Not inhibited by too much knowledge (as my father used to describe opinions of outsiders), many people have theorized about the future of Jews and Muslims in Israel. But I’m an insider for 25 years already. So, how about letting me say a few words about it?
Terms and Oppressions
First of all, the terms. Jews, not Israelis. The eight million Israelis include almost two million Gentile Arabs. Muslims, not Arabs. The five million Arabs in Israel includes almost three million Arab Jews. Talking about “Jews and Gentiles in Israel” snubs almost all its Muslims non-Jews.
So a main divide between two groups is Jews and Muslims. Jews are the majority here but still the oppressed one, via anti-Semitism. (Women are also an oppressed majority, via Sexism. In naming the oppressions: it is as irrelevant that Arabs are Semites too, just like men are also a sex.)
There is a second split, between European (mostly almost three million Jews) and Arab (three million Jews plus two million Muslims). Arabs are the majority here but still the oppressed one, via Racism. (Women are also an oppressed majority, via Sexism. In naming the oppression: All of mankind is one race: homo sapiens sapiens. The difference for Racism lies not in DNA but in culture, and here especially the Semite language.)
All Gentiles may become Jewish if they learn enough of its Tradition and develop the right attitudes. Islam is even more welcoming to proselytes. Yet, once a Jew, always a Jew. And turning one’s back to Islam is a capital crime in Islam. Jews and Muslims are both happy to live in their own quarters, to prevent intermarriage. There is enough contact in the army and at work to have friendships. (Some Jews may want to become Muslim, trying to escape anti-Semitism. Some Arab Muslims may want to convert to European Judaism, trying to escape Racism. Bad ideas.)
Jews of European and Arab descent marry each other in such big numbers that the two groups cannot really be told apart anymore. This shows that most European Jews are not racists (cultural chauvinists).
It is wrong to juxtapose Jews and Arabs, much like pears and Volvos are no opposites. Jews contrast with Muslims (Gentiles) and Arabs with Europeans. Pretending that all Israeli Jews are Europeans ignores that most are Arab – a form of Racism.
People, who are in favor of Jews having their independent home Land back and returning there, are called Zionists. there are also Christian, Muslim and Socialist Zionists. The EU (but not all of its Member States) has acknowledged that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism.
Arabs from Israel are also called Palestinians. They should be called Muslim / Arab Palestinians, not to disregard Jewish Palestinians (all Jews). Sadly, a sizable group of so-called Allies of Palestinian Arabs are just people who hate Jews and don’t care about Arab Palestinians. They talk about Israelis vs Palestinians. They rather do not want to use the word Jews or Zionists and they will not acknowledge that there is age-old Muslim animosity against the Jews that should be challenged.
NB: Jews are oppressed by anti-Semitsm. Both Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages. Anti-Arab Racism talks down to Semite culture.
Third main partition between two groups of citizens of Israel is between the religious and the secular. Israel does not have a total separation between State and Religion, since Jewish refers both to nationhood and religion, which is for secular Jews still a main part of their culture. This divide shows most in its extremes, but most Israeli Jews are traditional, somewhere in between these extremes. The most secular often left the Land, as they can live much more comfortably in many other countries, and the ultra-religious and the ultra-secular each often huddle with “their own,” so that the extreme contrast is not such a big part of Israeli life. Also many Israeli Muslims are mostly traditional – not completely religious or secular. Secular Israelis are definitely oppressed by religious coercion. Yet, when secular Israelis vent their fury on religious Jews, they’re often just sound like anti-Semitism.
A forth and last major difference between two groups of Israelis is between Israeli Jews and foreigners. There are hardly any foreigners in Israel. One reason is that any Jew who enters may receive citizenship, to be the home state of the Jewish People – the only one where it has a majority. Foreigners are at a disadvantage, as in every country. There is also the oppression of Nationalism and chauvinism. Israel is targeted, like almost all countries, by Imperialism (others trying to rule us) and Nationalism (others trying to defeat us) and on top of that by anti-Semitism – anti-Semites do not mind to hurt Israeli Muslims together with Israeli Jews.
The Jewish character of Israel can oppress secular Jews and Muslims.
Most people who serve in the Israeli Defense Force are secular Jews. But there are also religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews, Druzes, Christian Zionists, Israeli Muslims and many other groups represented. Missing are most of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys and Muslims. Ultra-Orthodox girls often do an alternative national service, Muslims not yet.
It is incorrect to contrast Israelis and Arabs, much like apples and Fords are no opposites. Israelis differ from foreigners (Gentiles) and Arabs from Europeans. Pretending that all Israelis are Jews ignores the two million who are Muslims – a form of anti-Semitism (as if Jews do not acknowledge Muslims, or as if they have no full citizenship).
Eight million Israelis are targeted by Imperialism, anti-Semitism and Nationalism.
Five million Arab Israeli Jews and Muslims are targeted by Racism.
Four million Arab Israeli Jews are targeted by both anti-Semitism and Racism.
Three million European Israeli Jews are targeted by anti-Semitism.
The above terms so often have been mixed up that it may take a little rereading to get this straight.
Jews would never live in valleys. Are you nuts? That’s dangerous! They want shelter. Muslims will never live on mountaintops. Are you crazy? That’s much too hot. They want shade. Jews on maintain tops and Muslims in the valleys – the Land is large and wrinkled enough to have place for all – if there is peace between the two groups.
Arab Palestinians deserve their own independent viable safe democratic prosperous state, which seems to mean to remove the Jordanian junta. Some say it would work too in the Sinai.
In the future, Tel Aviv and surrounding may split off to form a totally secular democratic West Israel, while the East will become a State ruled mainly by Jewish Law. So many ultra-Orthodox Jews will flee oligarchy and corruption in East Israel, until it will admit that we can’t do well without a free press and total democracy, and the two will reunite.
This is all hard to understand in secular communities like in Europe.