Wlliam Ury tell a wonderful story about a man who leaves his herd of 17 camels to his three sons as their inheritance. To the first son, he leaves half the camels; to the middle son, he leaves a third of the camels; and to the youngest son, he leaves a ninth of the camels. The three sons get into an intense negotiation over who should get how many, because 17 doesn’t divide by two, or by three, or by nine. Tempers become strained, so in desperation they consult a wise, old woman. She listens to their problem and says, “Well, I don’t know if I can help you, but if you want, at least you can have my camel.” Now they have 18 camels, so the first son takes half of them, or nine camels; the middle son takes his third, or six camels; and the youngest son takes his ninth, or two camels. Nine plus six plus two adds up to a total of 17 camels. There is one camel left over, so the brothers give it back to the woman. (TED Ideas 2017)
One of the most common questions that is asked about the Middle East conflict is whether their will be sustainable peace between Israelis and Arabs?
William Ury, co-author of “Getting to Yes” and many other classics on conflict resolution knows a lot about the Israeli-Arab conflict, being involved in the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in the 1980’s and having served as a mediator in conflicts around the world. Prof. Ury is convinced that peace is a possibility! Along with his colleagues they came up with the idea called “Abraham Path” as a healthier way of understanding the greater commonality between the three main religions as oppose to our differences. Jew, Christians and Muslims are all connected to Abraham. Abraham was known for hospitality, kindness and respect. The goal of this organization is to encourage people to walk side by side the path of Abraham and find the commonality through Abraham’s teaching.
It’s a perspective worth learning about.
I have since read a wonderful book called ‘Not in God’s Name’, by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks that addresses the growing violence perpetrated in the name of God. In the most subtle way Rabbi Sacks shifts our eyes to words in the Bible that seem to be overlooked in narratives we know so well. These are words like love, brotherhood, family and blessing. How is this possible ? In part it has to do with education and intuition. When we learn about the siblings in the Book of Genesis, intuitively one can think that if one is chosen then the other is rejected, one is loved and the other is not. Rabbi Sacks points out consistently throughout the narrative, that choseness and love are part of one whole. We are all loved by God and chosen for different tasks. His book touches on the Quran and the New Testament. His insights are a new opportunity towards mutual understanding and respect. If only we will listen to voices of common sense.