Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
After the war his students, led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, remembered. Rabbi Levinger located the new settlers within the historic mainstream of Zionism: “Like emigrants and settlers at the turn of the century and the kibbutz farmers, we, too, are pioneers.” The overwhelming majority of he early settlers, in Gush Etzion, Hebron, and Samaria, were religious Zionists.
To be sure, as the years passed secular Israelis searching for affordable housing relocated into sparkling new settlements that were appealingly accessible to major Israeli cities. Now the largest settlements, closest to Jerusalem, are ultra-Orthodox communities. But the pioneering stronghold of religious Zionism is Hebron, where 700 Jews and their 6,000 Kiryat Arba neighbors (surrounded by more than 100,000 Arabs), remain faithful to its centrality in Jewish history and determined to continue three millennia of Jewish habitation there.
With all that is happening in the Middle East, the Israeli left (enthusiastically supported recently by J Street) continues to cling to its dogma that Israeli “occupation” is the axis on which the region turns. But this anti-settlement fervor should be recognized for what it is, and always has been: an expression of the fear of secular Zionists – including prime ministers across party lines – that religious Zionism may yet challenge their cultural and political hegemony.
For that partisan impulse to override Israel’s ever more precarious security situation could be catastrophic. It already confronts Hamas in Gaza (with Mubarak no longer available to enforce the terms of Egypt’s peace treaty), and Hizbullah, controlled and armed by Iran, on its northern border. Israel hardly needs to add a vulnerable eastern border, where even Jordan has recently rumbled with internal discontent.
More than ever, Israel’s security – and, perhaps, survival – depends upon its continued control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, where there is a string of Jewish settlements stretching from Ariel to Hebron. These ridges, demographer Yoram Ettinger observes, “constitute the ‘Golan Heights’ of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,” where 80 percent of Israelis live.
Considered in this geopolitical context, Israeli settlements are not an “obstacle to peace” but a vital security barrier. Middle Eastern turbulence and uncertainty should not be permitted to override reality. And Israeli prime ministers might recognize that international law – however distorted its current restatements – protects, rather than undermines, Jewish settlements.
The largest Jewish settlement in the Middle East, after all, is the State of Israel.
Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Brothers at War: Israel and the Tragedy of the Altalena,” to be published this spring.
About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.
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Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.
Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”
In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3
The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.
I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya
While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not
Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison
Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.
“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.
“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”
The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.
American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam
Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign
For nearly sixty-five years national self-definition has been the skeleton in the closet of Israeli politics and culture.
During much of the 20th century, elite American colleges and universities carefully policed their admission gates to restrict the entry of Jews. Like its Big Brothers – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – Wellesley College, where I taught history between 1971 and 2010, designed admission policy to perpetuate a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite.
Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers (Harper) explores the lives of seven Israeli paratroopers in the Six-Day War who, his subtitle suggests, “Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.” It offers a fascinating variation on the theme of Israel at a fateful crossroads, in search of itself, following the wondrously unifying moment at the Western Wall in June 1967 when Jewish national sovereignty in Jerusalem was restored for the first time in nineteen centuries.
In death as in life, Menachem Begin remained who he had always been: a proud yet humble Jew.
Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.
One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Nearly sixty-five years ago Israel declared its independence and won the war that secured a Jewish state. But its narrow and permeable postwar armistice lines permitted incessant cross-border terrorist raids. For Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the mere existence of a Jewish state remained an unbearable intrusion into the Arab Middle East. As Egyptian President Nasser declared, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel.”
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