Monday, October 25, 2010

What is a Jewish State?

New York Times

The more stridently Israel insists on Palestinian recognition of it as the nation-state of the Jewish people, the more adamantly the Palestinian leadership seems to refuse.

As a result, some senior Israeli officials are beginning to question the wisdom of the policy of their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made recognition of the legitimacy of the Jewish nation-state a prerequisite for any final agreement with the Palestinians.

More recently, Mr. Netanyahu offered it as a quid pro quo for a temporary extension of a moratorium on building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have stalled since the moratorium expired last month.


  1. Don't get your religious knickers into an uproar over this. A Jewish state would be one in which the Written Torah is the constitution and the halacha is the law in all areas. That is not going to happen under Netanyahu.
    So why the insistence?
    Bibi is well aware that the peace strategy from the Arab side has been to achieve increasing concessions from Israel without any reciprocity. This way there will never be a final agreement because no matter what Israel offers, there will be more demands. Therefore Bibi has, in a brilliant move, cut straight to the endgame: the final agreement is for the Arabs to recognize Jews as indigenous to the MiddleEast and entitled to a piece of territory of their own. This is something the Arab leadership cannot and will never accept. So forget Yerushalayim, forget border drawing, forget security arrangements. Netanyahu has put the final agreement on the table and the Arabs have pushed away.

  2. Your question in the title is the key to this and other sililar issues. The question was asked at this summer's Washington DC protest against Israel's desecration of Jewish graves (at which Rav Moshe Shterenbuch spoke via hookup)by a very astute English-speaking American Rav. This was his answer:

    What in the world is a “Jewish State”? Can you tell me? I know what a Jewish person is; I know what a Jewish philosophy is. But the adjective “Jewish” does not accommodate the noun “state.” It’s like saying a “Jewish tree”, or a “Jewish car”. What does it mean? The only way the Zionists were able to create a “Jewish State,” for the adjective “Jewish” accommodate the noun “State” was to change the definition of “Jewish.”

  3. Guest 1, the Torah never mentions specific requirements for the Jewish people vis a vis trees or cars (except for the fruit tree thing) but there are many mitzvos that specifically relate to a national existence. What was the purpose of crossing the Yarden River under Yehoshua if not to establish a Jewish state? Exactly why did Ezra bring people back from Bavel? The water pressure was better near the Mediterranean?

  4. It is wishful thinking and wishful thinking ALONE which compels people like Garnel to label anything Netanyahu does as "brilliant." There is no evidence that Bibi's policy is anything more than delusional tripe (the same delusional tripe that would be trotted out by the "left" if Livni was PM - notice they have nothing to complain about since policy is identical, so kadima vents about haredim now instead of venting about likud), but people who still want to believe in the myth that the "right" is different from the "left" in Israel, will call it brilliant and construct a conspiracy theory about how "really, behind the scenes" or "you just don't know what's actually going on" - it's somehow a smart plan that saves us all.

    Why not look at the facts? The arabs have already committed to recognition of Israel (yes, as a Jewish and democratic state - what Israel defines itself as) in the Oslo treason agreements. Yet, Bibi will give concessions in order to "entice" the arabs to agree to what they have already committed themselves to and refuse to actually carry out. Further, the taqiya utilized in the Oslo accords can certainly be utilized now by Arafat's y"s successor Abbas y"s, while employing the right political savvy.

    Then all those things you forgot -
    ie "So forget Yerushalayim, forget border drawing, forget security arrangements. " - those are all at the whims of the arabs and oslo/roadmap treason accords, just like they always were.

    "Netanyahu has put the final agreement on the table and the Arabs have pushed away."

    How many times can the same agreement be presented and each time it is still referred to as "final?" If the arabs reject, he will simply present again. Just like they have rejected in the past. They will reformulate and present until the arab masters are satisfied fully. In the meantime, they will demand gradual concessions which happen on a step-by-step basis in lieu of any supposed "final, final, final agreement." The populace either ignores this or wishes it away with heads in sand. But it happens and is happening. And in extreme cases, when the Arabs are really rejecting something strongly, then the "Unilateral" route is chosen - ie they go ahead with or without arab approval, as what happened in Gaza under Sharon. Unilateral expulsion of Jews. Another "brilliant" rightwing hero like bibi.


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