Sunday, March 12, 2006

Are Israeli Arabs Loyal to the Jewish State?

I recently argued (here and here) that the State of Israel is first and foremost a Jewish State, and as such, it need not apologize for investing greater funding in areas that will strengthen Israel as a Jewish State and placing the needs of the Jewish People before those of anyone else. Furthermore, I argued that absolute equality is not possible in a Jewish State, and ultimately, one will need to choose whether to place a greater value in the State of Israel's democratic character, or it's Jewish one.

As can be expected, not everyone agrees with this outlook, in particular, my blogging buddy Don, from On the Contrary, who argues about the importance of (absolute?) equality between Jews and non-Jews in the State of Israel in his posts on the subject (here and here).

To Don, and others who share his outlook on this issue, consider this: Poll: Israeli Arabs happy with Hamas win

Two-thirds of Israeli Arabs were pleased with Hamas's win but even more believe the State of Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, according to a survey presented at a conference Thursday about the trends of the Arab voters at the University of Haifa.


Seems like a point for Don and his followers, as the bottom line shows that regardless of their personal political beliefs, the majority of Israeli Arabs recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, and what more can Israel really ask / expect from the Israeli Arabs?

But, before I concede the debate to Don, let's see what else the poll found:

But despite their claims of support for a Jewish state, "What they don't agree to is a Zionist state, meaning a state which has the right to preserve its Jewish majority," Prof. Sammy Smooha, one of three sociologists who made the poll, told The Jerusalem Post. "They accept there is a Jewish majority but not that the state has a policy and law of return to preserve and increase the majority."


In essence, the Israeli Arabs are saying that they accept the fact that today the State of Israel is a Jewish State, but they do not accept that the State of Israel must be a Jewish State tomorrow, and they oppose any actions or policies that work to ensure that the State of Israel remains a Jewish State (such as the Law of Return, or efforts to "Judaize" the Galil, the Negev and Jerusalem).

So, I ask Don, and those who share his outlook the following question:

Are Israeli Arabs who share the above sentiments loyal citizens of the State of Israel?

Can a citizen who seeks to undermine Israel as a Jewish State (even through entirely peaceful means) be considered a loyal citizen of the State of Israel?

I say no, and I imagine that Don would say yes - in the name of maintaining the democratic character of the State of Israel.

Personally, I believe that the State of Israel has an obligation to ensure the rights of all those who live within her borders, however, I do not believe that one of those rights is the right to change the State of Israel from a Jewish State into a State of its Citizens or into a Palestine.

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Religion, Women's Rights... I'm all in favor.

Nationalistic rights (the right to democratically destroy the Jewish State from within) - I absolutely oppose. If there are non-Jews living in the Jewish State of Israel who have nationalistic aspirations, there are 22 Arab / Muslim countries where they can express them (and there's always the EU, of course).

Does this make me a racist?

I think not.

I believe that those who think that the Israeli Arabs nationalist aspirations can be bought off by providing them with a more money and opportunites are the racists; those who believe that the Israeli Arabs love their imagined Homeland - Palestine - less than the Jews do are the racists.

I respect the Israeli Arabs. I recognize that they will never feel equal in a country whose national anthem is the Hatikva, whose flag is the Star of David, whose national holidays are Jewish holidays, and where there is a Law of Return that grants automatic citizenship to any Jew in the world who wants to move to Israel - but not for Arabs.

The State of Israel is a Jewish State, any non-Jew who wants to live here in spite of that should have all their rights protected and ensured by the State - but that will not change the fact that the State of Israel was, is and will always be a Jewish State, and the sooner everyone realizes that, the sooner we can begin working towards achieving true peace, understanding and co-existence.



20 Comments:

Ze'ev,

Obviously I am not going to agree with you as we have different ideas concerning what is meant by guaranteeing the Jewish nature of the state.

As to the question of loyalty however, I thought this head line was interesting:

3 held on suspicion of attacking Arab for dating Jewish girl

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/692806.html

It seems according to your worldview, this was an Arab whose children would be Jewish if he had continued his romance with this Jewish girl. Now why don't we encourage that as a way to "ensure a Jewish majority". And this guy, an arab serves in the Jewish army (More than some we know).

I would say this is a good example of where your racist thinking comes undone. Is the best way to ensure the Jewishness of Israel the racist policies of transfer, settlement and apartheid proposed by the Far Right? Or is it a kind embracing of minorities and a welcoming of them into the Jewish State?

H

By Anonymous H, at Sun Mar 12, 04:53:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev wrote:

So, I ask Don, and those who share his outlook the following question:

Are Israeli Arabs who share the above sentiments loyal citizens of the State of Israel?

Can a citizen who seeks to undermine Israel as a Jewish State (even through entirely peaceful means) be considered a loyal citizen of the State of Israel?

I say no, and I imagine that Don would say yes - in the name of maintaining the democratic character of the State of Israel.



Strangely enough, I actually don't believe the question of loyalty - as you frame it, at least - is relevant or important to the issues we're discussing. Remember that this whole thing started with a Supreme Court ruling that said, very simply, that you can't allocate education funding based on racial criteria. They didn't say (and I don't say) that the law had to be absolutely equal in all regards.

I have never said that all "discriminatory" laws need to be abolished. The Law of Return, for example, is fundamental to Israel's role as the Jewish state and the place of refuge for persecuted Jews everywhere. "Discrimination" in this regard is indeed necessary, in that without it we are just a little version of Canada or Australia with a perhaps-temporary Jewish majority, not a Jewish nation-state.

But the fact that there are certain "discriminatory" laws that are required for Israel to fulfil its purpose as the state of the Jews does not in any way serve as a blanket endorsement for any discriminatory law you can come up with. In particular, I see no "Zionist" justification for discriminating in the provision and funding of such basic services as health care and education; once Person X is a citizen of Israel, whatever his/her nationality, s/he is entitled to an equal share of such services.

I see no reason whatsoever to connect funding for education, health care, sanitation, and so on to "loyalty". To do so is inherently racist, since (A) there is absolutely no way (as you correctly point out) that we can expect Israeli Arabs to be loyal to the State of Israel in the same sense that you or I are loyal; and (B) there is no logical reason or Zionist necessity to justify this connection.

In short, I don't believe that it is possible to eliminate all forms of discrimination. I do believe that any form of discrimination that we decide to retain must be justified according to very strict criteria. Providing Israeli Arabs with an inferior level of services (A) in the hope that they'll get fed up and move out, or (B) just because you don't like them, does not satisfy this "necessity test" - and thus, to insist on discriminating anyway is racist.

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Sun Mar 12, 05:14:00 PM GMT+2  

Addendum:

Ze'ev wrote:

I believe that those who think that the Israeli Arabs nationalist aspirations can be bought off by providing them with a more money and opportunites are the racists; those who believe that the Israeli Arabs love their imagined Homeland - Palestine - less than the Jews do are the racists.


Fine - but why assume that anyone who believes in the equal provision of government services is trying to "buy someone off"? While I do think that there are some real benefits to operating in as fair a manner as possible (i.e. discrimination in granting citizenship but fairness in allocating services and resources to citizens), I believe that the fundamental reason for fairness is that it's the right thing to do.

Remember, after all, that we're supposed to be "a light unto the nations". That's one of those little, simple-sounding phrases in Torah that are easy to say but very difficult to put into practice! The "nations" don't care how kosher our meat is or how heavily we penalize businesses that open on Shabbat. The "nations" do notice things like the degree of fairness with which we treat our own non-Jewish citizens. In my opinion, the kind of discrimination you advocated in your earlier posts represents a very serious chilul haShem.

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Sun Mar 12, 05:26:00 PM GMT+2  

Dollars to Doughnuts, the guys that beat up the Arab were secular.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 12, 06:48:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, I personally have no problem with Arabs marrying Jews - there are plenty of Jews from Arab / Muslim countries. My problem i with non-Jewish Arabs marrying Jews.

If he wants to go out with a Jewish girl, let him join the family 1st...

My thinking is far from racist, as Judaism doesn't discriminate based on race. Anyone in the world (except for a male from the nation of Ammon, Moav or Amalek) can convert to Judaism, so where exactly is the racism?

Don, you say that not all discriminatory laws are bad, just some of them - as others, like the Law of Return, are needed to preserve the Jewish majority.

Well, I believe that funding for Jewish educational insitituions and communities is also a very important part of ensuring the Israel remains a Jwish State - so shouldn't that also be ok?

And further, we both agree that Israeli Arabs can't possibly accept the fact that this is a Jewish State, and yet you still advocate ending over backwards to ensure the equality of a secotor of society that you know is working to undermine the very existance of the Jewish State!?!

Lastly, on this point, I have no problem, once Israeli Arabs publicly forswear any nationalist aspirations to turn the State of Israel to something other than Jewish State, to ensure that all of their rights and protected, and that funding for their services are provided.

Why should I worry about providing substantial fundingfor my enemy?

If he has no ill design towards the Jewish State, then he should have no problem remouncing any nationalistic aspirations ,adn accepting the fact that on matters of national policy of the Jewish State he will not have a say.

As for being a Light Unto the Nation - the concept of Ger Toshav is what the Torah advocates towards non-Jews in the Land of Israel - and, like you, I agree, we should strive to be a light unto the nations, but for me, that is fulfilling the will of G-d, not the nations of the world.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Mar 12, 09:03:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev - a word to the wise - you might not want to call Jews from Arab countries Arabs. While they may have connections and even share blood, they usually don't like it very much.

By Blogger lisoosh, at Sun Mar 12, 10:19:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev, you are mistaken a amaleki may convert to Judaism

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Mon Mar 13, 12:49:00 AM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 13, 05:27:00 AM GMT+2  

Lisoosh, point accepted.

Kahaneloyalist - they might be able to, but only b'dieved - if they converted without the Beit Din knowing that they were from Amaleik, they don't nullify the conversion...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Mon Mar 13, 09:12:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'ev wrote:

I believe that funding for Jewish educational institutions and communities is also a very important part of ensuring the Israel remains a Jewish State - so shouldn't that also be ok?

As long as all Israeli citizens receive equal allocations for education, sanitation, health care, and so on, I have no particular problem if some of the budget allocated to the Jewish sector goes to "Jewish continuity" projects. Of course, this funding should not be monopolized by the Orthodox - if I want to follow a liberal stream of Judaism, I am just as much entitled to have "my" institutions funded as you are, on a per-capita basis.


And further, we both agree that Israeli Arabs can't possibly accept the fact that this is a Jewish State, and yet you still advocate ending over backwards to ensure the equality of a sector of society that you know is working to undermine the very existance of the Jewish State!?!

So you're saying that funding for basic government services is not a right by virtue of citizenship; it's a reward for loyalty to the State. Even if this had some trace of truth or moral justification - and it doesn't - it's based upon a massive over-generalization. You and I may agree that it's difficult for most Israeli Arabs to be enthusiastic Zionists; that's not at all the same as saying that all Israeli Arabs are "enemies of the State".

You would quite correctly reject this kind of branding of an entire community if I were to say that all right-wing settlers were racist bigots; but isn't that exactly what you're doing when you say that "Israeli Arabs can't possibly accept the fact that this is a Jewish state"?

And further, you jump to the statement that Israeli Arabs are "a sector of society that [I] know is working to undermine the very existence of the Jewish State!" - a statement for which you give no support and which is completely contrary to the facts. The vast majority of Israeli Arabs are law-abiding citizens who are not politically active. To penalize every Israeli Arab, including young children, because a small number engage in politics of which you don't approve, is nothing less than racism.


Lastly, on this point, I have no problem, once Israeli Arabs publicly forswear any nationalist aspirations to turn the State of Israel to something other than Jewish State, to ensure that all of their rights and protected, and that funding for their services are provided.

Would you cut funding to neighborhoods in Ramat Aviv that traditionally vote for Meretz - since, by your standards, Meretz wants "to turn the State of Israel to something other than Jewish State"? If not, you're saying, in essence, that your criteria for allocating government services are not only ideologically biased, they are also biased along strictly racial lines.


Why should I worry about providing substantial funding for my enemy?

You've got all kinds of missing middle premises here, Ze'ev! What kind of "funding" are we talking about here? Nobody's talking about selling Israeli Arabs weapons at subsidized prices; we're talking about education, sanitation, and other basic "quality of life" services. Your "funding my enemy" argument works only if the funds in question would in some way strengthen Israeli Arabs as opponents of Israel - and if anything, precisely the reverse is true.

It's accurate enough to say that better funding won't "buy off" people who fundamentally don't accept the premises of Zionism. However, on average such funding is likely to reduce the radicalization of Israeli Arabs. But even if it had no such effect at all, equal funding is justified (A) because it does no harm, and (B) because it benefits the State of Israel even if it doesn't reduce Israeli Arab hostility to Zionism.

As far as "harm" goes, I would say that the onus is very much on you to show why equal funding for education and other government services for the Israeli Arab sector would constitute a threat to Israel. Are you worried that hordes of Arabs will go go to law school and litigate us to death? That they will become dentists and extract all our teeth? Unless you can show how something as benign as basic fairness is going to hurt the State of Israel, simply saying that Israeli Arabs must be under-funded because they don't like us is completely illogical and immoral.

Even if better funding for education doesn't reduce Israeli Arab hostility to Zionism, it will still very strongly reduce the threat that the Israeli Arab community poses to Israel. After all, what is that threat? It's not terrorism, and it's not any other kind of conventional warfare; it's demographics. And what is the most reliable way of reducing birthrates? Education! All over the world, societies' birthrate has dropped precipitously when literacy and general educational level (especially among women) has increased. So if you're worried about the growth of the Israeli Arab population, the best thing you could possibly do about it is to provide generous funding to Israeli Arab schools!


As for being a Light Unto the Nation - the concept of Ger Toshav is what the Torah advocates towards non-Jews in the Land of Israel - and, like you, I agree, we should strive to be a light unto the nations, but for me, that is fulfilling the will of G-d, not the nations of the world.

It's very easy to find bits in the Torah to support pretty much whatever policies you advocate - at least within the range of general-niceness-to-nationalistic-bigotry. (Sadly, there's nothing in there advocating the consumption of steamed lobster with drawn butter; I've checked.) Personally, I don't think you have all that good a handle on "the will of G_d" in this matter.

Here's a nice little quote for you: "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." (Anne Lamott) When you write as you've done on this topic, I think your version of the Torah and "the will of G_d" are entirely too close to your own desires and prejudices. Torah - and Judaism in general - is not supposed to make us feel all warm, cozy, and self-righteous. Judaism is supposed to provide us with a constant moral challenge! Sometimes that means abandoning racism and reflexive chauvinism, and doing what is right even if it hurts a little.

Sorry for sermonizing, but I think that you're at the brink of a major moral abyss here. It's extremely dangerous to think we know or understand "the will of G_d" - especially when our version of that "will" is basically similar to what we wanted to believe anyway.

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Mon Mar 13, 11:28:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'ev, I just realized that in the Anne Lamott quote I included in my last comment, the word "G_d" appears without the underscore. Let me know if you'd like me to repost my comment with that corrected. (It's a pain in the butt since there's no "edit" feature, but I'm willing if it bothers you.)

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Mon Mar 13, 11:47:00 AM GMT+2  

ze'ev, the Rambam disagrees with you and writes there is no phrohibition on a amaleki joining Benei Yisraael. Though there is a common and MISTAKEN Belief that this is so(emphasis mine)

By Anonymous kahaneloyalist, at Mon Mar 13, 06:46:00 PM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 15, 06:22:00 PM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger answer-man, at Thu Mar 16, 12:33:00 AM GMT+2  

Palestinians Humiliate Themselves

In a March 16 editorial in the New York Times titled, As If That Fire Needed Fuel, the Times writes:

"Israeli Army officials ordered inmates to strip to their underwear [see photo below], which many did, marching out with clothing on their heads, an embarrassing and completely unnecessary provocation that trampled the dignity of any Palestinian watching that spectacle.

Given the humiliations that ordinary Palestinians suffer merely by trying to get through Israeli checkpoints every day, the prison raid just reinforced the already degrading reality of living under foreign occupation."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated, “What happened without a doubt is an ugly crime which can not be forgiven and a humiliation for the Palestinian people.”

Palesinians should feel humiliated. A majority of Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem support suicide terrorism. A 2001 poll by Dr. Nabil Kukali and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), found, "a substantial majority [of Palestinians] (76.1%) support suicidal attacks like that of Netanya [in May, 2001], whereas 12.5% oppose, and 11.4% express no opinion." A 2006 poll taken by the Jerusalem Media & Communication Center after the recent Hamas political victories found, “56.2% [of Palestinians] strongly or somewhat support suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians whereas 40.7% oppose such operations.”

Considering that the majority of Palestinians support suicide terror, and considering that Israel prevents suicide killings on a daily basis, it should come as no surprise that captured Palestinians are asked to remove their clothes during the process of incarceration. Why should any Israeli take a chance of being blown up? Why should Israel present Palestinians with opportunities to commit suicide killings?

Palestinians should feel humiliated about their culture of death and they should be asked to strip naked during the process of incarceration as long as their population continues to support, condone, and commit suicide killings.

http://whypalestiniansgetitwrong.blogspot.com/

cuddletotheleft@yahoo.com

By Blogger Why Palestinians Usually Get It Wrong, at Sat Mar 18, 03:46:00 AM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Greg, at Wed Mar 22, 08:31:00 PM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Don Radlauer, at Thu Mar 23, 12:41:00 PM GMT+2  

Lisoosh- I was at a convention two weeks ago and a woman (Israeli, Iraqi descent) introduced herself as an "Arab Jew".

I find that nobody likes being called Arabs: They prefer to be addressed by their nationality.

By Blogger tafka PP, at Tue Mar 28, 09:56:00 AM GMT+2  

Ever since 1936, when rebel sympathizers inside Madrid attacked the city, the term “Fifth Column” has meant traitors within the ranks. If the Jewish state is to survive, Israel’s government must stop evicting Jews and start expelling the Fifth Column Arabs within its borders.

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