The Israeli Torquemadas

I was appalled after reading a major story in today’s edition of THE TIMES OF ISRAEL which dealt with the expulsion or transfer of all Arabs from Israel. I simply could not believe the numbers from the Pew Research Center whose survey included several thousand Israeli Jews.

48%, according to the survey, were in favor of the expulsion of Arabs. 71% of them were from the Modern Orthodox community. 58% of Israeli secular Jews opposed expulsion. 56% of those surveyed were Sephardic Jews whose ancestry was in Arab Middle East countries and North Africa. And 61% expressed their belief that God gave the land of Israel only to the Jews.

These numbers are astounding. So much racism. So much hatred. Do our Jews recall our history and the many expulsions from Christian lands which caused us to suffer two thousand years of wandering in exile?

Do they remember the Catholic Cardinal Tomas de Torquemada who, in 1492, convinced the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, to issue the Edict of Expulsion for almost one million Jews who had lived in Spain for centuries?

So now, it seems, we have our own Israeli Torquemadas.

And what will transfer or expulsion gain for us? Since it is a violation of international law it will make us the pariah of the nations. It could possibly lead to the expulsion of Israel from the United Nations.

Expulsion or transfer to Gaza of Arab terrorists is one thing. But the transfer of all Arabs is criminal.

Shall we expel all of our faithful Druze citizens who serve with pride and honor in our military forces?

Shall we expel Arabs like those in Abu Ghosh who remained loyal to us in the midst of Arab riots in the 1930’s, defying the command of the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini? How many innocent Arabs were murdered for helping Jews?

And what of those Arabs in 1929 Hebron during a terrible massacre of the city’s Jews who offered shelter and protection to their Jewish neighbors?

History has bound Jew and Arab in the same territory which they both claim. Fortunately, we are and have been victorious in building our State and destroying evil enemies who seek our destruction.

We have no alternative but to live in proximity of one another, hopefully in peace, but we are prepared to defend our national security and our people and their homes even at the cost of killing the enemy.

I am not a friend to the Arabs. I am an Israeli Jew who believes in the policies of Trumpeldor, Jabotinsky and Begin. But as a student of history I know the meaning of expulsion only too well.

While I detest the idea of an expulsion or transfer of our Arab population, it would be wiser to teach them in their schools a required curriculum of the history of the Jews and of their 4000 year old connection to Eretz Yisrael and to Medinat Yisrael.

Studying in a classroom in a school in one’s own neighborhood is far better than wandering into exile in unknown lands.

Tomas de Torquemada has been long dead these past seven centuries. Let his miserable life be a lesson for all of us.

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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