Jews, living in Israel and in the diaspora

Israeli Jews are often inclined to discount the opinions of Jews, no matter how Zionistic, as not knowing what they’re talking about because we don’t live there. My experience, however, is just the opposite in many cases. In my interactions with Israeli Jews I find a level of subjectivity that is blinding to the realities that I, and some Sabra Israelis like David Grossman, see quite clearly and objectively. “Dangerous movements are coming to pass in Israel because of the despair, the anxiety, nationalism and racism erupting all at once,” he says. He added, “It will be very difficult to rein in the dark forces. I’m concerned that the leaders enjoyed seeing the left held hostage, but this tide will turn against them when they appear too moderate.These processes and phenomena will unfortunately turn Israel into a radical, militant, xenophobic cult, isolated and ostracized.”

These views appear to me to be accurate but when I have expressed them to Israeli and many U.S. Jews, they cast them aside as “anti-Israel” or “self-hating Jewishness.” What is bizarre to me is the blind insistence on continuing to build new settlements, extend those existent, and invade East Jerusalem with homes for Jews (yes, I know that some are for Arabs). Do Israeli Jews think Israel could survive with a disenfranchised majority Arab population? Is not the example of South Africa sufficient? Colonialism is over in this contemporary world. A belief in God and the Hebrew Bible will not save Israel from the fate it is being directed to by the right wing/settlement political forces. Netanyahu, Bennett, and Liberman and their ilk are driving Israel into a confrontation with the international community and, more dangerously, the growing power of Muslim/Arab populations. I hope it is not too late!

One last point. Talking about a “two state solution,” some Jews say “why can’t Jews live in an Arab/Palestinian state; Arabs live in a Jewish state?” At a theoretical level it sounds good but realistically it would amount to what we had in Gaza before it was abandoned; it simply would not work. They don’t love us but, rather, have good reason in many instances, to hate us. But a Palestinian state could well provide Israel, created and managed properly, to a buffer between it and the radical Arab world.

About the Author
Meyer is a 78 year old Clinical Psychologist living in NY state. Married, happily, for 52 years. Father to a son who served in the IDF/Gaza and grandfather to 3 grandsons. Frequent visitor to Israel for the past 35 years.