Thursday, December 07, 2006

WHY JEWISH MATTERS IN ISRAEL

This was in the December 6, 2006 Israel National News email

Official recognition of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel as a national, native minority, including its special connection to its homeland and its historic rights to it.
Arabic, already recognized as an official language, must be granted equal status to Hebrew in every aspect of public life, just as English and French are recognized in Canada. As a truly bilingual country, Israel must grant appropriate expression to the Arab-Palestinian culture in the public sphere, including noting the Arabic names of various places and giving Arabic names to public buildings, streets, etc.
Total autonomy in the spheres of education, religion and culture. At the root of this right lies the recognition of the nativity of the Arab population in Israel and its right to self-definition in these areas.
Proportionate representation in decision-making and policy-setting bodies, including all government offices and ministries, planning and construction authorities, government companies, public councils, the Civil Service, ad-hoc committees, and the like.
Extra allotments of resources such as budget allocations, land and housing, to compensate for past discrimination.
Changes to national symbols, including the flag and anthem, as emotionally-charged public resources that have a special impact on minority sectors. The State must grant appropriate expression to the presence of Israeli-Arab citizens and to their historic ties to the land. Israel's array of symbols must reflect an equal approach to both its Jewish and Arab citizens.
Equality in immigration and citizenship rights. The allocation of quotas in these areas is an expression of the country's strength, and the country must apportion them fairly, justly and equally.
Protection of the special ties of the Palestinian people with the greater Arab nation. The Palestinian population in Israel must be enabled to freely maintain and develop special ties - family, cultural, economic and the like - with the other members of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation.
Historic rights. Corrective justice demands that Israel must officially apologize and recognize the Nakba - national Arab-Palestinian catastrophe - of 1948 when the Arabs were removed from their lands. Among the issues addressed in this point are the uprooted Palestinians - 25% of the current Arab population in Israel - and their return to their original villages, such as Ikrit, Al-Ghabasaya, Al-Lajun, and others, as well as assets of the Moslem Waqf that must be administered by the Moslems
(Arutz Sheva, Hillel Fendel, Israeli-Arabs Demand National Recognition Dec 05, '06 / 14 Kislev 5767)

Commentary
These Arab demands listed in the article are just, if viewed in the context of a diverse democracy. A mere Jewish majority does not justify an exclusively Jewish anthem or national emblem reflecting the common history of the country. Similarly, except for extreme circumstances a hallmark of democracy is the equal protection doctrine. Laws, legislated rights and obligations need to apply to al people under a government’s jurisdiction equally. Therefore to treat Jewish return differently than Arab return is little more than institutional racism.

However, in the context of Jewish identity does this list of demands morph from a reasonable call for equality to a cynical denial not just of a Jewish State but of a Jewish identity as well. Regardless of what anyone else thinks Israel is the eternal homeland of the Jewish people. My Mother often quoted this old pre state slogan:

For some it is Palestine
For others holy land
For us it is Eretz Yisrael
On that we make our stand.

By the way mother may she live and be belonged to HaShomer HaZair a leftist movement not the rightist Betar or Herut. If Zionism means anything anymore to the general public it is time to step up and as a matter of policy legislate the Jewish character desired in the state TODAY. Yesterday was already too late

1 comment:

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