This past week I was in Israel. It was easy while I was there to forget there is a conflict going on. Everywhere I went, including Jerusalem, things were quiet. I was able to enjoy the outdoor malls, the sites and food of the buzzing metropolitans of both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I was able to take in the Jewish mystical city of Tsfat and tour the ruins of Masada.
Nevertheless, even with the quiet, while driving down to the Dead Sea we experienced the roads of Area C of the Oslo Accords under Israeli control, went through checkpoints and saw the barrier between the disputed territories and Israel proper. On the news and through college campuses on the other hand it is difficult to avoid mention of the conflict. Israel is rarely depicted for its own merits but rather filtered through the lens of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
These two aspects to the same land begs the question: How did Israel come to be the state it is today? How did the conflict evolve into what is happening and the facts on the ground? If you want to find out how, why and where the conflict began join us on Monday nights at The Roth Family JCC starting January 6 for Beyond Borders: The History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
At the Taste of Melton this week we explored the ever-evolving Middle East Political Landscape. It was a class that was up to the minute, with speeches just delivered to populations across the Middle East within the last month.
During the beginning of the lesson, learners were given two maps, a map that focused on ethnic diversity in the region and a similar one that demonstrated the religious differences found in the same locations. While the maps themselves don’t depict the conflicts being raged in the region they do illustrate that where there is conflict there are also groups of people who see themselves either ethnically or religiously divergent from their neighbors in the same local.
We as a class were able to dig deep into these maps and had a fascinating discussion on the flash points that lead to conflict in the Middle East. Our discourse centered on the question as to whether land is an identifier that causes conflict or the end goal of a conflict with ethnicity and/or religion being the primary identifier. What are your thoughts on this complex issue? Share your comments below or email me. Better yet, come to the Beyond Borders course starting on January 6, 2020, to explore this and other topics!