Inter-Religious Peace in Israel /Palestine
Seed for Peace Worldwide
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A view of the future
The question of peace in the Holy Land is a very delicate one.
If I were to spell these things out to you directly you might misunderstand.
Since I want you to understand, I am inviting you on a journey to another time:
Please follow me into the future, I don’t know exactly how many years, but let’s say 60 years from now – since now it is about 60 years since the madness of the German Nazis was brought to an end.
So please imagine a time, something like 60 years from now, maybe more, maybe less - when the Middle East conflict really has been solved.
The madness of this conflict will be utterly gone, as radically as the madness of the Nazis is gone now.
In about 60 years from now – the present age of mutual misunderstanding, mistrust, and mistreatment will be over.
There will be a new age of mutual respect, mutual understanding and cooperation.
Please come with me into that time, when the Middle East conflict will have disappeared. All hate and anger and frustration will be gone, things of the past, well remembered but gladly put aside for the wonderful solutions that have been found.
Please imagine vividly what that time will be like!
Go into that time now with your whole being: wherever you look you will see reconciliation and justice.
All injustices and the pain of the past have been taken care of by a fair process of negotiation.
In that future age people will show mutual respect
Now you are in that age of peace – and there you can hear
a typical Jew saying: How could we have been that blind? How could we have disregarded the fear our mighty acquisition of their land would cause? – and that out of that fear we would have to face resistance, refusal, and even terror? How could we have been surprised?
Unfortunately we were frightened out of our wits after what we had been through in the Nazi gas chambers and on doomed refugee ships. Only a few of us survived the Holocaust and they desperately tried to reach a safe haven, our ancient Promised Land – but the survivors had barely arrived when we were attacked in an attempt to drive us into the sea! This was too much! Our ancestors could not take it! And so they reversed the attack and drove many inhabitants off their land. After having been victims of the biggest genocide of all times – we Jews had to realize that we too were capable of becoming monsters.
In that future age you will hear a typical Muslim say: How frightened our forefathers must have been by this mighty movement of the Jews, so much so that they forgot the basic principle of Islam: to be merciful and benevolent. Had we remembered the true Muslim way, we would have invited this battered people after World War II to regard this land as their own land. We would have said: Come, there is room enough for both of us!
Of course we would have asked to be reimbursed for anything they needed from us, but then we would have let them have their old Promised Land. We would have come to an arrangement with them. Of course they would have had to respect us, and we would have had to talk about all conflicting ownership interests. But surely after our merciful approach we would have found a benevolent reply and solutions would have been found for all remaining questions.
And in that future time you will hear a typical Christian say: After World War II we were ridden with guilt. Some of us had actually tried to eradicate the Jewish people. Therefore we wanted them to have their old Promised Land. We didn’t think of the inhabitants of that land. We didn’t think of the conflict that would necessarily cause. And then, once the conflict was there, we were only too happy to see that not only we were capable of becoming monsters, both the parties had that capacity too!
But now, all of us have had enough of the monster game, of the “we are good and you are evil” - game. Therefore we have tried hard to find our way back to being human, and happily we have found it. We have found mutual respect, understanding and cooperation as the source of peace and true prosperity.
People want to express their gratitude in a memorial sanctuary
After people had begun to talk that way all three groups got together to settle their problems.
After they had found satisfying solutions they again got together to contemplate how they could express their feelings of gratitude for their newly found respect and mutual understanding in a more visible way. They wanted to demonstrate their way to peace as a guide for future generations.
They wished to create a memorial site, not so much to remember the horrors of the past but as a guide to peace for all future generations.
On their way to mutual appreciation and peace they had been able to make great progress after they had started to contemplate their common father Abraham. He had taken a radical step to change history.
Therefore the memorial site they wanted to build needed to express Abraham’s courageous turning away from the beliefs of his forefathers in multiple gods.
The conflict of the past had become possible only because the followers of each of the three Abrahamic religions had started to regard the other religions as their enemies; they somehow had lost their subordination to the one God of Abraham. Somehow they had again narrowed their view and thereby created images of God following their group interests.
If they wanted to secure peace now they had to expressly re-integrate themselves into a greater whole, in which each of the three religions and their full variety were only parts; one of them could never be the whole but each represented only an aspect of the whole. They now had to express their firm intention to step down from any illusion of grandeur, from believing themselves to be the only ones who could be right. They would have to make sure that all future generations would face up to the greater truth of the One, in which the followers of the other faiths could be just as correct as they themselves knew themselves to be on the right path.
Therefore the memorial monument they needed would have to demonstrate this greater whole and within that whole the full variety of the children of Abraham must find its place.
The first part of the memorial is already there
In that spirit they looked at the main site of conflicting ownership claims, Haram Ash-Sharif, the Temple Mount, and they saw: this was their common ground. This would have to be the site of the new memorial monument. And one part of it was already there. It had a connection to the beginning as well as to the end:
In the end it was the site of the Prophet Mohammed’s ascension to the Heavens. In memory of that the Muslims had built the Dome of the Rock at that spot.
In the beginning, at least according to the view of “the people of the Book”, that place was the site of Abraham’s sacrifice.
In the eyes of the Prophet Mohammed, Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice what was dearest to him, his own son, makes him the archetype of the true Muslim.
So in more ways than one the Dome of the Rock stands at exactly the right spot and is therefore the perfect basic section of the new memorial monument.
What about the Jewish Temple?
But long before the construction of the Dome of the Rock the very same site had hosted the greatest sanctuary of its time: the Jewish Temple. Twice it had been destroyed, but in the time we are visiting now, in the year 2067 or the Jewish year 5827, the old dream of a New Temple is still alive in Judaism.
The first two Temples had been built at the location of Abraham’s sacrifice. Therefore the Third Temple again would have to be placed at that site – but meanwhile that site was already occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock. How could that dilemma be solved without recreating the old conflict?
The Jewish narrative calls for the Messiah to build the New Temple, so we don’t need to worry about building it - but it also calls for the people of all nations to come to Jerusalem to worship the one God there, and we can speculate about that.
If the formerly warring parties, the Jews and the Palestinians, have, against all odds, now found a way to peace, if Jews and Palestinians have been able go right into the center of their conflict, and solve the contradicting ownership interests on the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, then a miracle has taken place, and that miracle certainly will have the effect of attracting people from all over the world!
Contemplating that miracle the formerly warring parties saw: God has willed different religions, different permanent ways to find true communication with Him. And now the time had come, in which the people of each of these paths could re-integrate themselves into the greater whole without losing their own traditional way. Their new memorial monument, their expression of unity therefore had to express the full variety of possibilities to understand their own path and the relative positions of the three major paths inside the bigger whole. And then, the Dome of the Rock would not be in the way of the New Temple. On the contrary, it is found to be exactly at the right spot. They would not even need to divide the land! The New Jewish Temple would need only to express the historic role of God’s own people and from there take its proper place – high above the Dome of the Rock. Then all conflicting ownership interests would be solved!
Where do the Christians fit in?
So, of the new symbol of unity they had been looking for, they already had found two poles, the beautiful pre-existing sanctuary of the Muslims on the ground and the right place for the Temple of the Jews high up in the sky. Only the place for the Christians was still missing.
Their proper place, as everyone knows, is in between the two. And there also was a natural place for them: They would have to draw a cross into the structure. They would have to build their part of the sanctuary on the middle crossbeam hanging from the platform for the Jewish Temple. Then its vertical axis could symbolize Christ, the “Son of Man”, the essence of being human, and that axis would range from the depths of Abraham’s sacrifice up to heights of the Heavenly Father.
The memorial monument demonstrates: Union in diversity
With that, the basic features of all three Abrahamic faiths were represented in one architectural symbol, each part subordinating itself to the greater whole, and thereby making every one of its followers surrender to the one God above who obviously had wanted human beings to find different expressions of their longing to reunite with the origin of their being.
Remember: You are still with me in the time, after the conflict has been solved.
The creative spiritual force of the universe has just given to His peoples a perfect symbol of unity in diversity and now the creative Spirit is guiding them to materialize that symbol and build a memorial monument which is able to act as a sign for all future generations, to inspire them to a life of peace. It will remind them to live a life in which the one God of all will be great, and not they themselves.
You are now witnessing how true spirituality is reintroduced into a world that had been suffering from the hardships of global and provincial egotism. You can experience how that true spirituality radiates to the world at large. And that radiance will make people from all over the world come to Jerusalem because they all want to experience their oneness with the Creator.
All groups of the children of Abraham who had contemplated their common ground agreed on this design for their memorial monument because it does not take anything away from any one, it leaves all traditional ways unchanged, and enriches them immensely with the fullness of the whole.
Remember: You are still with me in the time when the conflict has been solved, some sixty years from now. In that time this new sanctuary of the three Abrahamic faiths has just been completed – and you can see that it already attracts people from all the world over.
Back in the present time with a present from the future
And now please again come with me, and return to the year 2008, or 5768, or 1428.
Luckily we don’t return empty handed. We bring along the model of this common sanctuary and – this is a secret – the fact that we already have this future model is the reason why the future can develop in this positive way.
The architectural symbol of unity
Please take a look now at an abstract of that symbolic monument: As you may sense, this monument is not concrete, it is moving, as life is moving.
It always needs a model, something people can grasp, in order to change reality.
Since we have this model, we now have a map of our road to peace. We already know what we will have to work on to be true to our Creator who intended us as brothers and sisters. So let’s start.
The price of peace: our illusions of grandeur
Of course it will not be easy: true mutual respect and peace have a price – and that price is quite high, too high, some might say.
The price of peace is our delusions of exclusive grandeur.
“They will kill you, if you try to take that illusion away from them”, someone once told me.
I know – for junkies of illusions peace is no option.
But who would seriously want to build his life on an illusion?
So please, ladies and gentlemen, help this project on its way!