|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
Road map is 'highway to Hell'
for Palestinians who remain
The President's "road map to peace in the Middle East" describes a highway to Hell for more than a million Palestinians, according to a Hebrew prophet whose writings 28 centuries ago warned they would die to the last man, woman and child.
The 8th Century biblical prophet, Obadiah, described the inhabitants of the "fields of Ephraim" at the time Israel would reclaim this region, as the "House of Esau" and proclaimed: "The House of Jacob will be a fire, the House of Joseph a flame and the House of Esau stubble. Not one shall remain alive from the House of Esau."
The fields of Ephraim comprise the ancient inheritance of the assimilated tribe of Joseph by that name -- Ephraim -- today scattered into Gentile cultures and ethnicities in every nation of the world. The fields themselves comprise the entirety of the northern two-thirds of the unannexed territories commonly called the West Bank and are currently home to about a million Palestinians. If the Palestinian state is declared in this region, returning refugees may swell the population to upwards of 2.5 million, who would all be doomed according to Obadiah.
The prophet was not referring to the Jewish settlers living in the general vicinity. Those settlements are located not in the fields but on the mountain tops, as evident from their bright quartz-halogen lights at night which contrast with the more dimly lit Palestinian villages located in the fields and pastures below.
It seems ironic that President Bush, who prides himself on his Christian understanding of the Scripture and the religious right who are his major supporters, appear destined to foment the bloodiest war in the history of war unless they heed the Scripture and scrap the map.
It is not fair to be critical, however, without offering a solution. Here too, the Hebrew Bible has the answer. The prophet, Zechariah, describes a region comprising the Gaza and contiguous areas where a people known as the P'lishtim -- the plural of the Arabic word, P'listi, which Yasser Arafat calls the Palestinian people -- dwell in peace as a "clan among Judah." But this does not happen until the "blood is removed from their mouths and the abominations between their teeth" and their "pride is broken."
What that language means is anyone's guess, but in the context of today's current events, we would propose it means the terrorism must first end, the Palestine National Charter must be amended to delete language calling for the death of every Israeli and the ultra-Nationalistic fervor for a Palestinian state must be tempered.
Zechariah 9:1, which prefaces the description of the contiguous region of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron, where the P'lishtim dwell, hints that the timing of these events is keyed to the re-emergence of the Lost Tribes, especially that of Ephraim, who appears to be the true heir to the "fields of Ephraim" and is promised a return to this region in dozens of Scriptural references, most notably Jeremiah 31:15-18.
The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict then, is a population shift. The Jewish settlers who live in the region of the Gaza should be transferred into Israel proper or the unannexed territories in the West Bank. The Palestinians who live in the West Bank and especially the "fields of Ephraim" must be transferred to the Gaza region, where they are initially given autonomy short of statehood once the violence and ultra-Nationalism ceases.
Finally, the Law of Return should be amended by the Israeli Knesset to allow non-Jewish Zionists known as the "House of Joseph" to begin making their return to the "fields of Ephraim" in the West Bank as well as their other possessions.
The drama unfolding in the Middle East is obviously capturing the attention of the world. Unannexed territories belonging to Joseph and Judah have been reserved and put on display before the nations for some grand plan. A history of these two tribes of Israel reveals their long-standing enmity between one another. They fought one-another in Israel's only civil war, experienced separate exiles to Assyria and Babylon 136 years apart and were never reunited or reconciled.
This sibling rivalry signifies unfinished business to the God of Israel, whose vision of a biblical Zion in the Scriptures mandates reconciliation of these two brothers' descendants. That means Israel was destined to be more than a purely Jewish state. It also must accommodate the return of the non-Jewish House of Joseph.
Jewish religious leaders in Israel today are aware that until this reconciliation occurs, and the "Joes" are allowed to return to be reunited with their Jewish brethren, "Jacob" will continue to experience problems with his brother, arch-rival and perpetual enemy, "Esau." Unfortunately the President and the religious right supporting his road map have only good intentions with which to pave this highway to Hell.
Maggid ben Yosef