Chapter 4 – Group 4



p.80 “Within hours of the army’s taking of the Temple, bulldozers began destroying Palestinian homes in front of the Wailing Wall, making it accessible to Jews for the first time in centuries.”

Wailing Wall:

A sacred place, and pilgrimage destination in Jerusalem known to Jews as the ‘Western Wall’.  It is the remaining supporting wall of the Second Jerusalem Temple erected by Herod the Great in the first century BCE, after its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.  Since then the structure has played a prominent role in Jewish religious life – it is believed to contain a divine presence and therefore can never be destroyed.  According to tradition, it has been a place of assembly and prayer for the Jewish people since sultan Suleiman the conqueror granted the Jewish people permission to hold services there.

For Muslims, it has helped form the Haram-es-Sherif, or The Noble Sanctuary, which is their third holiest place, only after Mecca and Media.  From 1948-1967, Israelis were not able to visit the wall, but when Israelis gained control after the Six-Day War the praying area was expanded.  Today it is a popular site for bar mitzvahs and army swearing-in ceremonies.


For the people of Israel, regaining the wall was a huge victory.  Aslan points out that they were able to gain the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Height, the entirety of Biblical Israel, by the end of the Six Day War.  For the Israelis the Wailing Wall is much more than a place of prayer, many believe they gained it through a divine intervention.

Works Cited:

“WESTERN WALL”  The Oxford dictionary of the Jewish Religion  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011  <>

“Wailing Wall”   The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Ed F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press Inc. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011  <>

“Western Wall”  World Encyclopedia. Philip’s, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011

“The Western Wall.” The Israeli Mosaic. Web. 06 Sept. 2011. <>.

p.78 “His father was one of the leaders of a movement of Religious Zionists who believed that the establishment of the state of Israel would soon initiate  the coming of the Messiah and the redemption of humanity.”


A person who identifies with Zionism.


A Jewish nationalist movement that started near the end of the nineteenth century.  It routed for the establishment of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine (the land of Zion).  The term was coined by Nathan Birnbaum in 1891 to express the political efforts of this group of people.  However, the movement has roots from sixth century BC.  In 1897 Theodor Herzl established the World Zionist Congress at Basel, Switzerland.  In 1917, the congress secured British approval in the Balfour Declaration and from there Jewish emigration to Palestine grew in the 1920s and 1930s.  The desire for a separate state became an especially strong concern after the Holocaust during which six million Jews were murdered; a single Jewish nation would be able to house the people, preventing such a tragedy.  Therefore, in 1947 the United Nations decided to partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs, thus founding Israel.


For the Zionists, Israel was much more than a matter of everyday safety.  They believed having their own Jewish state would bring about the Messiah, and therefore help humanity.

Works Cited:

“Zionism”  World Encyclopedia. Philip’s, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011  <>


“Zionism”  A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion. Louis Jacobs. Oxford University Press, 1999. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011


“Flags Around the World.” Globalconnects. Wikispaces, 2001. Web. 6 Sept. 2011. <,r:1,s:0>.

p.80 “Rabbi Kook’s eldest son, Tzvi Yehuda Kook, the founder of the radical settler movement Gush Emunim (The Believer’s Bloc), argued that even the Holocaust had been “a cruel divine operation in order to lift [the Jews] up to the land of Israel against their wills.”

Gush Emunim:

A right-wing political movement formed by the Kook family and other religious leaders from Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in February of 1974.  Its goal was to create settlements in territories gained by Israel over the Six Days War as a way to prevent territorial concessions.  It was rooted in the belief that the acquisition of the land of Israel was God’s first action in redeeming His people.  By 1980, the movement had been officially broken down, but many of its leaders took up prominent roles within the local and national political arenas and therefore there is still evidence of it in Israeli society.


As the shofar and all other conservative Jewish groups demonstrated, this land is interconnected with their religious life.

“Inspirers of AFSI.” Americans For A Safe Israel. AFSI. Web. 6 Sept. 2011. <,r:0,s:0>.

“GUSH EMUNIM”  The Oxford dictionary of the Jewish Religion  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011

p.78 “Yet here was Goren, a mere forty-eight hours later, racing through the heart of the Old City – a Torah scroll tucked under his arm, a ram’s horn, or shofar, in his hand – triumphant on his was to reclaim the Temple Mount.”

p.81 “With the call of the shofar ringing in their ears, the Religious Zionists set to work creating an unalterable reality on the ground by settling captured Palestinian lands.”


It is the horn sounded on Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year festival.  Leviticus describes this as the day of blowing the horn.  Preference is given to the ram’s horn but any clean animal (sheep, goat, antelope, etc.) can be used, except for the cow (which cannot be used because the Jewish people once worshipped the golden calf, so it would be inappropriate to appear before God on the day of judgment that would recall that past event).  The call of the horn is thought to evoke primitive man, and also carries a lot of symbolism.  Shofar is derived from the Hebrew word shefoferet which means ‘tube’ and therefore implies hollowness.  This makes the shofar an empty vessel, one that only becomes important when man fills it with his breath.  Therefore it is a symbol of a human being on Rosh Ha-Shanah, which can easily be compared to a person filled with the spirit of God.

Commentary:  The action of the shofar being blown at the events being mentioned in the text is a symbolic one – it shows how deeply they believe God is directly involved in their acquisition of the lands.

“Shofar – a Jewish Symbol.” Academy BJE – Home Page. Web. 07 Sept. 2011. <>.

“Shofar”  A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion. Louis Jacobs. Oxford University Press, 1999. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011

“Google Images.” The Taos Jewish Center. Web. 07 Sept. 2011. <>.

p. 81 “However, its current alignment with the right-wing Likud party, whose platform rejects the possibility of a Palestinian state and refers to the Occupied Territories by their biblical names, Judea and Samaria, now allows member of Gush Emunim to engage directly in the implementation of government policies in the Occupied Territories.”

Occupied Territories:

Refers to the territories in the Middle East gained in the days following the Six Days War in 1967.  It includes the West Bank and the Golan Heights; the Israelis withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.  Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 stated ‘the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’ and demanded:

  1. ‘The withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict
  2. The Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats of acts of force’


Commentary: Laws that demand the respect of the Palestinian people are not going to be followed if they refuse to recognize Israel as an independent territory.

“Occupied (Palestinian) Territories”  Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011

Heath. Oxford University Press 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011  <>

p.82 “Indeed, just as zeal provided a symbol of spontaneous individual action that united the various revolutionary groups in first-century Palestine across regional, religious, and social boundaries, so now does it unite a broad coalition  of Religious Zionists, ultra-Orthodoz haredim, ideological settler groups (residents of Itamar, Rahelim, Yitzhar, Shalhevet Ya, Amona, Har Bracha, and dozens of other mostly illegal settlements dotting the West Bank), and yeshive students, who together have formed what the French scholar religions Gilles Kepel terms a ‘re-Judaization movement’ in Israel.”


Includes several Jewish sects who hope to maintain traditional and Orthodox Judaism through faithfulness to original forms of Jewish law.  This seeks to not only act against the secularizing world, but Jews who have simply modernized their faith or do not recognize Israel as spiritual authority.  The name literally means ‘one who trembles (in awe at the word of God).’

Commentary:  This is a more conservative Jewish group that is more likely to identify with Zionism of the Gush Emunim.

“Haredim”  The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Ed. John Bowker. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011

“Haredi noun”  Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  6 September 2011  <>

Re-Judaization Movement:

Because many Jewish groups found Western culture to be empty, in the 1970s, several movements sought to rediscover the Torah and observe the commandments as a way to find meaning in their lives.  They viewed their religion as a place of refuge against the horrors of secularism and modernism – their goal was to turn Israel into a kingdom of Israel.  When this failed they started the re-Judaization process over, starting with education and adherence to Jewish laws.  In Israel in the 1980s they gained some success in the political arena.

Re-Judaization was used by both Islamists and Gush Emunim who resorted to violence and rejected democracy as a political option.


Re-Christianization and re-Islamification movements also exist.  All are based upon the idea that their religion is superior and they need to act against the modernization and secularization of the world.

“The Revenge of God: The Resurgence of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in the Modern World | Journal of Ecumenical Studies | Find Articles at BNET.” Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Web. 07 Sept. 2011. <>.

p.83 “Thus, the homes of Israelis who have criticized illegal settlements have been distributed in Jerusalem offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills a member of the Israeli advocacy group Peace Now, which favors dismantling the settlements as part of a peace plan with the Palestinians.”


Peace Now:

Formed in 1978 during the Israeli-Egyptian peace talks, it is the largest extraparliamentary movement in Israel and the country’s oldest peace movement.  The group is based on the belief that now only the Israelis should be able to live peacefully within their borders, but the Palestinians should be able to as well.  Peace now is an Israeli movement, but is also works with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.  The movement supports the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel along the lines of the 1967 border, using the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as the basis for peace agreements.

Commentary: It is clear that Reza Alsan is trying to move the focus away from Islamic violence, onto Jewish violence – showing that all groups can be violent as opposed to shedding light on more peaceful sects of Islam.

Galia Golan “Peace Now”  The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace / Nigel Young, editor.  Sweet Briar College.  7 September 2011

“Sharp Kid Buys Peace Now Domain, Reaction Not Peaceful.” Israel Matzav. 8 Dec. 2010. Web. 6 Sept. 2011.


p.83 “It was one of these Jewish radicals, Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin after he had signed the Oslo Peace Accords, which promised to return lands seized in 1967 to the Palestinians as a first step toward a lasting peace.”


Olso Peace Accords:

On September 13, 1993 at a conference in Washington it was signed.  It was a peace settlement, which determined a series of principles for Palestinian autonomy.  Israel would recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as a legitimate representative for the Palestinian people, and the PLO would recognize the sovereignty of Israel and renounced violence in the pursuit of lasting peace.

Commentary: So much of Israel and Palestine do not want to reach any sort of peace settlement in which either one would have to sacrifice in any way – this only breeds violence and retaliation, as demonstrated by the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin that Aslan mentioned.

 “Oslo Accords”   A Dictionary of Contemporary World History. Jan Palmowski. Oxford University Press, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Sweet Briar College.  7 September 2011

“Oslo Peace Accords.” Boker Tov, Boulder! Web. 6 Sept. 2011. <,r:1,s:0>.

p.83 “‘According to the Halacha [Jewish law] you can kill the enemy.’”


The body of Jewish law that regulates all aspects of life, including familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews.  Unlike Church canon law or Muslim Sha’aria law which are exclusive to their religion, it considers its teaching applicable for all “Noahide” people (people who survived the flood).  As an adjective it means “of a legal nature.”  The plural is a signifies a collection of laws.  These laws can appear in orally as codified in the Mishna, the Mishna Torah of Maimonides and the Shulhan Arukh by Joseph Karo.  Until it faced challenges with secularization, it was the most important unifying force for the Jewish people.

Commentary: For much of the Jewish population in Israel, Judaism is much more than their religion, it is their way of life.  Therefore, there is going to be strong concern when the Halacha begins to lose power doe to the rise of secularization or more liberal religious views.

halakah or halacha.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Credo Reference. Web. 06 September 2011.

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