Courtesy Reuters

Toward Peace in Palestine

MANY of the basic problems of life defy complete solution. The Jewish problem is one of these. It is made up of so many complex elements -- religious, moral, political, economic, social, racial, historical -- that it is a difficult task even to formulate it, let alone speak of "solving" it. Most of the solutions which are put forward are over-simplifications. But Jews and non-Jews can attempt to understand the problem and labor together for a free and just society. And in the measure society is just and free, in that measure Jews and Judaism will find their appropriate places and functions.

Palestine must occupy an important place in any consideration of the Jewish problem. It is unique among the lands of the earth -- the Holy Land of three great monotheistic faiths. It is also the Land of Israel, with which the People Israel have been associated from Bible times to this day. Would that it were large and empty enough to absorb millions of persecuted, wandering Jews and to be constituted into a Jewish state! Some object to this conception on the ground that politics and religion have nothing to do with one another. But politics is one of the most profound of mankind's spiritual concerns. How men are to live together and be governed is a spiritual question with far-reaching implications. The fact remains that Palestine is small and is not empty. Another people has been in possession for centuries, and the concept of Palestine as a Jewish state is regarded by many Arabs as equivalent to a declaration of war against them. To those who contend that Palestine is the Promised Land of the Jews, I would say that it is necessary to distinguish between Messianic expectations and hard reality. When the late Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Rabbi Kuk, was asked by the Shaw Commission in 1930 what his attitude was toward restoration to the Jews of the site of Solomon's Temple, where the Mosque of Omar now

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