“To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.” ―Golda Meir
Ethical Jewish Tradition Dictates No Wanton Slaughter
In the current war against Palestinian Hamas, the Jews take great pains to fight according to ethics dating back to Ancient Israel. Today’s Israeli Defense Forces call the cell phones and land lines of everyone in a target area; they drop warning fliers written in Arabic; and they drop a dummy-bomb immediately before any attack. Why do Jews try so hard to honor the commandment to “choose life,” even in wartime?
This all goes back to David. Circa 1005 BC, King David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites, targeting only those who opposed him. There was no wanton slaughter, nor were surviving Jebusites expelled: “And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites . . . but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day” (Judges 1:21).
The Ethic of Property for Peace
Israel has a history of giving Arabs land for peace. Israel gave the Sinai to the Egyptians, and gave Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians, in exchange for peace, although the Palestinians have proven quite aggressive against the Jewish State, despite their gift of Israeli land. But why is Israel so interested in helping to maintain property rights when it comes to dealing with those who have been their adversaries?
Again, we can return to the administration of King David, who respected the property rights of the Jebusites, even though they had fought him. He refused to use a site for the sacrificial altar until he had paid for it, despite the fact that its owner, Araunah the Jebusite, had offered it to him for free. “And the king said unto Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you at a price; neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which has cost me nothing’” (2 Samuel 24:24). David, quite notably, utilized Jebusites in his military, as well as in other occupations, just as Israel utilizes its Arab citizens today.
Israel Is Enduring
In 1312 BC, centuries before King David, Israel became a sovereign nation. Israel is two thousand years older than the religion of Muhammad. When unoccupied by other empires, the only state ever to exist upon the land Israel now holds has been a Jewish one. Modern Israel is its third incarnation. Arab Palestinians never existed until 1967, when these people started to call themselves Palestinians in an attempt to validate their claims to possession of the land.
In an attempt to share the land with these Arabs, Israeli Jews—two decades before—invited these selfsame Arabs to remain in the newly-formed state. They offered the same rights to Arab Muslim citizens as they did to the Jewish ones. Those who stayed behind enjoy more freedom today than Arabs in Muslim countries do. They hold political offices, other government jobs, and serve in the military.
The Jews have never left the land entirely, but have maintained a presence in it for 3300 years. After the Holocaust brought about the murder of six million Jews—a third of the total worldwide population—the call went out for a return home. The Tribe of Judah, in large numbers, headed for the Holy Land. This was the land of King David, and of the Jewish holy city that is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible over 700 times. (The Quran, interestingly, mentions Jerusalem not even once!)
Tikkun Olam: the Jewish Tradition of Healing the World
The Jews, seeking a safe place and choosing their ancestral home, began to repair and improve the land, turning desert areas into fruit orchards, sowing crops in the earth, and building greenhouses. In contrast, the Israeli lands given to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were spoiled by the Palestinians. Greenhouses were destroyed and all the plants in them killed. Wells were filled in with dirt. Nothing made by Jews was left standing.
This destruction is similar to what Jordanian Arabs did when they controlled Jerusalem; they desecrated Jewish holy sites and barred Jews from accessing their holy city. Nowadays, with Israel in control, Jerusalem protects sacred sites of all religions, making them available to all worshipers.
No Compromise: Either You Have a Safe Haven or You Do Not
Upon declaration of Israel’s re-establishment, in 1948, eight Arab countries declared war against the tiny state. Although Israel is no bigger than New Jersey, there was no room for a country run by Jews within the worldview of Islamo-fascist Arabs who wanted a Mid-East that was “Judenrein”—free of Jews. Almost seven of ten Arabs living in Israel abandoned ship, fleeing to Arab countries, rather than risk retaliation from Arabs who might detest them for living in a predominantly-Jewish country.
Although Israel continues to work toward peace and fairness for all, and is the only state in the Mid-East that protects the rights of women and gays, it is interesting that the United Nations—perhaps because it is controlled by dictatorships and Islamo-fascist states— actively works against Israel, having passed literally hundreds of resolutions against the Jewish state over the years. Yet, when the Jordanians destroyed 58 Jewish synagogues, desecrated the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and implemented a policy of forced segregation against Jews, the UN “saw no evil, heard no evil, and spoke no evil.”
It is a sad fact that anti-Semitism, post-Holocaust, is still alive and well in the world. In many places today, the Holocaust is even being denied. Perhaps the best way to address this problem is to support Israel. It is, after all, the only peace-loving democracy in the Mid-East and the only place in the world where Jews can live with the absolute expectation that they will be vigorously protected by their government and the vast majority of their fellow citizens.
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