Local elections are going to be held in Israel on October 22. And just like in every election, some far right parties created controversy with their discriminative language in their election campaigns. One of the slogans that caused particular reaction was Likud’s poster on its website which read as follows: ‘Want to hush the muezzin in Jaffa? Only Likud can do that.’
Right underneath that very controversial note, Arnon Giladi’s words stuck out, who was on top of the list of candidates:
“The existence of a patriotic Palestinian autonomous region, which alienated itself from the values of the state of Israel, just a couple of kilometers away from the city center, is unacceptable.’
First of all, such discriminative tone that is devoid of any love or compassion against Muslims in Jaffa, where some 18 thousand Palestinians live, is unacceptable and is a direct move against personal rights and liberties.
Politicians have a responsibility towards their societies to be constructive and uniting. Surely, this is a responsibility for every human being, but it gets even more important when one is a politician.
One of the goals of the politicians is producing policies that will be championed by their supporters. However it is of paramount importance that they avoid extremist tone which would cause tension and discomfort in the society.
The most fundamental goal of politicians is to make people happy and comfortable and it will be a big mistake if they limit their duty only to their voters.
In the case of Jaffa, which is one of the oldest Arab cities going back to as old as 7500 BC, and mentioned plenty of times in Torah, it is obvious that using a discriminative policy as a propaganda tool against Arabs, will make people worried and uncomfortable.
People that lived in those lands suffered so much throughout the history. Usually they suffered because of the dominating policies of the ruling powers. Such policies went on for centuries and never brought any happiness and will definitely not in the future, either.
Peace in societies, especially those housing different cultures and ethnicities, can be ensured only through mutual understanding and love. Love is in the essence of the threeAbrahamic religion.
Every faithful Christian, Muslim and Jew living in these lands know that their religion is based on love and religious people can truly experience this love.
Religious Jews should be reminded of the following advises in Torah:
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalms, 133:1)
There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. (Proverbs, 12:20)
… Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? (Malachi, 2:10)
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. (Psalms, 37:37)
These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them… ” (Genesis, 34:21)
These beautiful words in Torah show us that faithful people can coexist with peace and love. Because we all believe in the same God, we all love the same God and we all fear the same God.
In such a society, as there is no compulsion and domination exerted by religion, not only religious people, but also atheists will experience utmost freedom and happiness as well. Religion offers full freedom and liberty to all.
If Likud Party seeks victory in elections, it should avoid such separatist tones and opt for a religious tone that encourages love and peace. Such an attitude will earn it the trust of bothreligious Jews and Muslims.
Jaffa is an amazing city with its cultural richness and legacy. The decoration used in the Prophet Solomon’s Temple, was brought from this very city to Jerusalem. Prophet Jonah sailed off from this city and pharaohs of Egypt fought to get it.
The cultural richness of this city with various monasteries, synagogues, mosques and plenty of Ottoman works, is a beauty and asset for the locals. Hearing call to prayer, hearing church bells in these holy lands, is a color that evokes amazing feelings in one’s soul, and only adds to the historical atmosphere of the city.
Call to prayer is call to God, to love and to worshipping. Church bells, in the same way, are beautiful calls that remind people of God. Those who look with love, will find peace, happiness and love in these calls.
It is of paramount importance that political parties discriminative policies to ensure peace in societies, especially at times when the world needs peace more than ever. This is a great responsibility they have to their communities and more importantly to the humanity.
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