Religious factors in territorial disputes: An intra-Jewish view
Author: Shilhav Y.
Source: GeoJournal, Volume 53, Number 3, March 2001 , pp. 247-259(13)
This paper concerns the internal political controversy that polarises the concepts of sanctity and sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel; Palestine). The controversy has deep religious roots in the history of the Jewish people's bonds with their country. The historical elements of which derive from a longing for religious perfection, which included observing Commandments associated with the Land. The destruction of the Temple, the Exile and the devastation of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel broke the chain of such continued observance. Polarisation of the concepts of Sanctity and Sovereignty accentuates the problem of the relation between political sovereignty and national bonds with it. The association of religious affinity with the relatively recent phenomenon of Nation-State sovereignty led many to see religious connotations in political sovereignty. The traditional, religious bond with Eretz-Yisrael, which many of the more secular Israeli public also feel, has existed for generations; conversely, national sovereignty continually changes form, not always conforming to traditional, religious perceptions of dominion over the Land. This raises problems about the link between Jewish religious laws and the political world. Abandoning the knit between national sovereignty and religious bonds may lead to the loss of religious and cultural bonds. The conflict between beliefs and opinions on the one hand and new objective circumstances on the other leads to confrontations that may cause serious harm. Time becomes critical and expediting the processes of appeasement and adaptation is a matter of redoubled importance.
Keywords: religious factors; territorial disputes; sanctity; political sovereignty; Jewish commandments; diaspora; beginning of redemption; national-religious rabbinical leaders; Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox Jews)
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2001-03-01