It is our belief that there are four fundamental questions that lie at the heart of all Israel engagement. We reckon that the more times we ask ourselves these questions, in more circumstances, in more depth, the more we will succeed in appreciating and grappling with Israel in our lives.
The Four Hatikvah Questions – 4HQ – emerge from the four values extolled in the penultimate line of Israel’s National Anthem: To Be | A Free | People | In Our Land – להיות | עם | חופשי | בארצנו This summary of the values of Liberal Nationalism expressed through the language of the Jewish People, can be best addressed educationally in the form of four key questions:
To Be – What is required in order to survive? When do we know we have done enough to survive? When can we focus on the other aspect of “being” – relaxing and thriving?
People – how is Israel and how am I connected to the Jewish People – its traditions, its wisdom, its community, its mission?
Free – what do I understand by freedom? How are freedoms played out in Israel in relation to responsibility and creativity?
In Our Land – should certain groups be granted exclusive rights to particular pieces of land? What is the Jewish People’s claim to the Land of Israel? What should be its borders bearing in mind another People claims the same land? How should I relate to the Land of Israel if I do not live there?
We recommend that the current conflict in Gaza be framed through these four questions.
What does it mean to fight for survival? What is worth risking one’s life for? Here is one way of addressing this question.
One aspect of Peoplehood is accessed through showing solidarity. Yet how does one demonstrate solidarity? Does critique automatically signify a lack of solidarity? This work sheet was created just under two years ago, in response to the last Gaza conflict, and it has not lost its currency in the slightest.
Another aspect of addressing this conflict through the prism of the Jewish People, would be to address Jewish traditions for times such as these. For this purpose we suggest following this text study of Jewish approaches to Times of Trouble.
Does our desire to be free from rocket attacks permit us to act with impunity? Or does our power and our freedom to defend ourselves come with responsibilities moral and legal? This worksheet and video explores the nature of asymmetric warfare and asks if the IDF is behaving morally?
In Our Land?
The commander of the IDF Givati Brigade wrote in biblical passion to his soldiers of our fight against “Gazan terrorists”. His comments were met with controversy. Some voices asked:
- Does Vinter’s language suggest our conflict with the Palestinians is the extension of a religious war rooted in the Bible, and not an example of a State defending itself against a terror organization?
- Do we wish for the soldiers of the IDF to see their battle as religious?
- What should be the rhetorical tone of our wartime statements?
- How do our Jewish sources refer to war, and to this particular piece of land now called the Gaza Strip?
How does Biblical Gaza echo in our conversations about current Gaza?
How do mythical references to Philistines connect with Palestinians of today?