The Cause, and the Solution, for the Israel-Hamas Conflict

The antidote to hate is LOVE

(The following is an excerpt from my 2019 nonfiction book, Hybrid Vigor: a True Reveal of Love. This discussion occurred when I’d been living in Israel the entire year of 1981, before the radical Brotherhood called Hamas was formed, in ’87)

From Chapter 8: The Alchemy of Love


One day over tea I, in my thirties at the time, asked the kind-hearted elder before me, “How do you really feel about your Arab neighbors, Rivka?”

By neighbors I meant not just the courageous Palestinians who had remained in their centuries-old homeland, now called Israel since the U.N. designated Palestine to the Jews at the conclusion of World War II. I wondered aloud to Rivka how so many Jews had come to live there, in Israel, so filled with conflict as it was since its inception. Jews, of course, had been wandering the Earth in a wide diaspora for thousands of years, long before Palestine was ever formed. The question I posed to Rivka referred to not just the displaced Palestinians who’d decided to stay, or leave, after the Jews arrived back by the droves to their spiritual homeland of Israel–but to all Semites, which includes all descendants of Abraham, by blood or religious allegiance. This includes people who are not blood related to Arabs or Jews, but who define themselves by their choice of religion, the converts. I personally know non-Islamic Arabs who range from secular atheists to Syrian Orthodox Christians, for instance, and Palestinians who are Baha’is, an all-inclusive religion. Some of my Jewish friends have no special beliefs other than being smart and successful. When asked what religion they were, a famous Jewish writer’s father once responded, “We’re Americans.”

In return for asking her my simple question, I got from Rivka an easily understood reason for why the entire world is still reckoning, to this very day, with her ancestor’s pivotal grudge. In a whispered voice shaking with strong emotion, my usually considerate neighbor of the outskirts of Tel Aviv, tried to honestly answer my question in the bosom of her sunny kitchen. I was shocked to see Rivka’s upper lip curl inward as she thought of her answer. Such a look of visceral anger I’d seen before, but only when talking to victims of abuse, war, or other atrocities.

“I know how the unfixable break between us Jews and Arabs began,” my neighbor sighed. Moments before, her lips had arced upward in a gentle smile, but now–upon answering my question–they transformed into a harsh resolute line of ugly anger. I noted her chin quivering uncontrollably. I sat motionless, afraid I had upset this gentle woman. I never would have guessed the dire, disturbing consequences of my curiosity, or I would never have asked.

“Our common hatred,” Rivka said, “began with the meanness and jealousy between two women thousands of years, many generations ago, Sarah and Hagar. Sarah was the ninety-year-old wife of Abraham, much too old for childbirth. She was a pious Hebrew woman, who, the Torah says, willingly gave her Egyptian slave, Hagar, to Abraham as a second wife. Sarah sacrificed her position as head wife so the younger woman could produce an heir for the old man. Abraham’s first-born son from Hagar was named Ishmael. Sarah gladly did this favor for her husband, the Book says. Abraham and Sarah both knew an heir was needed. It was her idea, not Abraham’s, so that he, the greatest of the ancient Jews, would give his people a new leader. Only after Ishmael was born first, did Sarah amaze everyone when the old woman miraculously became pregnant, and gave birth to Abraham’s second son, Isaac.

“The story turned bad here,” Rivka continued, “revealing the intense jealously Sarah felt upon the birth of Hagar’s son who, of course, was half-Egyptian. As soon as her own healthy, miracle-son was born, Sarah started demanding Abraham to kick Hagar and Ishmael out of the family compound. At first, Abraham resisted. Sarah’s unrelenting arguments finally won sway.

“Abraham gave in, banishing Hagar and Ishmael, forcing them to flee back to her own country.” Rivka grew more excited now. “In Egypt, the clan of Hagar’s son became known as the Ishmaelites. History tells us the Ishmaelites were among the earliest of people to be called Arabs, because Egypt was part of the vast ancient empire known as Arabia.”

Here Rivka took a deep breath. She sat nodding her head, as if she could hear her own mother and grandmother recounting the same story for her as a young girl. Again, she spoke.

“I’m sorry to say,” Rivka’s tone went very low, “that the hateful rivalry between our two clans of Abraham’s descendants started with Sarah’s jealous rage against Hagar. It’s as plain to see as reading scripture. All our problems started with those two women; an ancient Jewish woman hating an ancient Egyptian woman.” Rivka’s upper lip curled more tightly inward, baring her teeth as she spoke the next word. “Naturally, my own feelings arose from my ancestor’s, Sarah’s. I know that. But I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. Hate breeds hate.”

I sat staring into Rivka’s transformed face, shocked at the now deformed, shriveled old woman I saw. A once lovely face had become pure ugliness. Her features reflected her inbred revenge, envy, and every other poisonous negative emotion that punishes a person’s features. My formerly pleasant looking neighbor had shape-shifted in front of me into an unbelievably repulsive crone. I was shocked numb. When she gushed her next statement, I caught myself gasping, uncomfortably needing fresh air.

“I can’t help it,” Rivka repeated in a pitiful moan. “I wish it weren’t true. I wish I could forgive them. I feel the hatred poisoning my veins. We Jews have always hated the Arabs, and they hate us, too. It feels like there’s nothing we can do about it. Hating each other has been our custom for so long now, we simply don’t know any other way. I’m sorry, but it’s true.”


The anachronistic conflict between Jews and Arabs represents one of the main causes of stress in our international culture. The solution to this ancient animosity must be resolved. Along with the critical environmental crisis our planet and species face, it is the most crucial challenge that prevents other global efforts from being realized, because of the continued, paralyzing fear of terrorist threats it causes everywhere on the globe.

Conflicts between groups of people is synonymous to saving Earth’s atmosphere. Both issues are fueled by fear and can be remedied by elevating the consciousness of humankind.


Just as a balanced person utilizes both their masculine and feminine energies at appropriate times, so too, our blended family of humankind needs to correct its conquest oriented, hungry materialism attributed to more masculine attributes than the spiritualized, Nature-oriented feminine ones. Only with nurturing, insightful leaders can our world’s various groups heal this antediluvian schism begun by the thousands-years-old quarrel between Sarah and Hagar.

Love alone has the power to heal misunderstandings. Acceptance of others is a characteristic worthy of cultivating in all hearts and cultures. Until we heal, starting with one person at a time–and function as One Blended Family of Humankind–our entire world will remain sick, toxic, and stressed to the max.

When people understand this important fact–the need to return to revering Nature as we did earlier in human history–they will also understand why nurturing-leadership (female and male leaders who own, and work with their feminine-spiritual aspect, the more open and accepting side of our common human nature) can heal our broken world. The world needs the compassionate, loving, spiritual-nurturing kind of leadership that feminine energy has, in contrast to the more aggressive, materialistic, competitive stance of masculine energy we’ve been beholden to, since Nature lost her stance as our planet’s deity.

By deity, I mean practical, everyday center of our society’s focus; not an image to bow to, or iconic totem to be worshipped with sacrifice, rituals, or exclusion of other beliefs. Nature must be respectd as the essence of our Being, is what I mean by returning Nature to the center of importance IT needs to be, in order for a healthy, balanced world to proceed into the future.

(Click here for the entire Chapter 8, “The Alchemy of Love” from HYBRID VIGOR). Available at Amazon in ebook, paperback, or audiobook.

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