Getting to Know Your Neighbors


Today, Israel faces many challenges. People ask, “Why is there is so much hostility between the Jews, Muslims, and the West?” and “Is peace even possible?”

In my experience, before diving into complex questions, it is important to first delve into who is sharing the region with Israel and what are their motives?

To get a basic understanding of Islam, the history of where it all started is helpful. It also sets the framework for understanding why such rapid growth and such intractable conflict.

Throughout Islamic history, there have been many scholars that have tried to understand the Koran and its claim as “God’s final message to humanity.” As technology has advanced, so too has the ability to access and share interpretations of the Koran.

Islamic scholars have approved of this advancement in technology as a way to provide more channels of communication, teach, and expand information networks around the Koran. To Muslims, there is no holier religious text than the Koran, however the Hadith is used to help understand the larger context of the Koran, highlighting religious observance.

The Hadith is a collection of sayings that were spoken by Muhammad, as examples of how “good” Muslims should behave. While the Hadith is a scriptural text that practicing Muslims are supposed to follow and apply to their lives, often times fanatical interpretations lead to dangerous results.

Perpetrating an attack of terror, like stabbing civilians, becoming a suicide bomber, or blowing up a bus or train station in the name of Jihad are just a few examples when extreme interpretation turns dangerous.

The Arabic word “Jihad” originally stemmed from humbler roots as the “struggle within oneself on the pathway to God,” however the word has been manipulated and bastardized by terrorists who seek to justify their actions in the name of Allah and Islam.

Many Muslims view Israel and the West as an obstacle to their journey of becoming the “Muslims of Medina.” This is why they call for the destruction of the only Jewish state and incite violence against the Jewish and Israeli people.

Some scholars have made it their mission to convince the West that the actions of radicals killing in the name of God are not acts prescribed to Muslims by the Koran. Radical Islamic groups like Hamas, ISIS, and Al-Qaeda twist and shape their variations of the Muslim religion to satisfy their agenda.

Whatever the case may be, killing due to differences in belief is unacceptable. While I agree that it is not Islam that is the problem, but the authoritarian governments, regimes, and radical groups that manipulate Islam to justify their actions.

As Americans, we enjoy many freedoms and privileges that people in the Middle East do not have. It is however our responsibility to recognize and stand firmly with the one tiny nation in the Middle East where freedom is the status quo.

Israel loves her people and tries to live in peace with her neighbors. As Americans, let’s practice what we preach, if we support humanity, freedom, and democracy we must support Israel unapologetically!