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Rabbi: Jewish-Arab Soccer Games Won’t Bring Peace

Modiin Rabbi says conflict stems from clash of national, religious identities, can't be solved by fostering 'personal ties.'
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/22/2013, 11:19 AM

Jews, Arabs in Jerusalem
Jews, Arabs in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Personal friendships between Jews and Arabs will not lead to peace, Rabbi Chaim Navon of Modiin said during a Saturday night Torah class.

Rabbi Navon spoke shortly after it was revealed that IDF soldier Tomer Hazan, 20, had been kidnapped and murdered by a Palestinian Authority Arab coworker.

“Many tell us that the key to making peace is ‘drawing closer’: if we get to know each other, for example, at symposiums, or if we play soccer together, or if we work in a restaurant together – we’ll discover that we’re all human, and then peace will come automatically,” he said.

“And the thing is, that’s not true.”

The roots of the conflict between Israeli Jews and the Arab world do not lie in misunderstandings or personal dislike, he explained. “[The conflict] stems from basic facts of our religious and national identity and theirs,” he argued.

“That’s why there is no solution in the foreseeable future,” he added. “The conflict can be managed, but not solved – like many other serious problems in life.”

“Maybe in the distant future there will be a solution,” Rabbi Navon said. “In the meantime, even soccer games won’t help.”

Hazan’s killer, 42-year-old Nadal Amar, lured him to a PA-controlled Arab village near Kalkilya on the pretext of wanting to do business with him. His true plan was to murder Hazan and negotiate with Israel for the release of terrorist prisoners – including Amar’s brother – in exchange for Hazan’s body.