Yshai Amichai
Yshai Amichai Courtesy

Tel Aviv Strip

In 1947, the UN adopted its “Partition Plan for Palestine,” dividing the Land of Israel between the Jews and the Arabs, with Jerusalem designated as an internationally administered city. The Jews accepted this plan, the Arabs didn’t. We should be thankful for that.

The UN intended for us to have a narrow corridor of a country, split into 3 blocs separated by international border crossings. See this map for reference. Even Jaffa was excluded from it. Such a country would not have been defendable, it would not have been able to absorb world Jewry, and could not have been self-sufficient. We would have been like the Gaza Strip.

The Arabs opted instead to attack us with their armies. The British pulled out their forces, and we were poorly armed civilians, many of us refugees from the Holocaust, sitting in the crossroads of hostile armies. The Arabs planned to drive us into the sea, and yet we should be thankful for their hostility.

We were forced to defend ourselves and rely upon ourselves and God. This would not have happened were the Arabs even mildly friendly. We would have handed them the keys to our country. Instead, we were forced to assert national sovereignty.

Don’t assume that this was an easy task for us. Since when do Jews defend themselves? Did we defend ourselves in Europe or in Arab lands? Would we have defended ourselves in America had the need arisen? Why did we defend ourselves in Israel? Don’t presume that this was a natural response for us as Jews.

The Arab intolerance and extreme hatred of us is what trained us to act in self-defense and even with an appetite for success and strategic victory. We viewed this not only as a battle for our survival, but as a war for our national independence. We came out on top with God’s Help, not without many casualties, but with an existential need for a more contiguous and defensible territory.

National Refugee Camp

Unsuccessful in driving us into the sea, the Arabs cooked up a new plan. They decided to flood our poor Jewish state with refugees, severely straining and even crippling our weak and war strained economy.

The Arabs murdered Jews in their lands, seized their property and drove them out as enemies, hoping to flood our fledgling state with refugees and suffocate it. As harsh as this might sound, we should be thankful for that.

That’s right, we should be thankful for the Arabs’ inhumane and wicked treatment of Jews, their trampling of our rights, their theft of our hard-earned money and property, and even for the atrocities they committed against our helpless civilians. We were forced out of our homes with brutal violence and driven into utter poverty in refugee camps, and yet we should be thankful.

This was obviously a great blow to us as people, and even a bitter dilemma for us as a nation, but in the long run it has been a blessing for Israel. Those Jews expelled from Arab lands have played an integral part in the success of Israel. They make up about half of the Israeli Jewish population. Without them Israel would be a much weaker country.

Just imagine if the Arabs had been any different. Had they recognized the long and fruitful history of Jews in their lands and the great benefit they had gained from us, they might have embraced their Jews as assets and, even lovingly, refused to accept that we should leave. Instead, in their extreme hatred of us, they did the opposite. The Arabs brought our people to Israel for us.

Judenrein

But not only did the Arabs do us the great favor of bringing our people to Israel, they also did us an additional and equally valuable favor, in their great hatred of us. They encouraged their Arab brothers in Israel to leave their homes and join them in their battle for Israel’s destruction.

While Jews were neglectful and even went to great lengths to assure their Arab neighbors of our peaceful and hospitable intentions, to prevent their flight from Israel, it was the Arabs who did us the favor of clearing space for the arrival of our people.

The Arabs make anti-Semitism popular again.
Of course, the Arabs did so with the opposite intentions. They were preparing the battlefield for the annihilation of the Jews in Israel, to completely rid the Land of its Jewish inhabitants. They told the Arabs that they would be leaving for only a short period of time and would inherit their Jewish neighbors’ homes and wealth in the process, but the opposite happened. Instead, those Arabs become refugees, and they identify as refugees to this day.

The Judenrein land that the Arabs wished to acquire in their great hatred of us, became a Land with a Jewish majority. That would not have been possible without the Arabs’ help. We Jews have been neglectful and even impotent in fulfilling this essential need, hoping to live peacefully with our Arab neighbors. We have the Arabs to thank for doing the job for us.

We cannot have a Jewish country if Jews are the minority here. This is true in our current state as a democracy, but it would also be true under alternative forms of government. Ruling and administering a hostile and foreign population is troublesome to say the least, but even if the Arabs were peaceful and tolerant, they would not consider themselves a part of our Jewish state.

A Jewish state is a national religious and ethnic designation which the Arabs do not and cannot subscribe to. Expecting them to live peacefully in a Jewish state where they are the majority is a naïve and untenable expectation.

Even as a minority within our borders, the Arabs remain the clear majority in the region. Backed by the Arabs who surround us in their masses, it would be hard to make them feel like a minority in Israel. It is therefore no surprise that they continue to feel as if they are just one step away from gaining the upper hand over us, which makes their presence particularly perilous to our survival as a Jewish state.

Peaceful Obliteration

The same concept has been repeated over the years, particularly concerning our willingness to give the Arabs their own country in Israel. Our compassion and naivete would have taken us back to insecure borders and a perilous dependence upon the Arabs. Instead, in their great hatred of us, the Arabs have been doing us a favor. They refuse to give up their armed struggle and they refuse to make peace.

The Arab hatred of us is not reasonable. They equate Zionism, Jewish nationalism, with racism, suggesting that we are evil for even considering ourselves a people, or for even having a nation. And their hatred is not limited to Israel, it is a hatred of all Jews.

This explains why they murdered Jews in their lands and expelled them. It also explains why they assault Jews in other lands, like France and England, and even in America. While other peoples are afraid of being labeled anti-Semites, the Arabs have no such fear. Quite the opposite, people are afraid of arguing with them. The Arabs make anti-Semitism popular again.

We don’t need to thank the Arabs for that. We can thank ourselves, and God, for anti-Semitism. When we slip up and risk peaceful obliteration, the likes of assimilation or disintegration, it is God’s way of ensuring our survival. The illogical hatred and oppression are what have kept us alive over the ages as Jews, and they keep us alive today as a nation in Israel.

We can thank the Arabs for their hatred, or we can thank God, but we should be wise enough to understand its purpose. The purpose is, oddly enough, to help us: To prevent us from making grave and irreversible mistakes.

There are greater forces at play here than most people care to admit. When seeing riots, terrorist attacks, or wars from a greater and historical perspective, what is at risk here in Israel, or in the Jewish communities of the diaspora, is a lot more than Jewish lives. What is at risk is the entire nation of Israel and its role in the world. What is at risk is God’s Plan for mankind.

The Arab hatred should be a wakeup call to us all. We cannot make peace with them, without first making peace with our God and with ourselves. The Arabs are not even a real side to the story, they may be considered a mere prop.

The real peace plan is between us and God.