Why ‘Jewish’?

Why ‘Jewish’?

Larry Lerner’s letter displays naivete and a lack of historical knowledge on the Middle East (“Time to move forward,” April 3).

There is a fundamental difference between designating Israel as a state versus Israel as a “Jewish state.” On Nov. 28, 2007, in answer to Saudi Arabia on this very subject, Professor Amnon Rubinstein stated the following:

• If Israel is not a Jewish state, it can’t be called Israel, because Israel is a synonym for the Jewish people. If Israel is not Jewish, its Declaration of Independence should be annulled, because it talks about the establishment of a Jewish state named Israel.

• If Israel is not Jewish, the United Nations Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, regarding the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, should be revoked.

• If Israel is not Jewish, the Law of Return should of course be abrogated, along with Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom, which determines that Israel’s values are based on its being a Jewish and democratic state.

• If Israel is not Jewish, a new national anthem will have to be found instead of “Hatikva.” If Israel is not Jewish, it won’t be Catholic. Or Buddhist. It will be Arab-Muslim — even if the path toward this outcome has to go via a binational state.

• If Israel is not Jewish, there will not be two states for two peoples. If Israel is Arab-Muslim, it is not likely to be democratic.

Saudi Arabia’s constitution begins with the following words: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion; Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, are its constitution.” Its legal system is based on Muslim religious law, or sharia.

Lerner correctly points to the significant Arab populace in Israel. Yet, he fails to note that Jews can only be residents in a minority of Arab countries. He also fails to draw attention to the extraordinary concession made by Israel in the release of the most heinous terrorists. What concessions have the Palestinians made? Under the Oslo Accords, they agreed to end the hatefilled rhetoric emanating from their political and educational systems and media. And what of Gaza? How many Arab states are there to be in Palestine? According to international law, only one Arab state and one Jewish state
were authorized.

As for the so-called Palestinian refugees, remember what Abba Eban, a liberal, said on the subject in 1958: “If there had been no war against Israel, with its consequent harvest of bloodshed, misery, panic, and flight, there would be no problem of Arab refugees today.”

Finally, does the PA really want peace or Israel’s destruction? If the former, why the need for concessions simply to negotiate?

Alex Rose
Ashkelon, Israel

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