The HOPE  |  Academy Papers  |  The Future of Israel and of Zionism



Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-Ma'N.

Table of Contents

1. The Urban Duality Represented by Jerusalem

2. The Mythical Jerusalem as a Determinant of the Actual City

3. A Biblical Perspective of the Palestine-Zion Conflict.

4. Some Observations on the Current Palestinian-Zionist Conflict.

5. Jerusalem-ism and Universal Zionism.

6. The Heavenly Jerusalem as Redemptive Archetype

7. The HEJERA Model for ME Conflict Resolution.

7.1 - The Future Ingathering of the Tribes
7.2 - Centrality of Jerusalem in the Future Land
7.3 - The Future Federation of the Holy Land

8. The HEJERA Model for the Design of the Earthly Jerusalem.

8.1 - Self-Government for Jerusalem's Neighbourhoods
8.2 - Extra-temporal Status for the Old City of Jerusalem
8.3 - Re-valuing Urban Quality



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7. The HEJERA Model for ME Conflict Resolution.

It is now the time to apply the HEJERA model and to demonstrate its utility for helping bring Peace to the Middle East. This will be done on the two levels introduced initially. I shall show in this section the political and cultural ramifications of the model by suggesting hitherto unrecognized and radical solutions. The next section will show how this model can be applied to the urban design and management problems of the earthly Jerusalem so that this city can become the key to and demonstration of the peace and wholeness her name implies.

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7.1 - The Future Ingathering of the Tribes:

The twelvefold pattern of the HEJERA represents primarily the twelve tribes of Israel who were given possession of the Holy Land by divine covenant. It is held alike by Jews and Christians that at some future time, immediately preceding the time of lasting peace, all twelve tribes will assemble again at Jerusalem (e.g. Ezekiel, 37). The modern Jews claim to be made up of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, together with an admixture of Levites. The other tribes are said to be scattered among the nations of the world. The recognition of the missing tribes to make up the complete twelve is thus of practical importance. There have been hundreds of attempts made over the centuries to find the missing tribes with candidates ranging all the way from South America to Japan with as yet inconclusive results. On the other hand, there are, as pointed out in section 5, contemporary groups that regard themselves as Israelites. It would appear that the practical general principle to follow is to allow the Israelites to declare themselves. Israel's recognition of them as legitimate Israelites could thus be offered to those who claim legitimacy and are impelled by Jerusalem-ism/Zionism toward the Holy City. There are various groups found worldwide who may choose to declare themselves Israelites. The case of the greatest interest here is the one close at hand - the case of the Palestinians in and around Israel.

Undoubtedly this will be initially hard to swallow for both most Palestinians and Israelis, but let us examine some of the ramifications and allay some of the immediate suspicions which this idea is likely to raise. First this solution does not entail the conversion of all Palestinians to Judaism, if for no other reason then the fact that Judah is but one part of the whole which is Israel. Secondly, this need not entail the massive influx of Arabs into Israel and the transformation of its demographic structure. As noted, the great majority of Palestinians live within the territorial boundaries of the British Palestine, now included in or controlled by Jordan and Israel. The HEJERA model implies, as is explained below, the centrality of Jerusalem within a multi-canton federation of Arab, Jewish and mixed regions. In this case the new Arab Israelites would live mainly where they already reside, albeit with enhanced civic rights whereas new Arab migrants to Zion may settle initially and primarily in the Arab cantons discussed below (sec. 9.3). The important point is that those Arabs who come to identify themselves as Zionists would also recognize the Jews as such and recognize the legitimacy if their stay in this land. This would remove, I believe, the biggest and most profound stumbling block and cause for instability in any feasible solution.

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7.2 - Centrality of Jerusalem in the Future Land:

The centrality of Jerusalem in Zionist consciousness is bound to usher in the centrality of Jerusalem in the land -- an influence of the Heavenly Jerusalem over the Earthly counterpart. As in Jungian psychology, there is a search for the self, for a new center beyond the Ego. This new center is first seen as external or eccentric, but once it is sufficiently recognized it starts to reorganize and reconstruct the territory (in the case of psychology, the psyche) until it becomes the real center. This is the case with Jerusalem. This tendency towards a center was expressed in Moslem Spain by the poet Ibn-Gabirol who gave this expression to his Zionism: "My heart is in the Orient and I am at the extremities of the West". In the past (1948-1967) Jerusalem has been divided and completely eccentric (both geographically and demographically) to Israel. But this could not remain a stable situation. Israel did not initiate the 1967 war and the re- unification of Jerusalem, but when King Hussain gave Israel the Casus Belli, the unification and annexation of East Jerusalem were, in fact, inevitable. Israel has been holding the "West Bank" for many years as a negotiation card, but meanwhile the influence of Jerusalem, i.e. of Zionism, has developed, and during the years of the Likud government formed to a policy of Jewish settlement in "Judea and Samaria"/the West Bank and especially around Jerusalem.

In the pattern of the country which is thus developing, Jerusalem is the geographic center of the country. It is still eccentric demographically, however, so long as only Israeli citizens are counted and the rest are disregarded (as they presently are).

This Israeli settlement policy has gone so far that according to authoritative evaluation (e.g. of Miron Benveniste) a return of the "West Bank" to Jordan (or to a Palestinian State) is no longer possible. I am afraid that this evaluation is correct and the fear I express is of the consequences that this annexation will entail for Israel unless a new vision of Zionism is adopted. The vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem explained here and expressed through the HEJERA model allows, I believe, a partnership with the Arabs in a Zionist vision and a justification to federation government.

To the extent that the HEJERA model inspires the creation of a federation-type arrangement for the whole West Bank of the Jordan (or the "Eretz Yisrael haShlema) it also allows an advantageous and fair unity to the whole land of Palestine/Israel on both sides of the Jordan. In this arrangement of the "Greater Palestine", Jerusalem would be eccentrically occidental geographically (unless the desert areas are disregarded) but demographically she would be central.

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7.3 - The Future Federation of the Holy Land:

It is instructive that the prophet Ezekiel, who introduced the image of the Heavenly Jerusalem and the detailed measures of the reconstructed Temple, also saw the restored land as divided into twelve regions for the twelve ingathered tribes. This is the ideal arrangement of the country for the time of lasting peace.

The modern interpretation of this vision is a federation of fairly autonomous regions in the land of Israel/Palestine. The example of the union of the Swiss Cantons is an appealing one, and federations are quite common worldwide, especially in lands of great ethnic and geographic diversity.

There are many good ecological, civic and cultural reasons to advocate a federation of over half a dozen regions even for "the smaller Israel" and to demand that the autonomy rule promised in Camp David for the residents of the regions of Hebron, Nablus and Gaza be granted first to the Jews of the Tel Aviv region, for example. But the chief practical reason for federation is, of course, ethnic-political. It is the fairest and safest way to give civic rights to the Arabs of the "West Bank", noting (sections 6.6- 10 and 9.2 above) that an independent Palestinian state is not feasible, and since it would create a strong polarization against Israel - a situation which could not remain stable. Even a three nation federation including Jordan would be much better than any of the schemes currently discussed. Yet a more plural federation of some 6-20 regions would be still less polarised and thus inherently more stable. (Had Lebanon adopted such an arrangement it might have saved that country from its current civil war).

At present, nationalistic feelings run so high among both Israelis and Palestinians that such enlightened and practical solutions appear inconceivable. Even when the once Israeli premier (and then minister of defense), Peres, published one such plan in the past it drew no response, just as his mentor, Ben Gurion, did not manage to win his party to a cantonization plan back in the 1930's. Yet, since the Biblical vision of the New Jerusalem, which is at the root of Zionism, does, in effect, contain or endorse such a plan there is hope for the adoption of this scheme as this becomes recognized.

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8. The HEJERA Model for the Design of the Earthly Jerusalem.

The primary place to bring down to earth the Influence of the Heavenly Jerusalem is, of course, the actual Jerusalem. Only in this way can Jerusalem become the unified whole that her name implies. Contemporary Jerusalem has a great diversity -- and also much tension and contradictions. The HEJERA model may help to alleviate these tensions and help make Jerusalem the place for transformation, for the the study of wholeness and transcendence and for its demonstration. Let me illustrate a few possibilities:

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8.1 - Self-Government for Jerusalem's Neighbourhoods:

The canton- type organization of the whole country, fair and good as it may sound, may presently be too utopian. There are no political forces at present, Jewish or Arab, which are ready to champion such an idea. But there is a more evident need and a better likelihood for this reflection of the Heavenly Jerusalem to be applied on a local neighbourhood scale in Jerusalem. To an extent this is already the case in practice - not only the Arab sectors but also the orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods are largely autonomous and prefer to have only minimal contact with the central municipality. A largely unrecognized development in this direction is the many unplanned new Arab settlements around Jerusalem by ex-villagers attracted by the employment in the building boom the (thus possibly vain) "Judaisation of Jerusalem" policy brought. The present trends of this policy, building massive self-contained neighbourhoods like Gilo, Talpiot East and Ramot on the city's outskirts, with the resulting transformation of Jerusalem from a compact city into a metropolitan region also suggest a pattern of local governments. This is the pattern advocated by modern urban planning in many cases of metropolii. Moreover, there is a mounting political need for it. This need has its political opposition, and former deputy mayor Miron Benveniste lost his job for advocating more local rule for Arab Jerusalem, yet the case is politically feasible. Arabs are not likely to simply forget about Jerusalem and let Israel get away with whatever arrangements it imposes. In any future peace talks, Jerusalem will doubtless be a major issue and stumbling block. Outside mediators, including the US, are likely to suggest schemes which demand some changes regarding Jerusalem. Israel is bound to resist any suggestion to re-divide Jerusalem and to establish East Jerusalem as a separate city and capital of a separate Arab state or region. Obviously, Israel will persist in resisting the old U.N. plan for the Internationalization of the Jerusalem region. The most feasible scenario of political accommodation will be to agree on some form of local governments for the distinct neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.

The same political logic which advocates at least six, rather than two or three regions for the country, is no less valid for urban local rule. A single Arab "neighbourhood" would constitute in fact a separate city. Three or four such neighbourhood councils are thus more likely and this then sets the impetus and scale for corresponding Jewish (and mixed) neighbourhoods. This is lucky, perhaps even providential, since political considerations may support the pattern which is appropriate from the viewpoint of human and civic considerations. With some 8-15 candidates, it would be interesting to consider 12 councils as symbolically realizing the pattern of the Heavenly Jerusalem.

The influence of local rule can, and is likely to serve as a model. Though the cantonization plan does not now seem readily feasible, this idea, if applied in Jerusalem, would bring the rest of Israel to follow its lead. Jerusalem is the head and if many Israelis get used to the idea of local Arab councils in Jerusalem, they will come to regard mixed and Arab cantons in the entire country as natural.

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8.2 - Extra-temporal Status for the Old City of Jerusalem:

There is one district of Jerusalem which is unique for the whole world and that is the walled Old City. In any future local rule plans for Jerusalem, the Old City will surely be regarded as distinct. This fact poses a unique opportunity for the realization of the Heavenly Jerusalem pattern.

The Old city can be regarded as the quiet center for the twelve busy sectors around it. Such a centrality of the walled and pedestrian-ruled inner city, which in turn contains the walled and open space of the Haram, which in turn contains the Dome of the Rock, is a clear recapitulation of the centrality of Jerusalem as expressed in the Talmud.

There is a political case for granting a special status to the Old City. Just because Israel is likely to resist the idea of the internationalization of the Jerusalem region (a plan which was resisted even more by the Palestinians in 1947), a special status for the Old City could be used as a political fallback position to defuse many further demands. The recent restoration of the Jewish Quarter and of real Jewish presence within the walls will enable Israel to leave the Old City safely to its own rule.

The above is merely a speculation or a political scenario. The relevant issue from the point of view of the HEJERA is the role of such a special city. This question has been touched upon in this conference about the M.E. city in (Gallantly's discussion of the Medinah and the presentations of San'a and Cairo. The paper by Schleiffer gives us the feeling of the special character of Jerusalem's Old City and the delicate care that it needs and deserves. The primary function for the Old City which I see as appropriate in light of the entire discussion, is that this city shall become the center for religious and inter-faith studies - an ecumenical laboratory. Perhaps by having less commercial activity and crass tourism, more room could be made for those pilgrims who want to come for spiritual pursuits. There is much demand for this and more institutes of Moslem, Christian and Jewish learning could be induced to have their quarters in Old Jerusalem. The extra- territorial or extra-temporal status which could be granted to the Old City might be akin to the academic freedom enjoyed in a good university, though on a larger and more pluralistic scale. There should be a place where Moslems and Jews can pursue not only traditional, but also radical, innovative and even seemingly heretical interpretations of their religion; where adepts of the three Abrahamic religions can meet each other and learn about the respective faiths first hand. It appears now (Yates,1979) that the European Renaissance was due not just to the Greek texts conveyed also via Arab scholarship but also was due to the encounter of free minded Christian mystics and scholars with Jewish Kabbalists who were expelled from Spain. My guess is that such common studies in Jerusalem will help to bring a renascence for the whole Middle East.

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8.3 - Re-valuing Urban Quality:

The image of the New Jerusalem or the Heavenly Jerusalem established on Earth is really an urbanized vision of an Earthly Paradise (Michell,1985). This is a paradise that can be reached - provided that care be taken in the design and maintenance of the urban environment. The problems of rapid urbanization in the Middle East, in fact in the whole developing world have been with us throughout this conference. It is my hope that by reinforcing an ideology which has as its symbol and goal the highest urban quality possible, more attention will be given to matters of urban quality both by governments and by public alike.

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