BERIT SHALOM ("Covenant of Peace"), society founded in Jerusalem in 1925 to foster relations of rapprochement between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, on the basis of a bi-national solution to the conflict between them, with Jews and Arabs having an equal share in the administration regardless of the size of their respective populations (see *Bi-Nationalism). Bi-nationalism for Berit Shalom was not an ideal but a function of reality. The trigger for the establishment of the society was a lecture at the opening of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem by the Orientalist Professor Joseph Horowitz of the University of Frankfurt on the Main. The initiative for founding Berit Shalom came from Arthur *Ruppin. The active members in the society belonged to several groups. The first, which was predominant in the early years, was made up of men who had immigrated to Palestine before World War I and were all (except Ruppin himself) of East European origin, had an academic education, and shared a practical political approach to Zionism. They included, in addition to Ruppin, Dr. Jacob *Thon, Dr. Joseph *Lurie, Dr Yitzḥak Epstein, Haim *Margolis-Kalvaryski, and *Rabbi Binyamin. The second group, which became predominant after 1929, was made up of intellectuals of a Central European liberal background, was much more ideological than the first group, and its members were all strongly influenced by the philosophy of Martin *Buber. They included Prof. Samuel Hugo *Bergmann, Prof. Hans *Kohn, Prof. Gershom *Scholem, Prof. Ernst *Simon, and Dr. Robert Weltsch. Finally there was a group of socalled "Anglo-Saxons," mostly men who were employed by the Palestine Administration, including Edwin Samuel, son of the first High Commissioner to Palestine, Herbert *Samuel, and the attorney general of Palestine, Norman *Bentwich, who did not become full members until 1929. Prof. Judah Leon *Magnes, who also advocated bi-nationalism in this period, was never a member of the society, even though his name was frequently identified with it. Berit Shalom never numbered more than 200 members. From the start there were differences concerning the purpose of the society. Ruppin wanted it to be a research group that would present the results of its studies to the Zionist leadership, while others urged that it formulate and attempt to implement its own political program. Ruppin
She'ifotenu (1930–33); S. Hattis, The Bi-National Idea in Palestine in Mandatory Times (1970).
[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.