Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The future of Israel

When I was in Tel Aviv, after the Birthright Israel trip ended, I paid particular note to the graffiti lining the walls. I took pictures of it. But the most common graffiti I saw said "Am Yisrael Chai." This translates to "The People of Israel live."

The second most common graffiti I saw was in English, and it said "Know Hope." Here is an image of that:

I have been wrestling in my head with the issue of the Arab Israeli minority in Israel. To put things in context, African Americans are about 12% of the American population, and Arab Israelis are 20% of the Israeli population. And so the Arab Israeli issue cannot be ignored or swept under the rug, as it has been for too long. Please note that the birthrate for Arab Israelis is 4.0 per woman, compared to 2.7 per woman for Jewish Israelis. 25% of the new births in Israel are Arab Israelis. This is a demographic threat that will only get worse with time.

I was reading an Arab Israeli politician's website, and I was in horror, reading what he had to say. He said that for too long, the Arab Israeli nationality has been subjugated, and their history ignored. But now, evidently, the Arab Israelis are learning their own history and identifying with their nationality.

This is a horrifying problem.

What does this mean? It means that Arab Israelis are taught that May 14, 1948, is a day of mourning, not celebration. It means that there are essentially two Israels. It should also be noted that Arab Israelis receive a fraction of the funding for their schools, compared to Jews. And yet, funding their schools also means funding schools that are teaching something incompatible with Zionism.

Think about it. In the United States, there is no minority that learns that July 4 is a day of mourning. There is no minority that is taught in a different language.

And yet doing something about this problem necessarily means going against the priniciples of democracy and equality that we as Jews hold so dear to our hearts. However, not doing something about it also means sitting on a ticking time bomb. I do not believe that a bi-national state is a state that will be welcoming Jews for long. But moreover, a binational state is not a refuge for Jews, nor a Jewish homeland.

What should Israel do about this? I see the problem, but I do not see any clear solutions. The only politician even acknowledging the problem is Avigdor Lieberman, and he is advocating a radical solution: basically saying that all Israelis should sign loyalty oaths to Israel, and be required to join the IDF. Those who are not willing to join the IDF (Arab Israelis, but also Haredi Jews and peaceniks), do not get the benefits of citizenship. Is this the only way?

The solution that I came up with is to fully fund Arab Israeli schools, and to send Jewish Israeli teachers to teach the kids Zionism. There should be one education system, and one overarching culture that unites everyone. Without this, then there is no country, and Israel is a failure. And yet, after visiting Israel, I was struck by the following...I think that most Jewish Israelis really do not trust Arab Israelis, and believe that they are not loyal to the State of Israel. I think most Jewish Israelis believe that Arab Israelis must be hating themselves while they sing the Hatikvah. And I think that, because of what they are taught by their schools, parents, and mosques, perhaps that's true. But it doesn't have to be true.

For a nonJew to live in the first world country of Israel, and get to associate with Israelis - it's a positive, not a negative. Jewish culture, history, and philosophy has shaped the world, and it is to the benefit of a nonJew who is not a hater to live in the land of Israel.

I do believe that many Jewish Israelis believe it is a slap in the face for a nonJew to be singing the Hatikvah ("The Hope"). And yet, hope is what is required to keep us going each morning. Without hope, we perish and die. The concept of Israel as a refuge for Jews, as the hope of Jews, is not exclusive to Jewry. The Jewish people, individually, are not always the best people in the world. This is unfortunate. And yet, collectively, Jews have contributed to the world in a way that vastly exceeds their numbers. Jews have contributed to the fields of science, philosophy, the arts, and politics in a way that is fundamental to world civilization.

And so why wouldn't a nonJew want to live in Israel, and be sincere in the desire to contribute to this Jewish society?

The simple answer is hate. But hate is taught, hate is learned. Lest we forget, we are all born a tabula rasa, blank slate. And this is why Israelis should be doing all in their power to stamp out the seedlings of hate until they bloom into flowers that cover the entirety of Eretz Yisrael. I have come to believe that if Israel is not willing to fully fund Arab Israeli schools and teach them Israeli nationalism and pride, then perhaps Avigdor Lieberman's plan is what is necessary. But continuing down the current primrose path that Israel is taking simply is the road to perdition. I believe this more than ever, after reading the email a friend sent.

What do you all think?

16 comments:

felix said...

Those Palestinian arab citizens of Israel who, after 58 years, can't get used to the idea that they live in Israel, the only zionist country, ought to consider relocating. Those who accept (they don't have to love it, just accept it) Israel should be welcomed.

The Raccoon said...

You're proposing cultural assimilation. It is something that has been and will be resisted by the majority of Arab citizens of Israel.

Most of them don't think of themselves as Israelis. Many of them hate Israel. Most things the State does for them are considered with suspicion - how do you think they'll react to Jewish teachers, teaching in Hebrew about Zionism and love of Israel? Hint - probably with violence.

Oh, and how do you think the "enlightened" West would react to this? Not to mention the Arab world? Evil invading and occupying Jooz stealing the beautiful native culture of the native Palestinians and forcing their Evil Jooish ways on the poor "noble savages"?

Do come on.

Moreover, they are a part of a society and culture that is intinsically and morbidly anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish. For them, there is no "Hope of 2000 years, to be free people in our homeland, land of Zion, Jerusalem". I can dig that. It's not their dream. It's the dream of a despised race of uppity slaves, a dream the Arabs as a group have been doing their best to crush.

I'm with Liberman on this.

And what Felix said.

Red Tulips said...

Raccoon:

I do not believe this has yet been attempted in Israel's history. My thought is either this sort of cultural assimilation must be attempted, or Lieberman's plan must be effected. Either/or. I have yet to hear anyone bringing forward any other solution to the demographic crisis on Israel's hands. I acknowledge all of the risks involved with the cultural assimilation program I have proposed, but then there are many benefits to it as well - namely, not having to give up land or kick people out.

And yet Israel seems content to just chug along, waiting for this demographic time bomb to explode, without doing anything to stop it.

Can someone explain why this is?

Mad Zionist said...

I have yet to hear anyone bringing forward any other solution to the demographic crisis on Israel's hands.

Yes you have...

Michael said...

note that the birthrate for Arab Israelis is 4.0 per woman, compared to 2.7 per woman for Jewish Israelis. 25% of the new births in Israel are Arab Israelis. This is a demographic threat that will only get worse with time.

RT- the last demographic study I saw reported, also said that Arab birthrates are declining, while Jewish brithrates are slowly rising. As long as we keep the palis out (a reasonable security precaution, too), I think we can hold our own demographically.

You are dead-to-rights about the double school system, though. That must be addressed, and the non-Jewish communities do need to have the same curriculum as the Jewish communities.

I would add two things though:
Police enforcement must be the same for Arab as Jewish Israelis (example: there was a riot in Akko last Simchat Torah, and the cops declined to prosecute the Arab rioters, but insisted on discipline for the off-duty soldier who fired his rifle in the air to disperse the rioters).

Second, town infrastructure must be equalized. Some of the Arab villages around Karmiel remind me of Appalachian poverty. Until that changes, they'll feel spit on because they'll look spit on.

I agree with felix, that they don't need to love Israel, just accept it. I would also add, not hurt it.

Oh, and one last thing: Turn down the !@$^^&$ loudspeakers on the mosques. Aren't there noise ordinances here?

Red Tulips said...

MZ,

Your plan is not that different from Lieberman - just Lieberman's plan effectuated to the extreme. (he wants to kick out only those disloyal to Israel, you want to kick out all nonJews, period)

Michael:

I agree with all that you said, including the bit about the loudspeakers. I was in an Arab Israeli village not far from Karmiel just recently (perhaps the one you are thinking of!), and the loudspeakers announcing prayertime were absolutely deafening.

The Raccoon said...

Again, your proposition won't work because:

1) Arabs will resist having the same education system as the Jews - probably with voilence.

2) The "world" will use this to further demonize Israel.

3) Trying to impose the rule of law on Arabs means fighting them. It has been tried before. Also, see #2.

4) Giving more money and better infrastructure to the Arab villages/towns means helping the enemy. Without making them actual Israelis this is suicidal. And they do not want to be actual Israelis.

In other words, implementing your proposal would mean a whole lot of violence, thousands dead and a massive anti-semitic and anti-Israeli hate-fest around the world.

Agreed about the either/or. I'd say that Liberman's option is the only reasonable one.

Mad Zionist said...

You know better than that, Tulips.

Yes, I do want to kick out those who are disloyal, and I do seek to revoke the citizenship of all non-Jews, and I do want to annex all of the West Bank and Gaza into the borders of Israel.

However, rightous gentiles like the Druz are welcome to live in Israel as foreign residents without political or land purchacing rights.

Red Tulips said...

Raccoon:

*sighs*

Frankly, I have no retort to what you just wrote, other than the pathetic liberal answer of my answer just "feels right."

So I guess, in reply, I have to say that perhaps you are simply right, and Lieberman's plan is the only solution.

MZ,

I already responded to this argument on your board, concerning those nonJews who are willing to join the IDF to fight and defend Eretz Yisrael.

Jason said...

Well, we could finally put HAARP and all those magnetic and lo-fi mind control weapons developed by the conspiracy using the UFO technology to use and brainwash the arabs with them.

We've had it since roswell. May as well use it for something.

felix said...

Check out the following, after Israel left Gaza, the demographic situation isn't as bad as portrayed.
Demography and Israel's National Security

shlemazl said...

I am with you on this one: all possible efforts should be made to assimilate all citizens of Israel. Sadly the problem is not one-sided. Jews coming to Israel often bring problems from the countries they left and many coming from the former USSR brought racism. In any case it won't be fully resolved overnight and probably not until after some kind of a peace deal with Palestinians... Perhaps never.

Eurosabra said...

Thing is, Israel is a democratic polity where ius solis citizenship counts for something, thus the birth citizenship of Israeli Arabs IS Israeli, and while you can't turn them into Zionist Jews, you can turn them into Israelis who understand why their Jewish countrymen became Zionists. (Indeed, most residents of the Triangle have been horrified by Liberman's bruiting up the prospect of handing them off to Palestine as part of a settlement.) The fact is that a significant portion of Arab-Israelis voted for mainstream Zionist parties in the past, and those percentages can be restored if a concerted effort is made to woo them away from Balad, etc. Moreover, the really freaky Islamist fringe (Northern Islamic Movement, etc.) in Israeli-Arab politics is still marginal, very marginal indeed compared to within Palestine. So there is significant cause for hope just within the political dynamics of the Arab-Israeli community, as well as within those of the Jewish-Israeli community.

The Raccoon said...

Eurosabra -

Alas, Ahmad Tibi and his ilk seem to be winning. The radicalization process in the Arab world doesn't spare Arabs in Israel, it seems.

We do not have the tools to deal with the Arab culture. Arab propaganda simply works better on Arabs than Israeli education.

And the lawlessness problem will not be solved even if Arabs in Israel can be turned away from the openly trasonous Arab parties - see the Israeli Bedouins. They're Israeli, they're good people, and yet their culture is FUBAR. Should the current demographic trends continue in Israeli Bedouin populations, we'll be a lawless bandit state in 50 years tops.

Greg said...

Red Tulips: here's another problem(as if there weren't enough already). Jews in Israel are increasingly scared to voice thier nationalism. The Kach movement has been virtually nullified and why!? Because some Kahane followers have tried killing Arabs? Let me remind you that there are parties like Ballad and Hadash in the knesset who openly support Israel's enemies and pray for its destruction.

But I took a pesonal hit the other day that I'd like to share with you. My wife and I were in Kfar Saba visiting a friend who's been hospitalized. As we were leaving I began humming the Ha'tikva. Now I've been in Israel for more than 5 years but I still have these songs in my head which is a little strange. Back to my story...My wife immediately got angry and asked me to stop. When I refused, she began yelling at me.

Why did this happen? Because as you know, Kfar Saba is in close range of Arab rockets and there are plenty of Arabs working and staying there.

You're right...demography isn't playing into our hands and Israeli Arabs are a very serious problem.

Mad Zionist said...

Israeli arabs are only a problem because they are living in a Jewish State. They believe the land is rightfully arab, not Jewish, so it makes perfect sense that they would hate the Jews and resent Israel. The moslem problem has a solution, but utopian musings about educating them to like Israel and become Zionists is the kind of pure fantasy which, in reality, only would serve to get many, many Jews (and arabs)killed.

Israel either expels the vermin or suffers death and terrorism at the hands of the enemy within.

So, please, don't anyone tell me about how you met a "cool arab bartender", or how you know this one moslem in Israel that is, "like, totally so awesome and fun." This is life and death for the Jewish State, not some "feel-good special" on the Today show.

Greg, Tulips, I love you guys but sometimes you make me want to pull the hair out of my head!