Froman: 'Palestine will be world's first Arab democracy'

West Bank rabbi and peace activist speaks to 20 Questions about the sin of vandalizing mosques, and the need for Israel to begin negotiations with Muslim leaders on the basis of religion.

20 questions 58 (photo credit: courtsey)
20 questions 58
(photo credit: courtsey)
This week's 20 Questions hosts Rabbi Menachem Froman, the rabbi of the settlement of Tekoa in Gush Etzion and an peace activist involved in bridging the gaps between secular and religious Israelis as well as Palestinians and Israelis.
Fayyad: Apparent mosque 'price tag' attack is terrorism
20 Questions followed Rabbi Froman's visit to the hilltop outpost of Migron and the Palestinian village of Kusra, south of Nablus. The latter had its mosque vandalized on Monday night, with graffiti that said "Muhammed is a pig" sprayed on the outer wall. It is suspected that the vandals acted in response to the dismantling of Migron - Israel's largest illegal outpost.
Rabbi Froman traveled to Kusra to condemn the incident and express his view that this was a heinous crime for which the perpetrators must be severely punished. He added also that according to "divine law," it is absolutely forbidden to vandalize any house of worship, including synagogues mosques and churches.
Froman is known for having sat with Arab leaders including the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He believes that the path to peace must be a religious one, and avers that over the past 40 years secular Israeli leaders have tried to come to peaceful solutions with the Palestinians but have failed because they often simply miss the point and do not understand their opponents' mentality. 
In the past, Froman has also met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has been in contact with the leader following the recent diplomatic breakdown with Turkey. Froman asserts that as a religious man,  Edogan sees Israel – and in particular its government - as an anti-religious threat inside the heart of the Islamic world.
As such, Froman believes that the Chief Rabbis of Israel and other religious leaders should be sent for diplomatic visits to Turkey, since they will be able to speak to Erdogan in "religious terms" and thus "change his attitude."
If a Palestinian state will be established in spite of the opposition of the State of Israel it will be an anti-Israeli state and it will be an existentential danger to the existence of Israel. If [it] will be established, not only with Israel's recognition, but with [its] support, it will be friendly to Israel and will help us. That is what I told Abu Mazen a week ago.
Froman insists that former prime minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral step to disengage Gaza in 2005 without a peace agreement from the other side was a mistake of monumental proportions on Israel's part. Froman is unequivocal in his view that the call for Jews to evacuate the land is the wrong path towards peace.
Froman believes that due to their exposure to Israeli society and democratic values, out of all the Arab nations in the world, the Palestinians are the most likely to build a free democracy according to US dictates.
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