Rabbi Nava Hefetz
    Rabbi
    quote
    “It didn’t come down with Moses from Mount Sinai and it isn’t something that Mohammad brought – it is in the hands of human beings. I would like each side to recognize the legitimacy of the other side to live on at least part of its national dream and accept a compromise. There is no other choice."

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION

    Lives in: Jerusalem Was born in: Israel Year of birth: 1954 Identity: Israeli, Jewish Type of work: Coexistence/Dialogue/Reconciliation Education Human Rights/Advocacy Religious Work Website: Rabbis for Human Rights Works at Rabbis for Human Rights Interviewer Leora Gal and Anat Langer-Gal Date of Interview 2007

    Nava Hefetz is the Director of Education at Rabbis for Human Rights. In her role, she works with Israeli communities to expose them to the reality of the Occupation, examining its repercussions from a Jewish-universal standpoint. Nava also coordinates an Israeli-Palestinian womens group that meets in Jerusalem.

    • Please tell me a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Rabbis for Human Rights.

      I am Rabbi Nava Hefetz, Director of Education at Rabbis for Human Rights. I have been an activist for many years, not specifically in the field of human rights – I used to be active with Peace Now. I was involved in various protests and then I started to study the Jewish-Universal1 approach to human rights.
      • 1. Jewish Universalism claims that all people are God’s people and that God chooses to have a relationship with all nations, not just the Jewish nation. See “Jewish Universalism.” Sim Shalom. 25 July 2011. http://www.simshalom.com/jewish-universalism.

    • Please tell me about your work at Rabbis for Human Rights.

      My department is involved with scores of projects in Israel, as well as collaborative projects with our Palestinian neighbors. We organize projects in Israel, especially for young people. I believe that in order to change the political reality and to change policy, it isn’t enough to do work on the ground – you have to change peoples’ worldviews. That’s the approach I’m promoting. Today, people in Israel are entrenched in their positions. After so many years of Intifada and bombings, you can sell Israeli society anything. Someone who doesn’t get around and isn’t exposed to the daily reality may be glad that the army is acting against the Palestinians, saying, “They deserve it. They have had their chance.” But, I think the situation is more complex than that. When there is terrorism and your kids are teenagers, you can’t keep them indoors and outside it’s like a game of Russian roulette. So it’s very easy to say, “Let’s show them.” But, I haven’t seen that approach work, so apparently we need to do something else. That brings me back to what I already mentioned: in order to change policies and change things on the ground we need to change peoples’ worldviews. That’s why a large part of my activity is among young Israelis in various environments, including the army. For example, we take soldiers on tours of the separation barrier in Jerusalem.

    • Tell me about cooperation with Palestinian organizations. What are the challenges involved in cooperative work?

      We’re trying to construct projects that will involve people from the other side. Last year, we had two projects involving students who traveled to France. I worked with an organization called Palestinian Vision in East Jerusalem. They have branches in Jenin, Nablus, and Ramallah. It was very difficult. First of all, it was during the middle of the war in Lebanon. There was a lot of hostility. Even though our partners know exactly who our members are and know exactly what we do, they investigated who we are and gave us their seal of approval. I felt that they weren’t talking about returning to the borders of 1967, the Green Line, and that in their view, [Israelis] don’t belong here. It was very difficult for me. Despite the tension, we all came to a workshop on education and nonviolence. Since both sides came, it would seem as though we had a partner, but [the Palestinian organization] came to say they were martyrs. They returned again and again to the issue of suffering. I understand that because I witness their suffering, as opposed to many Israelis who don’t venture out and don’t witness it. But you can’t stay at the level of suffering because it holds up the process. There were two groups at the leadership workshop and I believe in these people. The people in the group from Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah are the next generation of Palestinian leaders. The same is true for the Israeli participants. We tried to guide them through a process despite the bad timing. I want to hold similar meetings here in Israel, but there’s a problem – I think there’s a guiding hand at play. There’s a policy designed not only to separate the two populations physically, with a wall, but also to prevent contact between them. If I want to organize a program in Israel, I won’t be able to obtain entry permits for the Palestinians. If I want to take the Israelis to the West Bank, I’m taking a risk and assuming a very heavy responsibility.1 But let’s say I were willing to do that, the Israelis wouldn’t be permitted to cross over. There is a policy of separation here that is not only physical, such as the wall, but there is separation in practice. Young people from both sides cannot meet and talk and have a real dialogue. During the Oslo period there were meetings in which many issues were swept under the carpet to avoid touching upon the sore spots. For instance, no one dealt with religion. The use of religion for leveraging war and the conflict was completely ignored. This conflict isn’t only political. There is a powerful religious dimension involved in the question of whose land this is. There wasn’t any real educational work done in terms of honoring the other’s identity. We were all part of a big fair, and I think it was one of the big mistakes we made. That’s why everything collapsed. That’s my analysis and I could be wrong. In 2000, at the outbreak of the Second Intifada, the whole business collapsed and there was demonization in both societies, and when there is such demonization it isn’t rational. The meeting we held, the one I’m referring to, took place last year. I discovered a great deal of ignorance on the other side regarding Israel and the history of the conflict. I also experienced their attempt to alter the historical narrative and say, “You were never here,” or, “There were never Jews in Jerusalem. Never. Not 50 nor 150 years ago.” During the 19th century most of the residents in the Old City of Jerusalem were Jews, but that tends to be covered up.2 That’s an example, but there are attempts to undermine the existence of Jewish history in this place. How do you approach this? I think the responsibility falls on us, we the leaders of the organizations that seek dialogue, we need to put an end to this. My red line is the Green Line, not ’48 but ’67.3 We must reach a compromise, there is no alternative.
      • 1. Israelis are not permitted to enter certain areas of the West Bank without a permit issued by the Israeli Civil Administration. See Permits.
      • 2. Jews became the predominant religious group in the Old City of Jerusalem by 1840, equaling the combined populations of Christians and Muslims by 1870. See Ben Arieh, Yehoshua. Jeusalem in the 19th Century: The Old City. New York: St Martin's Press, 1984, p 279.
      • 3. Hefetz refers to the armistice lines after the War of 1967. See again 1967 Borders.

    • During this workshop, did you manage to overcome the difficulties you described?

      It was very difficult. I must say, we took a very big step toward understanding each other even though there was a problem with the group. There wasn’t continuity in the meetings we had with this organization, Palestinian Vision. By April there were many conflicts, including between the Palestinian group leader and myself. In the end, we not only managed to transcend this and resolve the conflicts, but also to each pass it on to the counselors and their groups. The group still keeps in touch through the Internet. Now, if you ask the other organization they will say, “We want to work with the educational department at Rabbis for Human Rights because they respect us.” They acknowledged us and I think that’s very important for real dialogue. This is an asymmetrical situation. On one side you have a sovereign state and on the other side people who live under occupation. The situation is not symmetrical and anything I do can be interpreted in a way that is magnified a hundredfold because of the conflict. Because the situation is asymmetrical, I demand a lot more from myself: to be flexible and to be less offended, even if I am right and the other side is wrong. If I want to create trust on the other side and a sense of authenticity during meetings that’s what I have to do. One of the basic principles is 100% joint decision-making and I think that we Israelis don’t know how to do this, including me. I often fail in this regard. Are you working on a joint project? Even if you were the one who brought in the Palestinians or integrated them into the program, you don’t own the program.

    • Please tell me about the women’s group.

      Palestinian and Israeli women have been meeting every two weeks since the end of August. The meetings are aimed at both learning and trying to create a group that will then go on and do joint projects. It’s extremely difficult. I found the donor, I mean, I bring in the money and through me the money goes to the Palestinian organization. That already creates asymmetry and it’s not a good situation. I try very hard to ensure we do everything together. So, we have two coordinators, we construct the program together, and yet there is still the sense that “You [Israelis] are controlling the program and we [Palestinians] are being controlled.” There’s nothing we can do about that because they’ll feel that way until a sovereign Palestinian state is established and it will no longer be possible to say there is an occupation. But [that sentiment] won’t go away until that happens. What are we doing? What kind of discourse are we introducing to our respective communities? Is this discourse different from what we’re hearing today? How will I, as a graduate of the program, continue and keep working? The Achilles’ heel of all these programs is that they don’t have follow up meetings. This is why the women’s group will begin to plan ongoing joint projects.

    • Why are follow-up meetings important?

      Yehuda Amichai1 wrote a lovely poem called “The Diameter of the Bomb”.2 The diameter of the bomb was what it was, but it impacted different circles in its range, like a stone you throw into water. The first circle is small, but the second is larger, until infinity. By using this image I’m saying, "We began this group, we’ve had our doubts but we’re the small circle." I’m making this small circle larger, so that it grows and grows and becomes much bigger. Its ripples will change the discourse within my society.
      • 1. Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000), born in Germany and immigrated to Israel in 1936, was a Jewish Israeli poet. He was among the first poets to write in colloquial Hebrew and is seen as one of the major influences on modern Israeli poetry. See “Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000).” Jewish Virtual Library. 28 July 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/amichai.html.
      • 2. For an English translation of “The Diameter of the Bomb”, see Amichai, Yehuda. “The Diameter Of The Bomb.” AllPoetry.com. 28 July 2011. http://allpoetry.com/poem/8513183-The_Diameter_Of_The_Bomb-by-Yehuda_Amichai.

    • Why do you choose to focus on women?

      Because I believe in the power of women to bring about change. And, I think women don’t take the reins often enough to create change. Women give life. By virtue of giving birth women take part in divine creation. That’s why women, when their child is taken from them, feel loss magnified a thousand times more than a man. I’m not saying that men don’t hurt, but I think that women have a compassion that we don’t find in men. Women are less aggressive and destructive than men are. Women are more capable of understanding human situations than men are. And most importantly, women are oppressed in every society. That’s why I think women should take responsibility and channel it towards change. Women have an important role to play in leading anti-war movements. For example, take “Four Mothers”,1 who got the army out of Lebanon. It wasn’t Ehud Barak as people tend to think.
      • 1. For more information, see Lieberfeld, Daniel. “Media coverage and Israel’s ‘Four Mothers’ antiwar protest: agendas, tactics and political context in movement success.” Media, War & Conflict, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2009), pp. 317-338.

    • You take groups on tours of the separation barrier. What is the goal of these tours?

      My discourse is very complex. It isn’t the Left’s discourse which says we don’t need a wall. I think today we need a wall and I am in favor of one. On the one hand, this wall is protecting me. On the other hand, I have a problem with its route because it infringes on human rights. The wall was built as a unilateral decision rather than a decision taken by both sides. But, I think we need separation now. I begin the tours with studying Talmudic1 sources. We examine Jewish [theological] sources’ approach to the idea of a wall, a fence between neighbors, and from that we try to understand how that applies to our circumstances. I begin in Gilo, a [Jewish] neighborhood in southern Jerusalem, at the monastery at Tantur and from there we continue northward. In south Jerusalem, the fence is almost built on the ’67 borders. Almost. I show the complexity.
      • 1. The Talmud is comprised of two parts: 1) the Mishna - recorded Jewish oral law; and 2) the Gemara - rabbinic discussions of the law. See “Talmud/Mishna/Gemara.” Jewish Virtual Library. 22 July 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/talmud_&_mishna.html.

    • How do you reconcile your support for the separation barrier with your disagreement with its route and the ramifications of it? Can there be separation without violating human rights?

      There is a need to put up a wall, to separate. I think that nowadays, in order to prevent suicide bombings in Jerusalem, there is no choice. My problem is that it is not a security border, rather, it's a political one. The route of the wall is the municipal border that was delineated by politicians and generals in ’67, and every now and again this route also deviates from the ’67 borders to the detriment of the Palestinians. The wall takes away lands from the Palestinian side and it is this route that causes human rights violations due to the lack of accessibility to hospitals, education and sources of livelihood. That is a problem. It would be possible to change much of the fence’s route if the public in Israel knew what was going on. The problem is that the public in Israel doesn’t know what goes on. The fact is that when I take groups [on tours] they suddenly see and say, “How can you build such a thing? How can you do that in this place?” There is nothing like seeing things with your own two eyes. When I take soldiers on a tour as part of their army service, they are stunned. You can’t stand in Abu Dis in front of the wall and believe that it makes sense.

    • What distinguishes Rabbis for Human Rights and why is it important there be rabbis involved?

      We are spiritual leaders and I think that as spiritual leaders we are committed and obligated to not only deal with laws concerning kashrut,1 driving on Shabbat,2 – this is people’s personal business. The essence of the Jewish teaching is how a society conducts itself, and a society doesn’t only relate to the citizens within that society, but also to people you have occupied in a territory, and to the conditions to which you are subjecting the people. Are you allowed to violate their rights? Jewish sources don’t talk about rights – it speaks in a language of obligations. As a Jew, I’m obligated not to do what we are doing. If I have occupied their land, I am obligated to care for the stranger within and the foreigner and even the enemy. I am obligated – it is my duty to them. Their right derives from my obligation. That’s why I think the Rabbinical voice is a very important one. We are saying that the Jewish world, that the Jewish tradition, does not accept the way human rights are being violated today in the territories under the State of Israel’s control.
      • 1. Kashrut is a set of Jewish dietary laws as set out in various Jewish religious texts. See “Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws,” Jewish Virtual Library. 28 July 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kashrut.html.
      • 2. Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

    • How is the discourse of a Jewish perspective to human rights received in Israel?

      Some accept it better than others. I try to reach people who don’t agree with me. We are a non-partisan organization but we are very political. Everything is political. There’s no point in teaching Jewish sources to people or groups that already understand what human rights are and are prepared to fight for them. My greatest challenge is reaching out to people who think "human rights" is a Leftist term. We have a mixed group of secular and orthodox [Jews]. Most of the orthodox people come from settlements: that’s their ideological core. I gave [a group of settlers] a tour of the wall in Jerusalem and we studied Jewish sources. At the end of it, people came to me and said, “I don’t agree with your perspective, but I want to learn more about human rights.” It wasn’t easy for them and I understood that. It’s difficult for this group because they live beyond the wall. It was hard for them to see what they saw and they understood – they’re intelligent people – they understood that there is something immoral here, that there’s a problem. But they had a hard time accepting it. They kept repeating, “But the suicide attacks.” I said, “True. Suicide attacks. But tell me, what is holy about East Jerusalem, besides the Old City? Really. What is so holy there? Besides, there are almost 220,000 people living in East Jerusalem1 and they aren’t citizens. Look at the infrastructure there. New infrastructure isn’t being constructed, schools aren’t being built, their education isn’t the Israeli educational system. Houses are being demolished because they were built illegally and when they try to get a permit of course they aren’t granted one because the current policy is a maximum amount of land with a minimum number of people.” If you stand in Abu Dis you realize that they have separated families, that there is no difference between the Palestinians on this side and the Palestinians on the other side. People realize this and then they say, “The bombings, the bombings.…” I say, “Don’t you think that we’re throwing these people into the hands of terror and creating even more terrorists? How do you expect a sick boy on the Palestinian side of Abu Dis to reach Al Makassed Hospital which is located on the Israeli side of the wall? Should he have to travel through Ma’ale Adumim?” I’m critical of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for failing to stop Hamas. The PA is as corrupt as our own government. The cement for the wall was bought from Abu Ala, number two in the PA. Palestinians are building the wall, I saw Palestinians building it in Abu Dis. There are nonviolent ways to rebel and achieve recognition as a state. You don’t have to use violence and certainly not suicide. There are other ways to attain statehood, there are alternative ways to struggle. As a religious person, it disgusts me. As far as I am concerned, they are not freedom fighters. I think it is very bad education. Suicide is taboo, it isn’t done.2 It isn’t a tool to be used. Not that we didn’t have terrorists amongst us, including one prime minister.3 But, that prime minister didn’t blow himself up in a café or on a bus or in a club.
      • 1. Hefetz refers to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. See Jerusalem ID.
      • 2. According to both Jewish law and Islam’s major religious text, the Quran, suicide is forbidden.
      • 3. Hefetz refers to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who was a member of the underground Jewish paramilitary groups Irgun (Etzel) and Stern Gang (Lechi), considered by many to have committed terrorist acts against Palestinian Arabs and the British before the establishment of the State of Israel. See Shamir, Yitzhak and Etzel and Lechi.

    • Some people claim that the Israeli army’s violent oppression is impossible to struggle against nonviolently.

      I agree that it is a problem but suicide is not the right message. I’d like to remind you that in the Jewish world one of the greatest myths is Masada. The rabbis, the spiritual religious leadership, were wise enough to put an end to this myth because they realized its potential danger. Human life is sacred. If you want to struggle, struggle against an army but not against civilians. Don’t struggle against civilians, against children. I’m not justifying what our side is doing. Heaven forbid. I think it’s an outrage. I think many of the negative things that happen in Israeli society nowadays, like corruption, stem from forty years of occupation. I have no doubt that if violence is permitted against a people, violence will permeate your [own] society, your family, your community and yourself. I think much of the violence in Israeli society comes from occupation. If you can break into someone’s house and undermine a family’s life and spread fear, then why wouldn’t you also do that in your own home? Why wouldn’t you do that in your own community? It’s a very short distance from there. I can only be responsible for my actions. The responsibility I try to take finds expression in the attempt to open the eyes of as many Israelis as possible. I cannot do more than that. I can try to change perceptions through teaching texts and education. I would like to see similar efforts on the other side. The Palestinian Authority’s textbooks – I’m very sorry to say this – encourage violence. I don’t see our textbooks educating people to hate Arabs.1 Nowadays the textbooks are very different from the ones I used as a girl – they depicted this land as empty. I see from my son’s textbooks that the narrative is very different. It isn’t the narrative I knew, of an empty land.
      • 1. For a critical view of and excerpts from textbooks used by both the Palestinian Authority and Israeli public education systems, see Rotberg, Robert I., ed. Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. To see IPCRI’s analysis and evaluation of Palestinian and Israeli textbooks, see www.ipcri.org/files/peace-education.html.

    • What gave you a different perspective from the narrative you mentioned, of this being a land without people?

      It was a long process. I experienced a crisis after the Yom Kippur War. I was a soldier at the time and we were entering the names of all the soldiers who were killed, missing in action and injured into the computer. Friends of mine were killed and all in the name of this concept of “There’s nobody to talk to.” I think that was the beginning of the disillusionment. I said, “I can’t believe there is nobody to talk to. Yes, this is a conflict but still, it can’t be true that there’s no one to talk to on the other side.” Now we know that, indeed, successive Israeli governments refused to talk to the other side, even when it was possible, and they rejected any proposal that came up out of hand. It’s still true today with regards to the Saudi Initiative. I have no doubt that on the other side they aren’t exactly lovers of Israel. But that can’t be helped. I may be naïve, but I believe if you don’t give up and you invest a quarter, a sixth, an eighth of what you invest in preparing for war in talking to the other side, something good will come out of it.

    • What does the word peace mean to you?

      I can tell you what my dream of peace is. The first stage is a state without warfare – two peoples living in two independent states that people can actually live in, not cantons, but states with territorial contiguity.1 These two nations develop their culture, education, economy and science. That’s the first stage. The, ties are gradually built.
      • 1. Territorial continuity refers to both Israel and a future Palestinian state, particularly the West Bank, having land that is connected with the rest of the state. Territorial continuity is threatened by the existence of Jewish settlements and supporting infrastructure in the West Bank. For a current map of the West Bank, see http://www.btselem.org/download/20110612_btselem_map_of_wb_eng.pdf.

    • Do you think this can be achieved?

      It didn't come down from Mount Sinai with Moses and it isn’t something that Mohammad brought – it is in the hands of human beings. I would like each side to recognize the legitimacy of the other side to live on at least part of its national dream and accept a compromise. There is no other choice. If we want to live without a war that could last two hundred years, we must reach a compromise, and it’s as true for the Palestinian side as it is for the Israeli side.

    • What would you like international audiences to know about the conflict that you think they don’t?

      Today I hear more and more, especially among European audiences, statements such as, "The State of Israel shouldn’t exist, that it was conceived in sin, that the Jews have no hold on this place, that they shouldn’t be here." I know this comes from the guilt they have for throwing the Jews out of Europe and bringing about this situation. Jews have lived here for generations. It was a small community, but even under the Christians, under the Muslim occupation, under the Mamluk occupation, under the Ottoman occupation, Jews have always lived here.1 That’s what they’d like to forget. I feel that there is a new type of anti-Semitism in European discourse today: anti-Israel. I’m saying this very firmly: I have no doubt the State of Israel has a large role and is very much to blame for the situation we’re in because of the occupation.
      • 1. Hefetz refers to different empires or groups that ruled over the area of historic Palestine and the historic kingdom of Israel. For a full history, see Ochsenwald, William and Sydney Nettleton Fisher. The Middle East: A History. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2004.

    • You spoke of a sense of guilt among European audiences as a result of the historical circumstances that led to the founding of the State of Israel. How does your background influence your view on the matter of Palestinian refugees?

      The Palestinian refugees won’t be able to return. That’s irreversible. In ‘48 my grandmother and her entire family became refugees. She had a clinic in Cairo, a house in Cairo and one in Alexandria and she can’t go back. She is no longer alive but we can’t go back there. The same is true for 1.2 million Jews who left Arab countries.1 You can’t turn back the clock. I think today Europeans are trapped in their desire to return the Palestinian refugees to Palestine. When a Palestinian says, “This is the key to my house in Ramle, can I go home?” I say, “No! This is the key to my house in Cairo and I can’t go back.” There’s nothing you can do. This is the reality and we have to decide whether what we want is to fight for another hundred years or if we want to put an end to this. You can’t go back in time. Today, there is consensus in Israeli society [regarding the right of return]. In the same way I can’t return to Cairo, they can’t return to Jaffa. On Israel’s part, I think there should be recognition on the national level that there was an expulsion and there was a war here. I’m willing to waive the compensation fees for both my grandmother’s houses and her clinic for the benefit of rehabilitating Palestinians. I’m sure that all those of North African origin would agree to do the same if the State of Israel committed to rehabilitating the refugees in Judea and Samaria. The refugees will not return and I think they know it. The refugees won’t be coming back and I think they know that. That’s why I think their leadership is irresponsible. I also think the settlers’ leadership isn’t acting responsibly because they aren’t preparing the settlers for the day after the settlers are evacuated. And they will be evacuated. It will take a year, five years, but the settlers will be evacuated and they aren’t being prepared for it. Yochanan Ben Zakkai,2 a true leader, said, “We lost Jerusalem, let us go to Yavne. Let’s continue to develop the Jewish culture. We’ll create a strong foundation that will allow people to overcome this trauma, this crisis.” We don’t see a Yochanan Ben Zakkai, either on the Israeli side or on the Palestinian side, who says, “Gentlemen, you will not return to Jaffa. You will not return to Ramle. Let’s build a state here that will be an example to all the nations.” As we know, no conflict has ever been resolved by force. I studied history carefully and conflicts are ultimately decided through negotiations, including population exchanges and territorial exchanges. Nothing is dictated from the heavens. After World War II, two million German citizens who lived in Poland and had become Polish were returned to Germany.3 There was an exchange. And that can happen when you don’t sanctify stones but you sanctify human lives, because that, in the end, is what should be sanctified.
      • 1. Between 1948 and 1976, over 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries were expelled or left due to discrimination and other pressures. See Aharoni, Ada. “The Forced Migration of Jews from Arab Countries and Peace.” August 2002. The Neaman Institute, Israel Institute of Technology-Technion. 29 July 2011. http://www.hsje.org/forcedmigration.htm.
      • 2. Yochanan Ben Zakkai (30-90 CE) was a pacifist Jewish rabbi who was responsible for the continuation of Jewish scholarship after Rome took over Jerusalem in 70 CE. He created a small school outside of Jerusalem in a city called Yavne. The school became a center for Jewish religious learning. See “Yochanan ben Zakkai.” Jewish Virtual Library. 28 July 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/ben_zakkai.html.
      • 3. Following World War II, Poland expelled a large number of people categorized as ‘Germans’, and some were used as forced labor by the Soviet army. For more information, see Kamusella, Tomasz. “The Expulsion of the Population Categorized as ‘Germans’ from the Post-1945 Poland.” The Expulsion of the ‘German’ Communities from Easter Europe at the End of the Second World War. Eds. Steffen Prausner and Arfron Rees. Florence, Italy: European University Institute. Working Paper, 2004, http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/2599/HEC04-01.pdf;jsessionid=63BB2B2EE0110597FE3E43BD75CFAD24?sequence=1.

    • What is the connection between sovereignty and religion?

      My connection to the City of the Patriarchs will not be less strong because there are Palestinians there – it doesn’t belong to me any less. But there is a reality and today we have almost 1.5 million human beings [in the West Bank] so we have to be realistic. I cannot go and take over Hebron – I mean, I can because the state makes it possible – but, according to my worldview, I cannot. What I try to say to young people is, don’t take things for granted. Question everything. Study these matters, examine them in depth, read – not newspapers – read academic studies. Go out, see what is happening on the ground and then decide, then form an opinion.