Good & Evil and the Spiral of Violence in Palestine & Israel

Rabbi Zalman Schactner used to say, “there is more good than evil in the world, but not by much.”  Beginning Saturday morning, with the horrific events in Israel, the presence of evil has certainly seized the headlines and had the upper hand. 

“Israel Palestine Conflict Explained 2023 Edition.” 7 News Australia

Personal stories of innocent people, babies, children, old ones, who were abused and terrorized by the well-planned and very poorly defended invasion of Israeli homes and towns have dominated news stories.

Outrage and fear are being expressed by the government and defense department leaders of Israel.  But we must be very careful.  This attack has been compared to 9/11, however, since Israel is a smaller country of only 9 million people, 1500 deaths is proportionately much greater. By contrast, there were 3400 deaths in the US, a country at the time of about 285 million persons. 

We must learn lessons from what happened after 9/11 when outrage and irrational decision-making resulted in a war with Iraq who was in no way responsible for 9/11.  That war resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and a war in Afghanistan which cost thousands of American and Afghan lives, went on for 20 years, and today the Talban still rules the country.  Both wars cost America trillions of dollars.

Protesting pro-Israeli AIPAC and Israeli Treatment of the Palestinians. Chicago, Illinois, May 30, 2019. Wikimedia Commons

It would seem that making decisions based on rage and revenge is not a wise thing to do.  Evil + evil does not equal resolution or peace. 

Gandhi warned us that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” leaves all of us blind and toothless. 

Now there is talk of a ground invasion of Gaza but so many Gazans have been suffering for years.  Hospitals can scarcely stay open with the cutting off of electricity by Israel, one doctor said they may all be converted to morgues.  “There is no safe place in Gaza right now” said one journalist who is living there.  “I am genuinely afraid for my life.”

See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 77-104.

And Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

Banner image: Retaliation was swift. “Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023.” Israel massed tens of thousands of troops and heavy armour around the Gaza Strip after vowing a massive blow following the surprise attack of the militant Hamas. Photo by Naaman Omar apaimages. Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree there are lessons to be learned vis-a-vis the Israeli tragedy from the failures of irrational decisions made by the American government after 9/11? 

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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4 thoughts on “Good & Evil and the Spiral of Violence in Palestine & Israel”

  1. Avatar

    God bless the people of Gaza and the people of Israel ~ May their hearts be healed, however it may happen. Let the rest of the world, and especially America, show grace and mercy to both of these peoples who are caught up in war. Help all of us to know that war is not the answer, that people are violent when there is a need, or when there is arrogance. Soften our hearts, God ~ Amen.

  2. Avatar

    I don’t think it is so much a matter of associating this tragic situation with 9/11 but rather with our blind ignorance and complete failure to understand ourselves as human beings, our timeless cosmic predicament and the fundamental (and most beautiful) Nature of God, of which we are a most intrinsic part. Therefore, to repeatedly try and understand this, or any other, situation without applying the fundamental Laws of Karma and Reincarnation is like trying to understand a child’s behavior without knowing it’s history, it’s heritage, and it’s background. We must also understand other forces at play beyond the human eye. There are lower astral realms that influence humanity, and there are also higher realms that we can be open to and inspired by. We choose how we behave and how we are influenced – either by inspirational or demonic forces. In that regard, 9/11 was no different, either in its act or it’s reaction. It is one of countless examples throughout our collective history. The deeper and more important questions are, “how am I influenced?”; “how can I help and influence others?” In this Rabbi Schactner was right about the fragile balance of our world. It is a collective, human challenge that we face, and it will only be resolved when, as a species, we start to really see and understand the far greater Cosmic Reality of our Divine existence.

  3. Avatar

    I understand Israel’s need to put an end to Hamas. The only way to do that is to search all of Gaza – above & below. I would like to see a safe corridor for all innocent and hospitalized Palestinians to pass safely out of Gaza. I’d like to see Refugee camps set up in neighboring countries. I’d like to see a new beginning for all Gaza Palestinians. Perhaps land and reparations made in the north connected to the West Bank. Israel should have to rebuild Gaza and see and feel what their policies created. The time of Hamas & Hezbollah are done. Let freedom and safety a peace finally begin. Iran needs to back off and come to the table for peace & understanding. The Arab league has a huge opportunity right now.

  4. Avatar

    Food and Forgiveness for ourselves and others is the invisible Spirit of Life that we can share with each other without conditions. We all are in need of this Spiritual healing and physical nourishment. Israelis and Palestinians have no choice, but to lead us in this direction. Global Interdependence will then become the ultimate reality we all, including this planet Earth, are longing for.

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