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The Civil Riots in Israel Are a Warning to Prevent a Dark Future

Published: (Updated: ) in Jewish News by .

Our decision-makers should ask themselves some hard questions regarding the critical issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The post The Civil Riots in Israel Are a Warning to Prevent a Dark Future appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Following Operation Guardian of the Walls and the gruesome fights between Arabs and Jews in our cities, the common wisdom in Israel today calls for heshbon nefesh, soul searching, in Hebrew. Indeed, our decision-makers should ask themselves some hard questions, first and foremost about the policy – or the lack thereof – regarding the critical issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They will have to explain why they turned their back to the Palestinian Authority, relegating to it the marginal role of keeping the West Bank quiet, while grooming the Hamas, in the false belief that they can always contain its ambitions.

The violent clashes between Arab and Jewish Israelis must generate another heshbon nefesh. Our leaders should account for neglecting the Arab Israeli sector for so long, for turning a blind eye to the illegal firearms and crime which have been ruining the Arab towns, and for embracing the followers of Rabbi Kahane into the Knesset. Is it any wonder, then, that when these explosives meet a spark, a big fire results?

The most profound heshbon nefesh, though, should boil down to the most crucial question: How did we allow the Netanyahu governments to move us, eyes wide open, towards a one, bi-national state. How can a life-affirming people, which has managed to restore its sovereignty after 2000 years of exile, enable such a disastrous development, which might force our children and grandchildren to choose between a non-Jewish state or Apartheid.

The most profound heshbon nefesh, though, should boil down to the most crucial question: How did we allow the Netanyahu governments to move us, eyes wide open, towards a one, bi-national state.

Already three centuries ago, the Italian rabbi and philosopher Moshe Chaim Luzzato (1707-1746), known by the Hebrew acronym RaMCHaL, highlighted the importance of heshbon nefesh: “A man should peruse his deeds, making sure he doesn’t develop a bad habit or a wrong conduct,” he wrote in his ethical treatise Mesilat Yesharim (The Path of the Just). Realizing, however, that morality alone might not suffice to serve as a compass for frail humans, he suggested taking example from the big merchants, “who navigate their businesses carefully, so that they won’t founder.”

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Since the moral question of ruling over millions of Palestinians doesn’t seem to bother many here today, we should apply RaMCHaL’s wise advice and point to the balance of gain and loss, something which the Israelis – who dread the word freier (sucker) most – would surely appreciate.

Imagine, then, a one, bi-national state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, with roughly the same numbers of Arabs and Jews, who are fiercely divided on most issues. Apart from the question of representation, which will determine whether that state would be democratic at all, adding two and a half million Palestinians with low socio-economic parameters to the already over-stretched Israeli welfare system would be a disaster. The Start-Up Nation would regress and become a third world country.

Yet, an even worse danger lies in the prospect of bloody, Balkan-like feuds, a taste of which we have just been treated to in Akko, Bat Yam, Yaffo and Tiberias. Let’s remember that those recent riots involved only an extreme minority of Israeli Arabs, with the majority living with us in tranquil coexistence. What would possibly happen when they are joined by millions of Palestinians who have nothing towards us but hostility forged by decades of occupation and indoctrination of Jew hatred? In that case, they would probably be met not by an extreme Jewish minority, like today, but with many more. And who will restore law and order then, the Israeli Police, who already found it difficult to do so last week? The IDF, who is supposed to defend us from external enemies?

An even worse danger lies in the prospect of bloody, Balkan-like feuds, a taste of which we have just been treated to in Akko, Bat Yam, Yaffo and Tiberias.

RaMCHaL understood that in order to carry out a real heshbon nefesh, one has to free oneself from misconceptions, because whoever is shackled by his vices, is like someone who “walks in the dark and his eyes can’t see the hurdles ahead.” But our eyes were opened last week, to see for a moment what a one, bi-national state might look like. Therefore, in the coming elections – and realistically they will come sooner rather than later – our politicians won’t be able anymore to dodge the following simple question: Are you for or against a one, bi-national state, and if not, what are you going to do about it?

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Uri Dromi was the spokesman of the Rabin and Peres governments (1992-96).

The post The Civil Riots in Israel Are a Warning to Prevent a Dark Future appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Source: Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/israel/336978/the-civil-riots-in-israel-are-a-warning-to-prevent-a-dark-future/

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