Middle East Studies

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


Jews, Muslims and Jerusalem

Disputes and Dialogues

Moshe Ma’oz, Prof. Emeritus, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been a Visiting Fellow at many universities and research centres, including Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, NYU, and Beijing. He is the author of 20 books and 80 academic articles on the history and politics of Islam, Muslim-Jewish and Arab-Israeli relations. He served as advisor to Israeli PMs and Defense Ministers, and to the IDF Coordinator in the Territories, at the rank of Full Colonel

Jews, Muslims and Jerusalem: Disputes and Dialogues examines Muslim–Jewish relations during significant periods of history in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. A deep concern in the Muslim Arab world concerns the status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank since 1967, and its control of East Jerusalem, has reinforced anti-Jewish (Judeophobia) and anti-Israel movements. The most prominent are the Hamas, the “Liberation” Party (tahrir), the Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, the Islamic rulers in Iran, and recently Turkey. Conversely, amongst Jews in Israel and the Diaspora (and amongst many Christians) the last decades have witnessed a rise in extreme Islamophobia in reaction to Arab terrorist attacks, and out of a religious-cultural prejudice against Muslims. Spearheading these trends are members of the Jewish underground, Gush Emunim, Loyalists of the Temple Mount, Holy Temple organizations, and members of the religious Zionist and political movements, the Bayit Yehudi Party and Likud Party.

It is noteworthy that there are numerous proactive movements for coexistence and peace amongst Jews and Muslims in Israel and throughout the world, and in that prevailing spirit dozens of ongoing religious and cultural dialogues are maintained. These interactions, and the political and economic engagement at state level, are distinguished by ambivalence given not only the historical record but through contemporary zealotary by hardliners. The US, the UN and the EU have tried to mediate, but to no avail. President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has abandoned Washington’s neutrality. PM Netanyahu promotes Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. This book is the most comprehensive, integrated and updated study on these formidable issues. Given the increasingly volatile language by hardline players the Middle East is at a point of critical historical change: Is it to be a political settlement via dialogue or a downward spiral to a dispute that in an age of offensive weaponry available to all parties can only have dire consequences.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-081-1
Hardback Price: £75.00 / $89.95
Release Date: October 2020
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-082-8
Paperback Price: £29.95 / $39.95
Release Date: October 2020
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Introduction: Judeophobia and Islamophobia

Chapter 1: Duality and Dialogue: Muhammad, the Qur’an and the Middle Ages

Chapter 2: The Ottoman Empire: Tolerance and Cooperation in the Balkans

Chapter 3: A Dual Relationship in Africa: The Northern and Sub-Saharan Divide

Chapter 4: The Shi’ite Positions of Iran, Hizbullah and Yemen

Chapter 5: Changing Positions of Sunni Turkey and Central Asia

Chapter 6: The Muslim-Jewish Relationship in the Holy Land/ Palestine

Chapter 7: Muslim Attitudes towards Jews in Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon

Chapter 8: Muslim and Arab Ambivalence after the Establishment of the State of Israel

Chapter 9: Jews, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount: Mitzvah or Anti-Islamism?

Chapter 10: A Critical Historical Change: Dialogue or Armageddon?




In Ma’oz’s view, much depends on Israel. For him, the best way forward would be for a new government to accept the Saudi peace plan as a basis for negotiation with the Arab-Muslim world. [This would involve] termination of the occupation, establishment of a Palestine State alongside Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a solution of the refugee issue.
   This … could secure Israel’s future in the region. The alternative, sitting tight and doing nothing, could lead to Armageddon.
   A final caveat. Ma’oz’s book makes a strong case for the reconcilability of the Jewish and Muslim religions. It does not tackle the clash of potentially implacable Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms at the heart of the conflict in the same way. The zealous claims on both sides over the same land and the depth of Palestinian feeling over the refugee issue receive scant mention.
   This begs the question: Given the souring of Israeli–Palestinian relations over the past decade, and the inherent difficulties at the core of the conflict, is the Saudi-type deal Ma’oz proposes still feasible? It may be. But even if not to the last jot and tittle, given the potential rewards and the enormity of the dangers, especially considering the volatility of the Jerusalem/Temple Mount tinderbox, it is incumbent on Israel to find a way to seize the initiative – with regard to both the West Bank and Gaza.
Leslie Susser, writing in The Jerusalem Report, June 2021

The book is concise, comprehensive, instructive and enlightening. I would turn it into mandatory reading at the cadets' course in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the army.
Rachel Elior, Professor of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

This study refashions ingrained stereotypes and scholarly precepts of a monolithic divide of the Muslim-Jewish encounter in modern times, nurtured by polemic traditions and anti-Semitism. The book presents a more complex and diffuse reality of intertwined worlds, denoting intolerance, militancy and conflicts side by side with reconciliation and co-existence. It will be of great interest to historians and social scientists working on interfaith relations and conflict resolution.
Meir Hatina, Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Moshe Maoz's book presents an in-depth, comprehensive and thorough historical reading that examines Muslims' relations with Jews and Judaism, and attempts to view these relations in terms of contemporary reality. The book carefully analyzes the trends of religionization that flood the area and warns of its implications. Anyone who is anxious about a religious war and strives to achieve coexistence in the region must read this book.
Dr. Yusri Khaizran, Shalem College, Jerusalem

The book is rich in detail and information about every country and every period where Muslim--Jewish relations have had political and other consequences. The author sets out both the positive and negative attitudes of the dominant Muslim majority towards the Jewish minority in a balanced way. It is based on first-hand sources and on the author's many years of research experience and participation in Jewish–Muslim dialogue.
Professor Menachem Klein, Political Science, Bar-Ilan University

Herewith a comprehensive and pioneering study on Muslims, Jews and Jerusalem that is based on substantive sources and research. It impartially examines the ambivalence in Muslim–Jewish relations throughout history and in many regions, with an emphasis on the Middle East, and the Holy City of Jerusalem and its Temple Mount and Wailing Wall. Ma'oz is sure-footed as he proposes political and cultural dialogue to solve the Palestinian problem in a spirit of peace and conciliation.
Professor Emeritus Jacob Landau, Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Briefly, yet clearly explaining the religious, political and geographical aspects, this book opens an encyclopedic perspective on the ambivalent relationship between Muslims and Jews throughout history. The question of Jerusalem, the symbolic and earthly center of the actual conflict, seems unsurmountable, but beside the dangers embedded in lack of solution, the book opens a vista to a possible dialogue and agreement.
Professor Emerita Rachel Milstein, Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

The great importance of the book is its comprehensive historical account...the relations between Jews and Muslims, and the place of Jerusalem in these relations...a unique contribution is the analysis of the Shi'a and Sunni attitudes to Jews and Israel."
Itzhak Reiter, Professor and Chair of Israel Studies, Ashkelon Academic College

The explosive issues of the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem are at the core of the discussion. Prof. Ma'oz examines the range of ideological, political, cultural and religious perceptions regarding the Jewish-Israeli and Arab–Muslim conflict.
Professor Yehudit Ronen, Department of Political Studies, Academic Chair of The Special External Program, Bar-Ilan University

Moshe Maoz surprises us again with another excellent book. An heir to Albert Hourani's tradition of meticulous research and analysis, Ma'oz paints a picture of a possible peace between Israelis and Palestinians – a peace that recognizes and respects the other's history and narrative. Further, against the prevalent Islamophobic narrative of Jerusalem, Ma'oz sheds light on the intertwined Muslim–Jewish history of the city. History has lessons for us about who we are, but above all, how we get out of this conflict: as the Biblical and Quranic image of Gog and Magog, or with an image of Muslim–Jewish understanding?
Professor Camelia Suleiman, Michigan State University

This is an engaged work by a historian who has dedicated his life to bring narratives of both sides in writing history. Jews, Muslims, and Jerusalem: Controversies and Dialogue is an exceptional, comprehensive and multiple perspectives book. This book is rich with insights and a reference for researchers.
Ibrahim Hazboun, Journalist/ PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The book examines the ambivalent relations – disputes and dialogues – between Jews and Muslims for centuries, highlighting the political-religious radicalization of both parties over the crucial issues of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount since 1967.
Reviewed by David Rodman in Israel Affairs (Autumn 2021) 

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