Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem. He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981.
Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History. He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes. He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.
One of the (very) many organizations and groups who are extremely active in attacking the issue of Israel's right - and that of the Jews world-wide - to establish residency, as revenants, in their historic homeland, is the Foundation for Middle East Peace. I have engaged Geoffrey Aronson, its Director of Research and Publications, in debates and conversations, and we are acquainted for many years.
In its most recent report, I found an article and in it a short paragraph which, for me at least, goes to the heart of the 'problem', the core issue of my right the live in Shiloh. Here it is:-
Settlements are the most visible, potent, and tangible manifestation of Israel’s “staying power” in its ongoing struggle with Palestinians to prevent the creation of a genuine Palestinian state. They represent an existential challenge to Palestinian efforts to establish sovereignty and independence, and thus are understood by Palestinians as the critical benchmark against which the prospect of their liberation from occupation is to be measured.
As I have remarked to diplomats and journalists, if all the Jews need, for the sake of peace it is claimed, to remove themselves from the Yesha communities and to reconverge within the state of Israel in its pre-1967 borders, why not, for a much better peace, that all the Arab residents of the state of Israel move into that future "state of Palestine"? Why not make a switch and remove all possible of internal friction?
One response is "that's immoral"? And I reply, what, only "immoral" for Arabs but not for Jews? A second response is that Arabs are citizens of Israel but we Yesha Jews are not citizens of "Palestine". We don't have a right to stay in "Palestine" but the Arabs have a right to remain in Israel. A third reaction is there must be a compromise but which returns the situation back to 1967 whene no Jews were there whereas Arabs have always been in Israel.
But what this actually all boils down to is that many people are convinced that the Arabs of Israel, as well as the people opposing the existence of the Yesha communities, were cheated either in 1917 (the Balfour Declaration), in 1922 (the Mandate) or in 1947 (The UN Partition Resolution). They got a bad deal and we Jews are still at fault. Not only shouldn't we be in Judea, Samaria and Gaza but - it goes - we should be lucky that we're permitted, in the final negotiations yet to be reached, to remain in the 1967 borders!
That subliminal deep-seated hostility - from Goyim and antizionist Jews - drives the opposition to the Yesha communities and makes any alternative all the more dangerous for Israel.
We should respond by pointing out that the Arabs cannot have a third Arab state in the original Palestine Mandate territory (Jordan, "Palestine Fatah" and "Palestine Hamas") and they surely cannot have a uniethnic state in Judea and Samaria while Israel will have a 20% and growing Arab minority (if I am not mistaken we Jews are about 20% of the population of Yesha right now). And then we can borrow from the above quotation: They represent an existential challenge to Palestinian efforts to establish sovereignty and independence.
But, we write it thus: They represent an existential challenge to Israel's efforts to maintain sovereignty and independence.
Any territorial withdrawal of Israel from Judea and Samaria not only represents a negation of our national, historic, religious and legal rights, not only is it a blow to Zionist ethos and will further decompose Zionist spirit in the face of a resurgent Islam, not only will it endanger Israelis but, it will leave the state with a significant demographic element that has already joined the destructive forces seeking Israel's dismantlement.
Indeed, only the balance of Jewish communities in Yesha can ensure Israel's future existence in any area of the former Mandate. A whittling away of its presence in Yesha will only encourage the trend of diminishing Israel within its pre-1967 borders which, I beleive, is the true goal of the Geoffrey Aaronsons of this world.