No one analyzed the Arab-Israel conflict like Rabbi Meir Kahane, may his murder be avenged. This evening, a memorial honoring his yahrtzeit is being held in Jerusalem. In this essay, he specifies the Arabs of Israel, but his words are true both for the Arab citizens of Israel and all other Arabs living within the borders of the Jewish State. His words are as true today as when he said them almost 30 years ago, when nobody in the Jewish establishment wanted to listen:
The Arabs of Israel: No Surprise
Once again, Israeli leaders and Jewish Establishment groups are “surprised.” In the wake of the riots which saw Arab citizens of the Jewish state stone Jewish buses, attack a police station and firebomb security vehicles — the one word which Jewish leaders, intellectuals and news media used over and over again was “surprise.” Suddenly, all the years of efforts by Israeli and Jewish leaders to persuade the world — but more important, themselves — that the Arabs of Israel were loyal citizens of the Jewish state exploded in the wake of the Arab riots — not in the territories, but inside the Israeli cities of Jaffa, Lydda, Ramle, Acre, Nazareth, Um al Fahem and, of course, Jerusalem.
The most surprising thing about all this is the fact that Jews are surprised. It is this “surprise” and shock which is the direct result of decades of deliberate efforts to avoid dealing with the real, root cause of the problem, a madness that continues to this very day. All the absurd “explanations” and rationalizations: the problem, we were told, is that the Arab economic and social position is not equal to that of the Jew. Or the problem is that the “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza is causing anger and upset among the Israeli Arabs. As if those are the reasons Israeli Arabs take to the streets and cry “Palestine! We will free the Galilee with blood and spirit!” As if giving Israeli Arabs more sewers and more indoor toilets will put an end to the problem. As if a “Palestinian” state in the territories will send the Israeli Arabs back to their homes, happy and satisfied.
The root of the growing Israeli Arab revolt does not lie in economic inequality. It lies in a problem that is so basic and so painful and so terrifying for secular Israeli and Jewish leaders that they flee from confrontation with it — thus assuring that it will grow to proportions that will threaten the very existence of Israel.
The root of the Israeli Arab hostility and, indeed, hatred of Israel, lies in the very definition of Israel as a “Jewish state.” It lies in the very basis of Zionism, which arose to recreate the “Jewish state” that twice stood in the land. And Israel which, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, was to be “a Jewish state in the Land of Israel,” by definition could never allow the Arabs to be equal. It could never allow the Arabs the opportunity to become the majority — albeit peacefully — and democratically change a Jewish state into an Arab one, an Israel into a Palestine. Indeed, the root of the problem and of the liberal Jewish nightmare is that there is a basic, immutable contradiction between Western democracy and a Jewish state.
Western democracy eliminates all such concepts as national background or religion. Whoever is the majority rules, and both Arabs and Jews have the right to become the majority in Israel — under this Western democratic credo — and do with the country what they, the majority, will. Certainly, such a basic law as that passed by the socialist Zionist government of David Ben-Gurion in 1950, the Law of Return, that allows Jews automatic right to im_ migrate and become Israeli citizens, is not what Western democracy would adopt.
But that is exactly the kind of law that Zionism and a Jewish state did adopt and must adopt, for the Jewish people’s main dream is that of a Jewish state, and all that can be done to insure the Jewishness of that state is not only proper but mandatory. A Jewish people, for 1,900 years, lived in involuntary exile, as a minority in Christian and Moslem countries. It enjoyed such minority benefits as Crusades and Inquisitions and pogroms and, of course, Auschwitz. It decided that never again would it be trampled upon, spat upon, gassed to death and burned alive. It decided that it would have a Jewish state in which the Jew was master of his fate, never dependent on others.
That is Zionism and that is Israel — the Jewish state — and there is nothing for any Jew to be ashamed of. But let him never deceive himself. A Jewish state can never be a Western democratic one, and it can never allow the Arab political equality with the Jew, no matter how much the liberal and Left in Israel and the Jewish Establishment refuse to face it.
And that is why the Arab in Israel riots and hates the Jewish state. Because it can never be his, by virtue of the stark fact that he is not a Jew. It is the contradiction between Zionism and West_ ern democracy that is at the heart of the inevitable Arab hostility. And all the economic benefits and all the Palestinian states in the world will never remove the reality of the Israeli Arab who will never accept the Jewish state. It will get worse. Much worse. The Arab birthrate and the new generation of young, educated and hostile Israeli Arabs guarantee that in the years to come, the world will watch on its television screens rioting and shooting of Arabs in the Galilee and the cities of Israel.
The Arabs of Israel joined with the Arabs of the territories in rioting, for the simple reason that they are ONE. For them there is no nonsensical “Green Line,” of 1967. The Arabs of Israel and the territories, both, are logical and normal. They know and proclaim what normal Jews such as Kahane do. They believe and proclaim that there is but ONE “Palestinian” people and that all of the land — “West Bank” and Israel — is really ONE, “Palestine.” To be sure, the Arabs of Israel have no intention of leaving Israel, but surely not because they love Israel. The contention of so many vapid Israeli leaders that the Israeli Arab is caught in the dilemma of being a member of the Palestine nation and citizen of Israel is ridiculous. There is no dilemma for the Arab. His identity is not dual; it is clear and unmistaken. He considers himself to be a mem ber of the Palestinian Arab nation. The fact that he is also a citizen of Israel and lives in the Jewish state is not a dilemma for him, but rather an unfortunate tragedy that he must live with at the moment, but which he strives, daily, to change.
The problem in getting Jews to understand all this lies in the basic dishonesty of the Jewish leadership and the ‘gentilized’, liberal views that surround them, and from which they spring. It lies in the basic dishonesty of the Jewish news media, intellectuals and clergy (both non-Orthodox and, in great degree, Moderdox Modern Orthodox). This dishonesty is rooted in the terrible fear of admitting the fundamental contradiction between their beloved Western de_mocracy and gentilized social values, and the values and definitions of Zionism and authentic Judaism. None of them has the courage to face up to this contradiction and choose!
It is this cowardice that threatens the very existence of Israel, for the vacillation, the hesitation, the flight from the obvious and only choice — expulsion — sees the enormous growth of Arab population as well as the radicalization of an educated and boldly brazen new generation of Israeli Arabs. The cowardly refusal to choose and to act sees a growing sense of uncertainty and then guilt among young Israeli Jews, young people who — in any event — are naked of Jewish values, thanks to the ‘gentilized’, secular education they receive.
This cowardly fear of deciding for Zionism and a Jewish state, and rejecting Western democracy, is nothing short of criminal. The signs and the evidence of Israeli Arab hatred of the Jewish state have been there to see — for decades! In recent years not even the most blind of people could fail to see it. When Arab Communist Party Knesset Member Tewfik Ziad hears Labor M.K. David Libai speak of Jews defending the right of the Arab minority, he calls out: “The minority that will be the majority, in the future” (Knesset minutes, Dec. 9, 1986).
And when Muhamad Mussarwa, the Israeli Consul General in Atlanta (chosen by Israel as some Uncle Ahmed to show the great_ ness of Israeli token democracy), tells a group of Atlanta rabbis (come to drink from his feet): “Israel is my country. I do not per_ ceive it as a Jewish state” (Atlanta Jewish Times, Nov. 20, 1987) — he is merely proclaiming what every Arab sees as the most log_ ical strategy. Unable to demand a “Palestine” at this moment, pro_ claim Israel to be a Western democracy in which Jews and Arabs are truly equal, i.e., Israel is not a Jewish state and Arabs have the right to become the majority and create the kind of state they desire.
This is exactly what the openly pro-PLO Arab M.K., Mohamed Miari (Progressive List), meant when he said: “The State of Israel is not the state of the Jewish people but rather of the citizens who are there by virtue of being citizens of the State of Israel” (Knesset minutes, Oct. 15, 1985).
And this is what Na’ama Saud, an Israeli Arab teacher, tells the newspaper Ma’ariv (May 28, 1976): “Today, I am in the mi_ nority. Who says that in the year 2000 we Arabs will still be in the minority? Today, I accept the fact that this is a Jewish state with an Arab minority. But when we are the majority I will not accept the fact of a Jewish state with an Arab majority.”
And Muhamed Muhareb, chairman of the Arab students at Hebrew University, tells Ma’ariv (January 20, 1978): “I am first and foremost a Palestinian, resident of Lydda. My Israeli citizenship was forced upon me. I do not recognize it and do not see myself as belonging to the State of Israel. With the final solution common to the Arabs of Palestine and of Judea, Lydda will be in the sovereign boundaries of the democratic state. What will that state be called? Palestine, naturally.” And that is why Arab mobs in the Israeli town of Taibe shout: “Katyushas will yet fall again on Kiryat Shemona,” and some 6,000 Israeli Arabs come to the Knesset to demonstrate and shout: “We will free the Galilee with blood!”
The Arabs of Israel are a hostile, hating minority in the midst of a Jewish state they hate and despise and dream of overthrowing. The absurd shibboleth that is waved on high again and again by the ‘gentilized’ cowards to the effect that “the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arabs have never been involved in anti-state acts” is worse than stupidity. One could as well prove that the French or Dutch or Norwegians enjoyed living under the Nazi occupation be_ cause so few joined the underground against the Germans. Most people do not risk life and limb by attacking authority. It takes courage to join an underground or a terrorist group. Most people do not relish being caught and serving long prison sentences. That does not mean that they do not admire the PLO or support it. And even those who are against violence are of that mind for the pragmatic reason that they feel it will not work. But all of the Israeli Arabs reject a “Jewish state,” reject the Zionist concept of a Jewish state in which they — the non-Jews — must, of necessity, be strangers.
The Jewish leaders in Israel; the Jewish Establishment in the Exile; the Jewish news media and the intellectuals — all are bound to Western democracy as some Prometheus, to which their Hellen_ ism so gravitates. All are too terrified and too weak to choose a Jewish state over Western democracy. That is why they doom Israel to years of slow and agonizing torture; to years of Arab rebel_ lion within the country; to years of bloody confrontation with Arabs inside the Jewish state; to years of world condemnation of Israel.
If we do not want that, we must throw off the yoke of the present Jewish leadership in Israel and the Exile. We must reject the sterile anger and protests of sterile Jewish liberals, who are the most dangerous enemies that Israel faces.
If we do not want tragedy, let us throw off our fear of facing the contradiction of Western democracy and a Jewish state. And let us choose a Jewish state, with no guilt. The answer, the inevitable answer is — remove the Arabs to any of their 22 states, and Israel will remain the one Jewish state for the Jewish people. Without liberal guilt or apologies.