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Friday, April 25, 2008

Unfortunately, a lot of people share [this] simplistic view


One of my friends alerts me to blog entries I should be commenting on. This is a comment on a blog entry called Quo Vadis, Israel? by Dana J. Tuszke: (the italicized parts below are quotes from her blog entry)

I have a lot to say about your original post and, while I read a number of the comments, I didn't read them all, so if I repeat anything that has been said before, please excuse me.

I can only hope that your purpose in writing this was to learn more about the subject. I hope the comments you have received have helped in this regard and I hope I can add to your education on this subject.

First of all, I'd like to suggest you read my blog "Israel and its place in the world" for some more insights. I do have a bit of a background. I have family in Israel (I've been to Israel myself 4 times, once for 9 months of a 1 year program, the rest for family celebrations). I learned quite a bit of Jewish History in my years in Yeshiva (Jewish Day School, not after school Hebrew School) and I learn more by working with my tutees. So, perhaps, I have a bit more understanding of the subject.

"I do remember learning about the Holy Land in catechism class, but only as it pertained to the Roman-Catholic faith, the Bible, or Jesus Christ himself."

As a Roman Catholic, I doubt you could possibly understand what Israel means to the heart and soul of the Jewish people. I won't even attempt to explain it in this short (?!?!) forum.

"I once asked a teacher why there were so many conflicts in the Middle East, why people were always fighting with each other, but I never received an answer that made any sense. My questions were often answered with generalizations or personal assumptions."

Sigh. This is a problem. If I were to try to explain the roots of this issue it would sound paranoid. I would suggest you read Brigitte Gabriel's book "Because They Hate". While it's not a Jewish perspective on the issue, it gives you an idea of what happens when open-minded people let the Islamists move in.

"'For Jews and non-Jews alike," Nennhaus writes, "the State of Israel has become the source of disappointment and concern. The world has witnessed the never-ending tragedy that has befallen the Holy Land with its wars, bombings and intifadas, and the United States, in spite of its unmatched influence, has been unable to resolve the crisis.'"

I'm quite surprised that Israel is a source of disappointment. To me, the only disappointment I have with Israel is its government's inability to see the true threat and protect its citizens (especially those in Sderot, but I digress). The wars, bombings and intifadas are caused, quite simply, by the Islamists' aversion to a Jewish presence in a place they consider theirs. Israel, BTW, is a bit smaller than New Jersey and has a population density of over 700 people per square mile (this is a far higher population density than Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia and far less land and even the smallest of these four). Israel is anything but a disappointment to Jews living there, the technology companies who have branches there, the cell phone customers all over the world (the technology for cell phones was developed in Israel, which probably explains the high per capita cell phone use in Israel).

I can't understand how anyone could be disappointed with Israel -- the people who have lived in Israel have taken a place that was desolate and turned into a garden spot. They took a colony and turned it into a country. They took a place living under despots and dictators and created a democracy. They took a spot in the third world and created a modern country based on freedom, liberty and equality for all. They took a piece of real estate (much of which was paid for by Jewish agencies and private Jews) and turned it into a haven not only for oppressed Jews (eg Soviet Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Yemenite Jews, etc.) but also for oppressed non-Jews (eg Vietnamese boat people, members of the Baha'i faith, etc.). How can anyone be disappointed with that?

"The author believes that peace in Israel cannot be achieved if things stay as they are and always have been, and offers that the solution may lie in relocating the State of Israel to a geographic region where there is no hostility."

Interesting idea, but hardly new. When Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism, first thought about what would erase anti-Semitism in the world (he had just been witness to one of the most anti-Semitic happenings in his generation, the Dreyfus Affair -- and the people yelled "kill the Jews" -- not "kill the traitor" or "kill the Jew" singular, but "kill the Jews") he thought of having the Jews settle Uganda. That really didn't fly. Zionism is centered in Zion, another name for Israel. Israel is the center of our lives, the center of our relationship with G-d. Any other place is just like living in a dormitory -- it's nice, but it's not home.

"I wonder how this would work? Would it solve the many conflicts that arise between Israelis and Palestinians? Where would the State of Israel relocate? Should the United States end the war in Iraq and assist the Israelis instead?"

By the way, it wouldn't work too well. For 2000 or so year, Jews have lived mostly outside of Israel (there has always been a Jewish presence in Israel since the time of Joshua, somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 years ago). And we've been kicked out of more countries than I care to list. Each country complained about our presence. Each country, like the world currently, blamed us for all their ills. So finally we decided it's time for us to have our own country again, with G-d's help. So now, these same people (all right, the descendants of these same people) who were for so many centuries, upset that we didn't have our own country, are now upset that we DO have our own country. When you realize that nothing you do pleases others, you realize it's time to please yourself.

I also have a problem with all the people who either say that Israel is the whole problem or that both sides are equally responsible. Think about this truism -- if the Arabs were to put down their weapons there would be no more war; if Israelis put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel.

Israel has spent the past 60 years (and then some) trying to make peace, trying to live in peace, making concessions, defending itself from enemies. When Israel had Gaza, it was a beautiful community. Now it's little more than a launching pad for missiles heading for Sderot or other populated areas. Why are we so anxious to repeat this mistake with Judea and Samaria (aka "the West Bank")?

Unlike the Palestinian Authority (which has shown beyond a reasonable doubt that it doesn't deserve its own country), Israel accepts people of all ethnicities, religions, national origins, races, sexual orientation, etc. Jews have been kicked out of every area given to the Palestinian Authority but Israel doesn't kick out anyone. The existing Palestinian "refugees" left their homes voluntarily at the request of the enemies of Israel. Israel has never forcibly displaced any population (except its own, as in Gaza and the Sinai).

From my perspective, the only solution is for Israel to defend itself, its citizens and its guests (whether they be tourists or people from other countries in Israel to earn a living). Unless the Palestinian Authority, whether it's run by Hamas or Fata, has something to lose, peace will never happen.

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1 comment:

Simon Synett said...

Hey there,

I happened on your blog via Squidoo and I found this article which I think is excellent. (I know it's months old!)

You might find my Squidoo lense interesting: Hamas terrorist group revealed

It's basically a collection of bits and pieces showing how Hamas' obsession with death is the real problem in Gaza right now.

Feel free to drop by and leave a comment there.

All the best,