivah in Shkhem (Nablus). In a more vulgar way people may claim that the Arabs are the Amalek - and that is a dangerous attitude.
That is why in our work we look for alternative frameworks to regard the Arabs, and we go for the myth of the brothers Isaac and Ishmael or a variety of redemptive myths for the Middle East. We treat the myth of Isaac and Ishmael and what we call "the Co-Akedah", the common binding. According to the Bible, Isaac was bound, in the Koran in some places it is Isaac and in some places Ishmael. As a matter of fact, it is becoming clear that these two people are getting bound, are getting crucified and torn apart - and it should be brought out what are the spiritual sacrificial nature and significance of this - for there surely is significance.
Other possibility is of seeing these Arabs not as Ishmael, but as Israel. To say that Israel should consist not only of Jews. That the Jews, especially in the sense of Rabbinical Judaism, correspond to the Tribe of Judah - which is just one part of the whole entity of Israel. In fact there is no reason that the Halakhah should be binding upon the Tribes of, say, Asher or Naftali. What should be binding to them is what King David instituted, but what became established after the dispersion of the Tribes, for instance the "Shulhan Arukh", needs not necessarily be binding for those other tribes. So there are yet many empty slots within the whole structure of Israel which could be filled in. The problem of the Arabs citizens of Israel who by now call themselves Palestinians, is that they are not recognized culturally. They have no place to be on their own, let alone the poor people of Gaza and Nablus who for over twenty years had no future prospect. If they could find open slots within Israel in which they could grow, they could be Gad or Naftali, etc. they could grow healthily within the structure of Israel.
Very interesting, only you may only need to fix the Torah. They will have to accept the Torah.
What do you say about this comment - that only if they accept the Torah?
Answer: First of all, there is no question about that which the Lubawitzer Rebbe advocates for the whole world, and which is called "the Seven Noahide commandments". One of them is to establish courts of law. To have a civic society is a precondition. It cannot just be the rule of terrorism. Even now it is Israel that insists that the Palestinians should have democratically elected council, and it is very clear that what Arafat is doing, and what some people wish him to do, is to take over. So it is doubtful that they will have fair courts of law.
Then there is the matter of accepting the Torah. At least on the level of those who respect Islam, this is conceivable. We have issued a publication with an appeal to the Moslems (Eder, 1993). A religious Jew like myself can go into a mosque and pray there. There is no problem about it, whereas I am not supposed to pray in a church with its images. According to the Koran, Abraham was a Moslem, and in a sense he was. But if so, then the interpretation of what is Islam is wider than what is currently understood by most people. (perhaps it is like the difference I made earlier between the prevailing Rabbinical Judaism and the potential faith of Israel). Likewise, what is the Torah is potentially wider than what is commonly understood or how it became defined and limited through many centuries of exile, which covered it with many crusts and shells. To a great potential extent, Torah and Koran are not incompatible. And when we can build within this framework, I see possibility of having Moslem Tribes of Israel.
By the same token there can be Christians who can say Jesus .... (not clear - some debate starting)
There is no coercion within Judaism. There are thousands of people coming into Israel who are Jews, who do not even know what the Torah is. It is not incumbent upon them to learn the Torah before they come here. No one asks them at the airport; "do you accept the Torah?" They don't ask you any more even if you are Jewish.
Maybe the problem is that those of us who have build Israel and did not know what the Torah is are now being swamped by people who claim they know what the Torah is. The country was built by people who said goodbye to the Torah.
(Tape recording: many voices together, then recording finished).
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