Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom views the pursuit of peace as a political necessity, an ethical obligation and a religious duty. While we fully share in the special attachment between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, we believe that current political realities indicate that lasting peace between Israel and the Arabs will never be achieved without some sort of territorial compromise.
The implementation of the Oslo accords and the continuation of negotiations between Israel and the Palestines have put these issues at the very top of Israel`s national agenda. We are convinced that at last there is a real chance that peace in the Middle East may be secured.
Unfortunately, recent terror attacks have proved that the road to peace is filled with obstacles, and that peace itself would demand a very heavy price. Inevitably, this has eroded public support for the peace process to a considerable extent. Opposition to the peace process has been very vocal and sometimes violent.
We are convinced, however, that the proponents of recent horrors represent only a tiny minority of the Palestinians, and that the vast majority of the Arabs are indeed ready to reach an agreement with us. We are determined that neither Israel nor the Palestinians give in to the opponents of peace, and believe that only by continuing the peace process can the bloodshed on both sides eventually be stopped.
The religious aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general has been magnified by recent events; the main opponents to peace on both sides, both Jewish and Arab, have been guided be religious extremism. Among Jews, certainly, much of the opposition to the peace process has come from the religious camp.
Inflexibly clinging to their conviction that the whole of ”Greater Israel” must be retained no matter what the price, the voice of the religious right has been loud and strident. Unfortunately, this has led to the perception among much of the Israeli public that religious beliefs automatically lead to right-wing politics, and that religion and nationalism are inseparable. Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom is in a unique position to change that perception; we talk to the secular left in the language of politics and to the religious right in the language of religion.
Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom is perhaps the only group which can present an alternative religious viewpoint which emphasizes both the sanctity of human life and the concept of peace as basic jewish values. Within the religious community, we believe that Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom can play a vital role in helping people, especially youth, bridge the gap between the traditional religious education they received and the changing realities, in which the possibility of giving up land for peace has become a reality.
Moreover, while the political and strategic arguments in favor of peace are continuously voiced, the religious imperative for peace has been largely ignored; regrettably, the peace process in general has been devoid of religious values. Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom is determined that the Jewish-ethical arguments in favor of peace also be heard. It believes that it this way it can increase support among religious Zionists, settlers included, who until now have felt compelled to oppose the peace process for erroneous religious reasons.
The support to the Israeli electorate is essential to the success of the peace process. We believe that Oz Veshalom-Netivot Shalom has a vital role to play within this process.