Saturday, April 21

Is Intermarriage a Possible Solution to the Conflict?

So much has been written about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict! So many peace plans have been put forward in order to find some common ground on which to negotiate an end to this conflict. The hate between the two sides has not subsided. An end to the conflict remains ever evasive. The problem between the two sides remains existential. The inability of Hamas to come to terms with Israel’s existence and Israel’s dubious attitude towards any form of Arab initiative remains couched in clich├ęs and statements which are meaningless. The result is the seemingly eternal deadlock between the two sides. Only one possible solution has not been mentioned. This is the encouragement of intermarriage between the two peoples. “What? Are you crazy?” Do I sense the raising of eyebrows in total surprise even at the thought?

The idea seems to be unrealistic and even ridiculous to most Israelis and Palestinians for various reasons. A few of these reasons are listed here. There are of course many others.

  1. The cultural and religious differences create divisions between the two nations.
  2. The generations of hate and distrust that exists between the two peoples.
  3. Both Judaism and Islam do not view the idea of marriage between the two peoples in a positive light.
  4. The hostile situation between the two peoples keeps them apart so that intermingling and social intercourse is almost impossible. This includes forced separation whether by the security fence, checkpoints and other obstacles.

There are incidents where Moslem men do marry Jewish women but the other way round is forbidden in Islamic law even though the former is not encouraged either.

The most commonly accepted interpretation is that Islam only allows a man to marry a non-Muslim only if she is Christian or Jewish. However the order is for believing man to marry believers of God only. The wife need not adopt any Muslim laws, and the husband is not allowed to keep her from going to church or synagogue. One of Muhammad's wives was Christian Copt (Maria al-Qibtiyya) and another was Jewish (Safiyya bint Huyayy). According to this interpretation, which is based on the verses that prohibit marriage between Muslims and dualists, Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-believers.

Islam clearly forbids Muslim women from marrying non-believing men. Some Muslim scholars (ahli kitab) go so far as to state that such a marriage is an act of apostasy. If a non-Muslim woman is married to a non-believing man, and she converts to Islam, the marriage is suspended until her husband converts to Islam. When he converts a new marriage is not needed.” (From Wikipedia)

In Judaism, intermarriage is discouraged and is even forbidden. However, this issue is being debated more and attitudes are showing signs of change amongst Reconstructionist and Reform Jews.

Bearing all these factors mentioned in mind, the idea of intermarriage between Jews and Moslems in the Middle East seems totally absurd and unrealistic. However, does this mean that it should not even be discussed or considered? Logically speaking when one considers the situation here perhaps this is true. Nevertheless, it might be interesting to give some thought to this rather far-fetched, imaginative solution to this conflict.

The bloodshed and hate in this part of the world is tragic. Attempts to stem that by conventional means of negotiated treaties have not succeeded in the past. It is left to the people on both sides to establish a dialogue between each other. Today, with the advent of internet, outreach programmes on the net whereby people all over the world, even countries hostile to one another, can form friendships by utilizing the various chat programmes freely available on the net. Bonds can be formed between peoples engaged in dialogue. This form of dialogue breaks down barriers between peoples of opposing sides and in certain circumstances, people can even find potential marriage partners of differing faiths in this way. The world is becoming a smaller place and many view the world as a global village where religious differences are becoming less important. People will eventually come to terms with a common humanity that transcends all. In the Middle East, with its highly charged atmosphere of emotionalism, the people do not encourage this scenario. Despite that, there are signs that modern communication technology will effect human relations across the great divide as both sides will discover their common humanity. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen in the future which may be closer than we think.

After the initial airing of differences between the “warring sides”, people initiate relationships amongst each other, discovering that they have more in common than what divides them. The saying that “opposites attract one another” does ring true in many cases. The barriers of hate and distrust could fall including the stereotypes that hostile enemies have created against each other. What is left is the basic human relationship between the opposite sexes which could lead to a meeting and eventually even marriage in some cases. This scenario could occur. If more people of opposing sides in the conflict were to indulge in chat dialogue, it is conceivable that relationships between two peoples of opposite sex could become attracted to one another once they reach the “lowest common denominator” that binds them together.

This is a very positive aspect and problems between the two sides would simply melt without the meddling of political leaders of both sides of the conflict. The occupation would simply cease in a natural way as a new order could be established. There would be a common humanity and the conflict would cease even without a peace treaty. There would be a new nation consisting of both peoples in total harmony and creating a mixed generation of Palestinian – Israelis. This may sound like heresy and maybe even absurd.

Perhaps this is far-fetched within today’s context, but possible and even desirable in the future. The alternative is further bloodshed, wars and hate in a seemingly never ending conflict. Surely intermarriage between the two peoples should be encouraged and considered as one of many solutions for ending the conflict. Today the situation demands it as everything else has failed despite the fact that people are not ready for such a revolutionary change in traditional religious attitudes towards intermarriage today.


Anonymous said...

I dont think intermarriage is a solution when as reported on freebetv's MNN News you still have no real solid ground to move military and political conflict away from the entire situation.

Heres the story from MNN News:

Hamas's armed wing broke a five month ceasefire on Tuesday by firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians over the weekend.Hamas stopped short of declaring a formal end to the ceasefire, which began in November, and said the group was responding to Israeli violations of the shaky agreement.

adji said...

Intermarriage between Israeli and Palestinian is a good thing to do. I agree with you.
I hope there would be no more fight between them. I like Israel and learn its language, and also like Palestine as a moslem.
In my opinion, besides it is God's right to make this thing happens, if Israeli's government would like to make peace with Palestinian, with no military forces all over the land, i think Palestine will also be welcome Israel to be their neighbour.
We all should seek for the commons we have, not the contrary.
I love peace for both parties.
Smile, Israel. Smile, Palestine. Together we make a better and brighter future for the world we live in...:)