22 Pages

Shmuel Sandler

One of the major perplexities of world politics is the revival of religious nationalism in an era of growing interdependence and integration.1 Concurrent with this revival has been the outbreak of ethno-national conflicts; states torn by ethnic disputes include Belgium, Canada, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Iraq, Cyprus, Ethiopia, the Sudan and India. In all of these polities, either now or in their recent histories, ethnic conflicts have coincided with religious inter-communal dissension.2 The Middle East is one of the regions most prone to these kinds of disputes. The Arab-Israeli conflict, which from its inception was inspired by a religious dichotomy, nevertheless existed primarily as an interstate or ethno-national conflict. However, the rise of radical Islam has placed new emphasis on the religious dimension of the conflict.