Steve Kramer

E1 Development and Jewish Grit

Israel achieved democracy the hard way. A precursor was that one-third of all Jews were murdered in Europe in the 1930s-1940s and about 140,000 thousands survivors immigrated to Israel after its independence in 1948, after being kept in Displaced Persons camps (often former concentration camps!) 800,000 Jews were forced from their homes in Arab countries of North Africa and East Asia before and after Israel’s statehood and about three-quarters of them also made Aliyah. In addition, more than 50,000 Holocaust survivors left British internment camps in Cyprus – after being interned for the crime of fleeing Europe – to join the nascent Jewish state.

Israel won its independence with little except its human capital and fierce desire to build a Jewish country in which no one would rule over us. Israel is unique in its ancient peoples’ return to their roots as the indigenous natives, speaking their ancient language (or learning it there). In fact, Israel stands alone in these achievements. 

Yet, Israel’s success doesn’t receive Western admiration, but instead a barely-hidden hostility to building the Land of Israel. Construction in Israel beyond the 1949 Armistice Line (by definition and proclamation, a temporary ceasefire line to the 1948 War of Independence, NOT A BORDER) is hampered at every turn by most Muslim countries, many relatively undeveloped countries, and even democratic Western nations.

An example of this hostility is the contentious E1 corridor, where Israel has massive building plans. The proposal to construct 3,412 homes in a new neighborhood of Ma’ale Adumim (located just outside of Jerusalem in the aforementioned corridor) has been characterized by critics as a “doomsday” settlement. They contend that it would divide the West Bank into northern and southern regions and prevent the development of a Palestinian Arab metropolis connecting East Jerusalem (sic) to Bethlehem and Ramallah. 

Israeli Opposition leader, Yair Lapid, sought to hold an objections committee hearing at least three times during the previous government, but agreed to postpone each time amid pressure from the US and European countries. These postponements were due to fear that the objections would be rejected, enabling the plan to receive its final approval.

Opponents to the E1 plan claim that its “sole purpose is to prevent a territorial continuum for a future Palestinian state.” Peace Now has written that, “The area of Ma’ale Adumim and E1 is one of the most sensitive areas in terms of the chances for two-state solution. For these reasons, whenever an Israeli leader tries to promote building plans in E1, the international community strongly condemns them. The US, UN and EU oppose Israeli settlement (better, community) building but have particular concerns about plans for E1. In addition, according to Peace Now, “This planning, which contradicts any possible commitment to a two-state solution,” continues. These comments, from 2015, are still appropriate today for opponents of the State of Israel, the one and only Jewish state. (

What’s the elephant in the room? If Israeli development blocks Palestinian Arab continuity, it follows that Arab development will block Israeli continuity – but this is never mentioned. The Palestinian Arabs claim that all of Israel, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, is their homeland. This is nonsense, plain and simple.

Meanwhile, there is unrelenting pressure to stop Jewish building in its homeland. This land, the Jews’ patrimony, is not going to be sacrificed on the altar of a “State of Palestine. The vaunted “two state solution” is a non-starter because Israel cannot share its minuscule territory with a terror entity like the Palestinian Authority. Nor would any other democracy give up its sovereignty to a terrorist enemy.

The facts:

Palestinian Arabs lack a history and a nationality: “The idea that Palestinians form a distinct people is relatively recent. The Arabs living in Palestine had never had a separate state. Until the establishment of Israel, the term Palestinian was used by Jews and foreigners to describe the inhabitants of Palestine and had only begun to be used by the Arabs themselves at the turn of the 20th century.”

Palestinian Arabs live under terror regimes in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. There is no precedent for a successful, democratic Arab country. However, there are several Westernized Arab states that are monarchies. Some of them have joined Israel in the Abraham Accords.

Jewish history and archeological evidence is on display in museums, is studied in universities and think tanks, and written about in thousands of books. It is indisputable.

Jewish legal rights to its land were given in the 1920 San Remo Conference. This set the stage for the British Mandate for Palestine under the auspices of the League of Nations, with a stipulation for a national home for the Jews. The United Nations adopted these obligations at its inception and later accepted Israel as a member state after its independence in 1948.

The Hebrew Bible contains more than 1,000 verses connecting the Jewish people with the land of Israel. The Bible has been historically accurate in very many instances, more than any other ancient document. Every year more Biblical statements are verified by archeologists and historians. For example, a small golden bell that hung on the High Priest’s beautiful robe, which he wore when he entered into the Holy of Holies inside the Holy Temple, was found on the Temple Mount. Golden bells were not part of the garments of regular temple priests. They were reserved only for the garments of the High Priest. The Biblical reference is Book of Exodus 28:34-35. 

Jewish hegemony is hugely important. Nations borders are based on military victories. No one questions England’s borders. Nor does anyone question the borders of the United States. Russia today is attempting to change its borders by a military victory against Ukraine. Victory is decisive. 

With all of these factors taken into consideration, should Israelis bow to the West’s continuing attempts to quash the validity of the Jewish nation? Nearly a century ago the world proved its disdain for Jewish life by rejecting en masse Jews trying to escape the murderous Nazi regime. Many historians believe that Hitler may have concluded that a “Final Solution” to the Jewish “problem” was doable, given the cold-hearted rejection Jews received when attempting to immigrate to European and North American countries. The US was particularly reluctant to accept Jews fleeing Hitler, setting absurdly low quotas – and not even filling them! Libraries are full of books documenting these facts. On my own bookshelf are David S. Wyman’s Abandonment of the Jews, Lucy S. Dawidowicz’s From That Time and Place, Martin Gilbert’s Israel, Menachem Begin’s The Revolt, and Klaus Fischer’s The History of an Obsession. 

Yet, despite the widespread hatred, contempt, and (I say) envy against the Jews, Eastern and Western European Jews, North African Jews, Levantine Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and Jews from scores of nations returned to their homeland and have built up one of the foremost dynamic Western nations. And this, against all odds. Jewish grit and determination trumped all the forces against us. As evidence of this, Israel is the most optimistic Western country, with a flourishing economy and a positive birthrate, unlike all the other Western nations. The typical Israeli family has three children while the rest of the West is having less than two children, below the replacement minimum of 2.1 children. Israelis are optimistic, the others are pessimistic and effete.

Israel will find a way to build in the E1 Corridor. We’ve overcome massive barriers throughout our recent history and we will continue to prevail. Israel has the strength, the tenacity, and the grit to make it happen. 

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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