Why I Will NOT Pray for the Peace of Israel

Nor will I pray for Hamas and peace in the Gaza Strip. As long as fundamentalist religion and authoritarian rule are a part of the culture in this war-torn region, there will never be peace. Ironically, religion has an outsized role in Israel. Yet, most of its Jews aren’t observant—recent surveys show that almost fifty percent of Israeli people consider themselves irreligious. 

Just as in America, there will never be peace as long as an authoritarian right-wing leader such as Netanyahu and the ultra-orthodox Jewish and Islamic sects have anything to say. I absolutely do not applaud the horrific terrorist acts of the past few days by Hamas. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the Old Testament children of Israel razing towns commanded by Yahweh to not let a man, woman, or child be spared. Please understand, that I am not anti-semitic nor Islamaphobic. I have traditional Jewish and Muslim friends, but they do not practice religion. 

This weekend’s attack (while different in scope) also eerily reminded me of the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. Once again and repeatedly throughout history, the toxic mix of religion and authoritarianism has resulted in chaos and murder. Fundamentalist Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all the same. Religious hatred masquerading as love. My heart breaks. 

“Israel and the Palestinians have a long history of brutality against each other, but the Hamas killing spree outdoes anything since Israeli-controlled Christian militias massacred unarmed Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside of Beirut in 1982.” (The Atlantic)

For me, Israel does not get a break to wreak havoc on those different than them because a book (with numerous untruths and contradictions) designates them as a particular god’s chosen people. Nor do Palestinians, or Muslims, or Christians. 

Imagine if we rid the world of religions, true unconditional love may have a chance to flourish and make the world a better place for all of us.

For the record, I no longer choose not to pray to a non-existent god, believe in a false religious history, practice dogmatic and militant nationalism, nor demean those different than me. Religion has poisoned and traumatized me, and I think religion poisons everything. 

All we need is love. Not some god’s version of love. We need unadulterated love.

Suggested further reading: https://www.vox.com/23924319/israel-palestine-apartheid-meaning-history-debate