First We Were Jews, Then Zionists, Now Israelis. What Will We Be Next?

I seem to be more confused in my old age. First, four thousand years ago we were Jews, citizens of the southern kingdom of Judea after the fall of the Israelite kingdom in the north in 721 BCE.

Following that tragedy we wandered the earth for more than two thousand years until An Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist made an historic statement in Basel, Switzerland in 1903.

“If you will it, it is no dream” And from that statement we were metamorphosized and became known as Zionists.

Then, forty-five years later after suffering the greatest of all tragedies, the Holocaust, in 1948 we became Israelis.

And today, somewhere on the globe, we have unwillingly become known as “Apartheid-niks”.

So………….. what will we be next? What is the future to be of our Jewish, Zionist, Israeli namesakes?

Putting it clearly, we are living in a shameful time.

Our prime minister is an indicted criminal who, hopefully, will be convicted and sent to prison.

Our Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef has called black people “monkeys” and who has defined all previous Soviet immigrants to Israel as not real Jews and who has characterized them as filthy non-believers.

Why do we have to put up with this political and religious travesty?

In other democracies they would have their hands shackled as they were dragged off to a court for defamation and bribery. Their hands are not clean ! Their mouths spew vile lies. Their tongues are coated with deceit.

We are a country of democracy (or at least, until now, we once were ). We are not a country of theocracy. While we accept all religious beliefs and observances, we do not govern and we will never allow ourselves to be governed by medieval rabbis who are still in the 16th century.

We are not always fair and just to our Arab and Druze minorities but they are equal citizens under our laws. We are NOT and NEVER will be an “apartheid” state.

We are not South Africa nor the American south. Whites and non-whites have now been accepted in those nations, more tolerated than beloved.

Our Druze citizens are extremely loved by almost all Israelis. Our Arab citizens may be liked but not loved.

The major reason for the difference is because Druze have never attacked Jews, they serve with honor and distinction in our military, police, and justice forces. They have a deep and genuine love and respect for Jews and for the State of Israel.

The same cannot be said of the majority of our Arab citizens who frankly and openly express a wish that we did not exist. Nevertheless, we are here and so are they. And they have no choice but to live side by side with us in the Jewish State of Israel.

In spite of our great differences, they are equal citizens. There is no apartheid here. And never will be.

I don’t think that Theodor Herzl, father of the Zionist movement, had a clear dream regarding an Arab population of Der Judenstaat, the Jewish State which he envisioned in 1903.

I don’t think that the 1917 Balfour Declaration was clear in its definition of Palestine as a homeland for the Jewish people.

The fault behind the unclear Declaration which caused the Arab uprisings was the difference between the words “home” and “homeland” .

The Arabs understood that Palestine was THEIR homeland and a place which European Jews could call home. Jews could live there but could not govern there.

A very big difference, one which has created many wars, too many casualties and deaths, and bitter hatreds which will never be resolved.

So for the present moment we are pleased to remain Jews and Zionists and Israelis. What we may be next, only God knows.

And He is not telling us ! (And neither is our un-governable excuse for a government).

Keep guessing. It is a good guarantee for a ripe old age.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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