Peace Movements, Religious

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Within Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967, Orthodox Judaism has politically largely become associated with an uncompromising stance concerning issues of territory and the Arab-Israel conflict. This has become an integral part of the ideologies and policies expressed by the *National Religious Party and *Gush Emunim. Over the years, however, a number of small, religious peace movements have been founded in an attempt to promote an alternative message based, also, on recourse to religious and theological sources.

Oz ve-Shalom ("Strength and Peace") was founded in the 1970s by religious intellectuals as a religious response to Gush Emunim. The movement called for territorial compromise and for ending control over millions of Palestinians. It had only a minor influence on the religious population, and most of its impact was on the general Israeli public.

In the wake of the Lebanon War of 1982, the Netivot Shalom ("Paths of Peace") Movement was founded as an umbrella organization consisting of members of Oz ve-Shalom and of members of yeshivot hesder (yeshivah studies combined with army service).

Netivot Shalom was headed by rabbis such as Aaron *Lichtenstein and Yehudah Amital, and by religious intellectuals such as Uriel Simon and Aviezer *Ravitzky. Its members called for withdrawal from the territories in exchange for peace and emphasized humanistic values in light of religious sources.

In 1988, a moderate religious political party, Meimad, was founded under the leadership of Rabbi Amital. This party failed to obtain the minimum number of votes necessary for a seat in the Knesset, and this was seen as a clear indication of the limited religious support for a moderate stance on the question of the territories. Meimad was reformed early in 1993 as an ideological and educational organization to lend support to the renewed peace process of the Rabin government, and later became an independent political party which then joined the Labor Party to form "One Israel." Following the Labor victory in the 1999 elections, Meimad's representative, Rabbi Michael *Melchior, served as a minister in Ehud Barak's government.

In 1992, the Committee of Rabbis for Human Rights was formed and obtained some prominence in its support of Palestinian human rights. Unlike the other religious peace organizations, the Rabbis for Human Rights was composed of rabbis from all the major religious streams–Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform.


You Must Not Remain Indifferent (1988); D. Newman, in: L'eylah, 31 (1991), 4–10; T. Hermann & D. Newman, in: C. Liebman (ed.), Religious and Secular: Conflict and Accommodation between Jews in Israel (1992), 151–172. add. bibliography: Torah, Zionism, Peace: A Collection of Essays (Heb., 1982); "Oz V'Shalom: A Moment Interview," in: Moment, 117 (1986), 25–30, 44–46; Y. Landau (ed.), Religious Zionism: Challenges and Choices (1986); Violence and the Value of Life in Jewish Tradition (1987).

[David Newman]

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Peace Movements, Religious

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