שבת חיי-שרה תשע"ט בבית הארחה בערד – מפגש חברים וחברות עוז ושלום

Objectives and Principles

  • Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom was founded in 1975 in order to present an alternative expression of religious Zionism. It is committed to promoting the ideals of tolerance, pluralism, and justice, concepts which have always been central to Jewish tradition and law.

  • Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom was established by a group of academics who were alarmed by the growing militance which they saw in most of the religious Zionist community. They were aware that religious fundamentalism, gaining hold throughout the region, mounted the greatest threat to possible coexistence, and believed that the only effective counter arguments would also need to stem from religious tradition. They were convinced that the established religious Zionist camp had become distanced from the values which had originally been its cornerstones.

  • Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom shares a powerful attachment to the Land of Israel. Yet while it accepts that the Jewish people has a special relationship towards the Land of Israel, it maintains that this attachment should not override the protection of human life. It views peace as a central religious value and believes that Jews have a religious obligation no less than a national one to support the pursuit of peace. It tains that Jewish law clearly requires us to create a fair and just society, and that co-existence between Jews and Arabs is not an option but an imperative.

  • Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom's activities have received extensive media coverage, both local and international. In addition, the movement issues frequent press releases and is often asked for a response to unfolding events. Its leaders publish opinion pieces in local newspapers and appear frequently on television and on the radio.

  • Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom's programs include both educational and protest activities. Seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences and weekend programs on a variety of topics are held for youth, students, educators and families, while protest activities focus on issues of human rights, co-existence between Jews and Arabs, and responses to issues of particular religious relevance.

  • As adults, we have the responsibility not only to work for the progress of the peace process, but also to be aware of the values and ideas that are being taught to our children in the different religious Zionist yeshivot, high schools, and houses of study. Many parents have told us of their concern that their children are being taught in a one-sided way, in that the students are taken to participate in right-wing demonstrations during the hours of learning. These parents would like these students to hear an alternative to what they are normally taught during the four or six years of their studies. We hope that parents will organize and will be able to effectively combat this problem.

  • Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom's educational forums attract not only religious Israelis, but also secular people who are keen to deepen their Jewish knowledge and to hear an alternative religious standpoint on the subjects of peace and social issues. In many respects, therefore, Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom fills the ideological vacuum which has been created and counteracts the stridency which is emerging in the right-wing community.

  • Committed to Jewish tradition and law, while supporting peace, equality and co-existence, Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom is in a unique position to enter into a dialogue with both the secular left and the religious right.