Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What's the Difference Between a Jewish and Zionist State?

The results of "The Arab-Jewish Index 2004", a survey conducted by Prof. Sami Smooha and funded by the Jewish-Arab Center at the University of Haifa and the Citizens' Accord Forum, were recently released and shed light into the (im)possibilities of Jewish - Arab co-existence in the State of Israel.

The survey, as reported by Ha'artez, (click here for article) produced the following results:

1) 70 percent of Israeli Arabs are able to accept Israel as a Jewish, democratic state.

2) Only 13.8 percent agree to the concept of Israel as a Zionist state.

3) Over 72 percent believe that "Israel as a Zionist state, in which Jews and Arab live together, is racist."

These results naturally lead to the following question:

What exactly is the difference between a Jewish State and a Zionist State?

"According to Prof. Smooha, Israeli Arabs differentiate between Israel's Jewish character and its Zionist nature. Israeli Arabs believe that a Jewish state is a state in which most of the citizens are Jewish, whereas a Zionist state is a state for the Jewish people from around the world."

"For Zionists, one of the goals Israel should set itself is maintaining its Jewish majority at all costs," says Smooha. "That is a Zionist goal, and includes settlement in the Jewish sense and the ingathering of exiles by means of the Law of Return. But the Arabs are not willing to accept this situation in perpetuity."


What does all this mean?

Basically, it means that Israeli Arabs only accept the right of the Jewish People to a Jewish State so long as they feel that they have the ability through (democratic, demographic or other means) to ultimately turn the Jewish State of Israel, where they are currently a minority, into an Arab state, whereby they will be the majority.

As such, the Israeli Arabs, who do not accept the concept of the State of Israel being a state for the Jewish People around the world, are naturally opposed to Israel's Law of Return, which gives the right of Jews everywhere to move to Israel and receive automatic citizenship - as this, in their eyes is a racist law.

Even more than that, what this survey shows us, is that Israeli Arabs are willing to accept Israel as a Jewish State, so long as it exists as a State of the Jews, whereby the State is only Jewish in that there is a (temporary) Jewish majority, yet the overall character, policies and national goals of the state would not be specifically Jewish.

It is important to keep in mind that this survey reflected the beliefs of Israeli Arabs, those who are citizens of the State of Israel. If Israeli Arabs are not willing to accept as a "Zionist State", than what does that say about our chances of making peace with the "Palestinians"?

If Israel is to truly serve as a Jewish / Zionist State, then it is imperative that the State of Israel concern itself immediately with the ramifications of this survey, which poses a clear and present danger to the future of Israel as a Jewish / Zionist State, as opposed to wasting its time and resources planning the destruction of Jewish communities, in the name of "peace", which as this survey makes clear, is not a viable option.

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