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In Christianity the situation is different since there is no parallel concept to the “nation of Israel” fostering a kindred feeling amongst all Christians throughout the world. Thus without this binding factor a Christian living in France feels first and foremost attached to his French country and is committed to its wellbeing just as his fellow Christian in Argentina feels the same there.
In Islam, however, the situation is different from both Judaism and Christianity. There is the concept of the “ummah”, the nation of Islam, which unites all Muslims in the world as one family regardless of where they happen to dwell. Together with this there is the aggregate region where the Muslims at any one moment have complete sovereignty, itself a precondition for being allowed to freely and fully practice Islam, known as the Dar al-Islam or “abode of Islam”. Hence it is the combination of the two – the ummah creating the feeling of mutual obligation amongst all of the world’s Muslims and the Dar al-Islam, an entity which must constantly be expanded beyond its traditional Middle Eastern base – which precludes the idea of state nationalism from taking hold in the Islamic world in a way that is similar to either the Jewish or Christian world.
This being the case, it is foolish to believe that granting the Arabs another state will somehow make them sufficiently satisfied to the point of laying down their weapons and changing their ways since the whole concept of state nationalism, from a western perspective, is nonexistent in Islam. Similarly, it is wishful thinking to assume that they will ever accept the existence of a small Jewish “outpost” called the State of Israel, regardless of its size, in the heart of the Dar al-Islam.
Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. His personal blog is Yoelmeltzer.com.
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