Utopian Thinkers Plan for Future One-State Israel Solution — If It Comes

Some Want Third Temple — Others See Palestinian Return

Still on the Drawing Board: Architect Shadi Habib Allah has drafted detailed plans for al-Lajun, a proposed town in Northern Israel for returning Palestinians.
Courtesy of Zochrot
Still on the Drawing Board: Architect Shadi Habib Allah has drafted detailed plans for al-Lajun, a proposed town in Northern Israel for returning Palestinians.

By Nathan Jeffay

Published November 24, 2013, issue of November 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

At points, the discussion cited Zionism’s triumphant success in absorbing huge waves of immigrants as a source of inspiration for their own goal.

“There is room” in the land for all, Asher said “The [required] space is vacant; the country can support this number of people.”

Some conference sessions examined detailed plans that have been drawn for an era of Palestinian “return.” This reflected another parallel between how some on the right and left fringes look to the future: Both steam ahead with planning the details, even if the path to making them relevant is far from clear. For both groups, the objective of the details is to revive a lost past for future generations.

On the right, a not-for-profit organization in Jerusalem called the Temple Institute has even made, in accordance with biblical specifications, some of the vessels that it believes will be needed when the Jewish Temple is restored, including the menorah, the incense altar and the showbread table. The organization also completed the sacred uniform for the future high priest to wear. It has done all this even though most rabbis believe that the Temple, which stood on the sacred Jerusalem site now occupied by Islam’s Al Aqsa Mosque, will be rebuilt only in a Messianic era.

In Umm-al-Fahm, Israel’s largest Arab town, a group of 18- to 30-year-olds has worked with an architect to develop a plan for resurrecting the village where their grandparents lived until 1948 as a town for the future. The project, initiated by Zochrot and some other nongovernmental organizations, envisions a town that they believe could welcome Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian Diaspora.

The Umm-al-Fahm visionaries, with the support of Baladna: The Association for Arab Youth, engaged an architect, Shadi Habib Allah, who presented his plan for the town of al-Lajun at the conference. The town would, in the activists’ dream, be developed on the site in northern Israel where a village of the same name stood until 1948. Habib Allah worked on the plan full time for three months.

The housing in Habib Allah’s plan is modern and Western-style to serve modern requirements. But with the hope of easing the transition for residents arriving from the Arab world, the town center is planned in the traditional Palestinian style, with low buildings, domes, stones and cobbles.

“People have heard so many stories from their grandparents, so we didn’t want to create a modern village of just steel and glass,” Habib Allah said. “There needs to be a sense of memorial.”

The plans embrace a future of coexistence, as well. Signage appears in Hebrew and Arabic, indicating that Jewish visitors are expected. Habib Allah hopes that a planned industrial zone could be a joint project with local Jewish communities.

Nobody has any easy answer for when and how any of this could become a reality. But Asher is in it for the long haul. “This vision could take 100 years, and it could take 150 years, but it’s very important to start laying the groundwork,” he said.

Bronstein offers a slightly clearer scenario. He believes that the Israeli public will never be won over for a grassroots change, but that in the absence of an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pressure will mount on Israel to pay attention to the Palestinian call for “return.” He expects the leadership to realize that it has no choice but to respond positively to pressure and effect a change from the top, “something similar to in South Africa.”

Echoing Dayan’s right-wing conviction that one state is now the only option, he said, “The two-state solution has gone a long time ago.”

Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.