There’s an entertaining, heated and all-important debate going on practically with no breaks, as to the fundamentals of Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, especially today, in such trying, it might be said, times for the Jewish State. The author would like to briefly expound on his own vision of this all-important issue.
One view, not very popular today, at least among the readership of this site and generally in the community associated with it, is that modern state of Israel was founded as an act on pity by world community, after seeing the horrors of Holocaust and finally realizing the wrongs done to our nation. Formal foundation of Israel’s existence and albeit difficult, but undeniable international acceptance, with of course a few exceptions, does lie in the UN resolutions and those of UN’s predecessor, the League of Nation, as well as in pledges given some 100 yrs ago to Jewish leadership by British one. But whatever may the papers say, owing one’s existence or independence to another ‘players’ volition, however good, is both unreliable and humiliating for any nation, and perhaps more so to ours than any other. There are many concerns as to current state and future tendencies in relations of Israel with major international players, in particular USA and European Union; with some fearing, hopefully greatly exaggeratedly, the eventual severance of ‘special ties’ between them, while also witnessing with alarm some processes of renascence of nazi- and fascist-like sentiments in some supposedly civilized countries. Hence, the trust in good will of mankind, which has many times failed both our and other peoples, is not the most practical position.
On the other hand, there’s an opposite extreme, with some tending to unequivocally declare Israel being outside, beyond and above any connection, duty or responsibility towards the rest of the world. While seemingly more ‘passionarian’, this view ultimately may even be more destructive to the state we all, or almost all, cherish and support, as closing itself down from entire world, save a few mostly intellectually feeble and culturally backward entities, creates a huge risk of either turning Israel into a new South Africa of pre-1990 times(of course, in terms of state of relations with the rest of the world, not regarding relations between different communities in the country proper), or making it abandon its democratic values and association with democratic community, and becoming a pawn in the geopolitical ambitions and adventures of some much less attractive ‘friends’, than the ‘unreliable’ US and EU. Thus, ‘we don’t owe anything to anyone/we conquered this land and own it by conqueror’s right’ type of attitude, is a dead end too. After all, if our hand is stronger today, who said our enemies’ one won’t prevail tomorrow—especially given the utterly ‘unconventional’ ways of fighting used by them in the last few campaigns? On a few occasions, we did lose our land and sovereignty before—first to Assyria and Babylon, then Rome, then, if one were to include Jewish kingdoms appearing occasionally in non-Israel terrains, such as Khazaria, Adiabene etc., to Russians, Arabs and so on. Hopefully this will happen never again, but i am simply reminding of these tragic occurrences, so illustrate the argument that might itself, is a shajy foundation for statehood.
I think, the true foundation of Israel’s existence should lie in between, or perhaps rather include both above mentioned concepts, and base itself on the very idea of «RIGHT’ as such. Not just right of victim or right of victor, but SIMPLY RIGHT. Each nation, and this is etched in many commonly accepted statutes and declarations, has a right to exist, and a right to self-determine its fate—provided, desirably, that fate does not clash with another nation’s. Sure, in our case it does, but so do fates of India and Pakistan in Kashmir, Greece and Turkey in Cyprus, yest no one in a right state of mind would suggest demolition of any of those nation states. And to throw in a religious element, which not all Jews like but which none can essentially escape, it should be always remembered that Israel’s right to live on its Promised land, directly depends on our conduct. Whether in business, morality, politics, show business and what not, if we are to believe ourselves to be the ‘Light on to the nations’, we need to watch ourselves real closely and zealously, both those living in and outside Israel. After all, one of the pillars and staples of our religion/ideology/ethics is commandment to «Pursue justice’, and only on the basis of sticking to it and carrying it out, can—if at all—be our presence in the given land be rooted real firmly.