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History has shown us there must be two-nation solution in Israel

Thought for the weekend

By Allen Sleith

Theologians often talk about "the scandal of particularity". What they mean is that God's ways are discerned through surprising events rather than bland generalities. By attending to the particular or even singular, we broaden our horizons so as to better appreciate the divine intent. Artists work likewise: whether through word, sound, paint dance or whatever, they create a specific work of art that communicates to a larger public.

In Christian terms that means testifying to the scandal of particularity of Jesus Christ, in and through whom we discern God's will and ways definitively, and thus he is called the revelation of God. If it's surprising that God becomes incarnate in this man who lived in a verifiable context, it's even more shocking that he suffers an unjust, barbaric death, indeed, a state execution, and that after his resurrection from the dead (another scandal of particularity) he is now believed to be the mediator between God and humanity, between the Creator and creation. No bland general theory could argue as convincing a case, only a specific narrative from which other consequences and applications then flow.

However, the theologian, Kendall Soulen, in his book 'The God of Israel and Christian Theology' has convinced me that the above argument begs one more specific note. It's that Jesus was a Jew, and that the scriptures testify to the historic and irrevocable role of Israel in the ways of God. Soulen argues that great danger ensues when the role of Israel is side-lined, neglected or suppressed. Jesus never sought to delete his Jewish context and the message of the biblical witness is that God wills to consummate his good but fallen creation through a shared history whose means and focus is via Israel and the nations.

I write this just as the state of Israel once more looms large in the media. Whatever developments take place with an imminent change of USA Presidency, surely the only viable 'solution' is one that features a two-nation future. The scandal of particularity, in biblical terms, is that neither Israel, nor the Gentiles, whoever the latter may be, can survive, let alone thrive, without the 'other' too. Only so can Jerusalem live up to its name: Jeru-shalom, the city of lasting peace.

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