Both Jews and Arabs hold fixed ideas that are believed to stem from the scriptures and perpetuate the conflict between us. Yet a fresh, penetrating interpretation of the scriptures (a whole-Israeli Midrash), can show a different insight, and or even an entirely different intention than the common (exilic) understanding. In my humble opinion, this is also the case of the prevailing notion - that the Torah of Israel commands the establishment of "a Jewish State" in the Land of Israel. In fact, the Torah says that the Land of Israel belong to "The People of Israel", and actually never mentions "the Jewish People".
Reading afresh the Hebrew Torah shows that the Book of Genesis is actually written in the future tense, and hence, it is not merely a history book, but more a book of prophecy and instruction for the current era (the latter part of "the Sixth Millennium" of the Hebrew calendar). Another insight is hinted by findings of recent genetic research, that most Arabs of the Holy Land carry the unique genes specific to Jews, and are thus descended from the Israelites.
Genesis deals with major universal human problem: indeed, all human beings are brothers, yet in reality there are conflicts and wars among them. The pattern of Creation ( In Hebrew Bri'ah, related also to habhra'a - Healing) comprises six stages of action and a seventh phase of holiness. The Book of Genesis uses the same pattern to describe the six stages in which the relations develop between the brothers in conflict. Their names change, but in fact this is one story in six phases, where each phase refines something, until the pattern is complete, allowing for complete reconciliation between the brothers.
1) Adam's sons, Cain and Abel had a dispute. The firstborn murdered the preferred younger one. Conclusion: Although we are all human beings (Bnei Adam), as people of goodwill always remind us, this dos not a sufficient basis for reconciliation.
2) Noah's sons were divided and sent off to different continents to prevent bloodshed. Then Ham disgraced the common father and causes the descent of his own son Canaan to status of slavery. Nowadays, conventional Zionism is trying to deprive the "natives" (Am ha'Aretz) of no civil rights (i.e. slaves), and this is no prospect for a stable solution.
3) Abraham was sent to the land of Canaan (which is factually the center of the continents (, so that all "the families of the earth" may be blessed by his seed. But when the issue of inheritance rose, the firstborn - Ishmael the son of the bondwoman - was removed, and Isaac, the son of the mistress, inherited the land. Many well-meaning people remind, "We are all the Children of Abraham". Yet though it is possible to show refinement in the relations of Ishmael and Isaac, as none was killed and they both united in honoring their father at burial. But in effect, this narrative leads to the expulsion of the Arabs from the Land of Israel, as they are conceived (by the Jews, and by themselves through the prophet Mohammad) as "Children of Ishmael". This expulsion has already happened in 1948 and is a major cause for the continuing war.
4) Also still the children of Isaac, the twins Esau and Jacob, there arose the worry that the older brother would kill the younger on who undermined his seniority and inheritance. This time the youngster (Jacob) would be exiled, and acquire the resources there. When Jacob would return, he might reconcile with his older brother (Esau), but continues to deceive him and refuses Esau's offer of reunion. By Jewish interpretation, the sons of Jacob are the Jews and the sons of Esau the Christians, but among Christians, this is exactly the opposite. Only at the phase would form the entity of "Israel" (and the historical dispute over who are "the True Israel" may, in principle, be settled by the inclusion of the "Christian Zionists" among the community of Israel).
5) The stage of "Jacob's Children", actually through the contention of the sisters presents a settlement for the conflict between mistress and bondwoman. After the "Jacob" (namely "follower", of the traditional outlook) matures and becomes "Israel" (capable of struggle and identity resolution) there appears the principle of the Dozen. The Twelve Tribes allow a stable structure of changing coalitions instead of the dual polarity ("us" vs. "Them"). "The Children of the maids" (whose status recalls the inferior status of the Arabs of the land today) receive a similar civic status as the sons of the mistresses. In practice, the brothers continue to struggle, but the common framework holds up. The additional side of "Joseph" (Yoseph in Hebrew, literally "will add") - the one who came to prominence abroad and could estrange from his brothers led by Judah (here we reach the Jews) - may decide to return and be added to the People of Israel, adding strength and resources to Israel.
6) The stage of "Children of Joseph", brings about a solution to the competition between the brothers. There is a prior pact between them and they can be included in among the tribes of Israel - while keeping the perfect framework of the dozen. It is interesting to note that in our days there are millions of Christians and Mormons who believe that the USA is "Ephraim". It seems that the American support that helps Israel to survive marks the possibility of adding tribes of Zionist citizens to Israel, thus ensuring the demographic and political balance and enhance Judah's seniority.
7) The ideal phase of brotherly relations (described in the book of Exodus), which is analogous to the Sabbath that arrives after the six days of creation, is the story of Moses and Aaron, who share harmoniously in the service of the tabernacle. This closes the story that started with the struggle of ritual worship between Cain and Abel. It seems that the meaning of this stage for our times is a joint harmonious Muslim-Jewish-Christian + management of the entire Old City of Jerusalem as a temple and a "spiritual service station" for the whole world. This could be the fulfillment of the promise given to Moses that Israel should become a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6).
More details in 'The Hope' web site, in my essay in 'HopeWays', and in my essay "Seven Stages of Brotherhood", published recently in Hebrew in the anthology "Life as a Midrash - Studies in Jewish Psychology", (Yediot Aharonot Books).
Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-man, cyber-architect, 5/August/2004