Prime Minister Netanyahu gave another virtuoso speech at the UN the other week. Really, nobody does it better. But Netanyahu’s speeches are like a giant cream cake instead of a real meal: very satisfying to the palate, but the body remains unnourished.
“There is one thing that I am not willing to discuss,” Netanyahu roared. “The fact that Israel is the state of the Jewish Nation.”
But who said that there is such a nation? Maybe we are nothing more than a fabrication?
As opposed to other politicians, Netanyahu understands where the front line is drawn today. The debate is not really over the 1967 borders. It is not even over the borders of the 1948 Partition Plan. The real debate is over the Balfour Declaration. That is, the British document that recognizes the right of the Nation of Israel to a state of its own in the Land of Israel (on both sides of the Jordan River). Today, the Balfour Declaration is considered a historical error in the elite Western universities, the original sin that must be rectified. This is the drum that Abu Mazen keeps beating.
Over the years, Israel has metamorphosed from its pre-Oslo reality – in which it did not recognize the existence of a Palestinian nation and certainly did not recognize the “right” of this “nation” to the Land of Israel – to a post-Oslo reality in which Israel recognizes the Palestinian nation and its right to the Land of Israel, while the Palestinian “nation” does not recognize the existence of the Jewish Nation or its right to even one grain of sand in Tel Aviv and Haifa.
It is impossible to adopt the Oslo rationale, to hug Arafat, and to talk about the two-state-solution while attempting to prevent the foregone conclusion that they are a nation while we are nothing more than an arm of Western colonialism.
So what really makes us a nation? The Torah tells us of a covenant between G-d and the Nation of Israel. Israel vows its loyalty to G-d and to the laws of the Torah. “On this day you have become a Nation.” It is this covenant that makes us a nation.
For the prime minister’s speeches to have meaning, to be a truly liberty-based nation – for both believers and non-believers – we need leadership that is connected to its Jewish identity. We need leadership that safeguards our existence as a nation. We need leadership that conveys loyalty to the covenant between the Nation of Israel and G-d.
Leadership like that will no longer speak Oslo-speak. It will not discuss the two-state-solution for two nations and champion a state that has no identity. It will not champion a state that has no G-d, a “state of all its citizens.”
When we have leadership motivated by its Jewish identity, we will speak of one state for one nation with one G-d. And nobody will question the right of the Jewish State to exist.