Racial Snow

A new natural phenomenon was reported in the last few days. The central mountains of Israel were snow covered, and as usual, when it snows schools close down. I noted a very interesting phenomenon: in Jerusalem, Gush Ezion, Gilo and Efrat, schools were closed, but nothing was reported about Beth Lehem which is situated between them; No learning in Ofra, Psagot, Cochav Yaakov and Beit El, but no snow is reported in adjacent Ramalla with a population that is much larger than all of the above together, and similarly in the north of the Shomron: Har Bracha and Elon More are reported, but nothing about the much bigger and heavily populated Nablus.

As a scientist, I was wondering about this fascinating phenomenon, and tried to understand if it is possible for snow to fall selectively only on Jewish settlements.  I searched the internet for pictures of this storm, as well as similar storms, but failed to find reports of such a fine resolution of snow falling. Since I could not find a physical explanation, I started to wonder – is it possible that snow did fall in those places, but school closures were not reported because we treat those children differently? Is it possible that we turned into a South Africa, and became an apartheid state? I tried to shake this bothering thought out of my mind, but the fact that Nelson Mandela passed away this week made it very difficult for me not to contemplate the possibility that my own country, democratic  Israel, is gradually becoming an apartheid state.

As time passed, these thoughts have gotten worse.  In South Africa the whites ruled the blacks till the world was disgusted with the regime and till a leader like Mandela rose and led his people to independence and full control in their own state.  The analogy between then and now is disturbing, even when the many differences are taken into account. Here, in the Middle East,  the demographic facts are very clear – the majority of babies being born between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea are not Jewish. If this area continues to behave as a single political entity, the day when the Palestinians will be the majority is not too far.  If, in order to maintain our Jewish state we will continue to rule them, the resemblance to South Africa will increase even more. If we want to maintain a Jewish democratic state which is not an apartheid state, we must separate from the Palestinians, WITH an agreement or WITHOUT it.

So, what is the future holding for us? We have four options, ranked by my own preferences:

  • We decide to separate from them at our own initiative, whether by reaching an agreement or in its absence in an unconditional way.
  • We separate from them as a result of international pressure, the signs of which are multiplying rapidly:  Holland, our friend, cancels an agreement with Mekorot due to actions behind the green line, in Europe products coming from settlements on the west bank must be so marked, the very large Norwegian  investment fund has divested away from Israel, and most recently, the EU threatened to leave us out of the Horizon 2020 program unless Israel agrees to recognize that its rule of the occupied territories is illegal, and even the proud right wing components of the Israeli government were forced to swallow this insult and sign the agreement.
  • The third option, and here too there are many imminent signs, is to separate after another Intifada in the west bank. In the early 2000s, the hundreds of Israelis who were killed by the Palestinian uprising ‘convinced’ the Israeli government and Ariel Sharon to build the security fence and get out of Gaza. Is it possible that the current government is waiting for hundreds more casualties before it decides to end our control of the Palestinians?
  • But the forth option, the worst of all, is that the Palestinians will not revolt, the world will not boycott us, and nothing unusual will happen. The binational apartheid state which will form will eventually lead to a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority, and the dream of our fathers about a Zionist Jewish state in Israel will be lost forever.

The decision is ours.

About the Author
Yehiam Prior was educated in Jerusalem, Berkeley and Harvard before joining the department of Chemical Physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he has served as a department head, chair of the Scientific Council and most recently as Dean of the faculty of Chemistry. He founded (with others) the movement for unilateral separation (Hipardut Chad Zdadit, HACHETZ), has been a board member for the Council for Peace and Security and is a member of the executive board of Atid Cahol Lavan (Blue white future). Professionally, he studies nonlinear optics, laser physics and light matter interaction in general.