This past Thursday, the 29th of November, the Arabs of the Land of Israel finally woke up.
How about the Jewish Nation? When will they awaken to claim what was already given to them – in writing – more than 3300 years ago?
The Arabs came to the United Nations to ask for what the UN had proposed giving them 65 years ago: their own Arab state in the ancient Land of Israel. This is no surprise, and according to a common understanding of international law, quite acceptable, as the lopsided UN voted made clear. The state is to have ‘observer status’ only – at least for the time being.
The date they picked to bring their request before the General Assembly was loaded with ironic significance. “Kaf-Tet B’November” (the 29th of November) is a uniquely Israeli Hebrew and English calendar notation that marks the day in 1947 when the modern Jewish state came on-line to the world.
Exactly 65 years before last week’s session, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 which proposed a “two-state solution” – the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, in the Middle East.
Resolution 181 called for the partitioning a portion of the former Ottoman Empire into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The UN plan sliced off the ancient Israelite territories of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, as well as most of the Galilee in the North and parts of the Negev desert in the South, and gave them to the proposed new Arab state, while keeping the Old City of Jerusalem under international control.
The Jewish community, in spite of the tiny size and strategic vulnerability of the proposed Jewish state, accepted the passing of the resolution with national celebrations; the local Arabs, together with their allies the surrounding Arab states, rejected the resolution completely. They demanded as their right the entire land for themselves. The moment the resolution was passed, the Arabs began full-scale preparations for a war of annihilation of the region’s Jews.
Less than a year later, on May 14, 1948, the Jews of the Land of Israel declared Independence. The following day, the Arabs launched a combined military attack from within and without Israel. The Jews miraculously defeated their attackers. Thus was the Jewish State of Israel born, while the Arab state that was supposed to come about in tandem did not emerge.
For 65 years, the Jews in the Land of Israel have celebrated their own unique holiday: Kaf-Tet B’November (“The Twenty Ninth of November”). Only now, apparently, have the Arabs wised up to the fact that a foothold, even a small one, in the Land of Israel is well worth the effort.
One doesn’t have to be a genius in the art of politics to understand that the Arabs of the Land of Israel are now well on their way to achieving international recognition of their own independent Arab state, one that they expect to have full membership in the United Nations.
For some, this sounds like the leopard has changed his spots. But in fact, little has changed. Just as it was then, so it is now, and there is nothing new under the sun. The leadership of this looming state-to-be is a corrupt, totalitarian dictatorship with Islam as its state religion, and no Jews allowed. In long-standing Arab tradition of governing, its leadership pockets billions in international aid while building fancy houses and villas for those close to inflow of funds. Furthermore, the governing power strangles any opposition to their rule with intimidation and violence.
How did the Arabs get this far? After all, the Jewish settlers who came 200 years ago to transform the abandoned, infertile and nearly-empty region viewed the Holy Land in its entirety as the final destination of the long- away-from-home Jewish nation. After the guns of the First World War fell silent, these aspirations gain recognition by international law: first by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and later in the San Remo Conference convened by the League of Nations in 1920 and the Mandate for Palestine of 1922. These international agreements made it clear that the Jewish People had an historic and inalienable right to live as a nation in their ancient, historic homeland, the Land of Israel, which existed separately from the Arab lands that surrounded her.
So what is stopping us? How did we get to the point where the world can take seriously the idea that Arab immigrants have the right to create a new country on ancient Jewish, Israelite land? After all – most Arabs came from the wider Arab world on the coattails of the agricultural and economic miracle that came about once the world backed the return of the Jews to the land.
Dear readers, we have now come face to face with the real “Jewish Problem.” Both the Christian and Islamic faiths know full well that the Holy Land is the Land of Israel, the Land that their own sources claim that the Jews will return to live and control one day. Who, of course, exhibits a collective ignorance of this future scenario, in theory as well as in practice? Why, it is the Jews.
Jews of Israel and the Diaspora: take a good look in the mirror. To paraphrase the fictional cartoon character Pogo, created by cartoonist Walt Kelly:
“We have met the problem, and he is us.”
To be fair, we don’t need the San Remo, Lausanne, Pikes-Sacks, or any other international conference to prove our point. We have our own conference, one which transpired before the eyes of the world and was a known fact to many ancient societies: the famous Mount Sinai Convention. It was this mass event that took place 3,325 years ago, in front of more than 2 million active participants, that etched into the collective human consciousness once and for all the right of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel:
And the Lord spoke to Moses, and said to him: “I am HaShem. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as the Limitless God, but I did not make my name HaShem known to them. I also established my Covenant with them: to give them the Land of Canaan, the land of their residence, where they lived. And I have also heard the groaning of the Children of Israel, whom Egypt has enslaved; and I have remembered my Covenant.
Therefore say to the Children of Israel: I am HaShem, and I will take them out from under their Egyptian suffering. I will save them from their slavery, and redeem them with a stretched-tight arm and great judgments.
And I will take them for me as a nation, and I will be for them the Lord. And they will know that I am HaShem their Lord, Who is taking them out from the under their heavy Egyptian load.
I will bring them to the Land that I raised my hand in an oath, to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I will give it to you as an eternal inheritance. I am HaShem.”
(Exodus, Chapter 6, Verses 2 – 8)
This is our real, universally accepted Proof of Ownership. Nothing else is needed, and nothing else can beat it.
It’s about time we, the Jewish People, wake up and call the shot as it really is.