Activist Shaul Judelman believes the key to peace in the Middle East is recognising that the land belongs to God rather than to people.
The co-director of Roots, a network of Israelis and Palestinians working together in the West Bank, said there was a growing belief among Muslims and Jews that they needed to acknowledge each other while still retaining their distinctive religions.
“We believe in the Jewishness of the land,” he said. “That the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. But when I stand before the Creator I don’t’ say this is mine, I say this is Yours.
“It is a redemptive statement. We belong here but there are other people that belong here too. If I can’t recognise that then something is wrong.”
Judelman said this was the only perspective that allowed each side to retain their distinctive identities while making space for the other.
“Does my belonging to the land need to be at the expense of the Palestinians? Currently it’s a zero sum game. We need to shift that,” he said.
Judelman said he was puzzled that people labelled him an extremist for living in the West Bank as a Jew when his entire life was about bringing people together.
Roots hosts women’s groups, youth programs and inter-faith dialogue in an effort to help Jews and Palestinians find common ground that is greater than the roots of their disagreements.