Opinion | Columnists

Israel will become a bi-national state

With the number of Jewish immigrants decreasing by the year and the Palestinian population growing rapidly, Tel Aviv will have to rethink policy

  • By As’ad Abdul Rahman | Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 20:00 August 3, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Hugo A. SancHez/©Gulf News

Israel’s constant efforts to attract new immigrants by claiming to be ‘the national homeland for world Jewry’ appears to be losing its impact. For the first time in four years, the number of new colonisers has gone down. The Israeli ministry responsible for receiving and assimilating new immigrants has reported that their number in 2011 was 18,968 compared to 19,231 in 2010. It also became apparent that the number of immigrants coming from Russia and Ethiopia — who do not have a clear designation as Jews yet by the conservative rabbinical authority — has increased compared to the number of confirmed and practising Jews from other countries.

“Most immigrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union did not come to Israel because they yearned to live the Jewish life among Jews, but only to better their lives in a material way,” says Israeli writer Yaron London in an article titled White Immigrants, Black Immigrants. He goes on to say that “if the doors of the rich western countries were to open for them, they would have never come to Israel in the first place”.

Israel: a Future in Doubt questions the survival of Israel as a political state and ‘a national entity’ beyond the next 10-20 years because of internal and external factors. The book, authored by Richard Laub and Olivier Boruchowitch, states that the very existence of Israel in the Middle East is at stake. They cite conditions such as mounting anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism sentiment having a dire effect on the survival of Israel, as well as the rapid rise of Islamic forces in neighbouring countries who look at Israel “as an integrated extension of the ugly western imperialism that generated it”.

The book talks of Arab revolutions creating chaos and instability in the entire region, especially in Arab states that consider themselves enemies of Israel. It says Israel will no longer able to conduct its battles on enemy territory without any military threat or cost to its territory. Israel faces the possibility of great losses inside its boundaries as a result of its enemies being able to reach every corner in Israel with their rockets.

About other conditions, the two writers point to a decrease in international support for the state of Israel, noticeably in Europe. They say that the new European generation no longer feels guilt for the ‘curse of the Holocaust’. They also indicate that international public opinion has become aware of Israel’s aggressive nature and colony expansion policy while denying Palestinians their rights.

The authors say that being a small country, Israel can never shield its population from the destructive power of modern weapons. Growing divisions within Israeli society will aid the anti-Zionist forces represented by the Palestinians in the 1948 areas who hold Israeli citizenship.

Moreover, the writers draw attention to the rising power of the colonists whose extremism, they said, is gaining the upper hand in Israeli politics and the Israeli military establishment.

Professor Eli Barnavi, Israeli historian and former diplomat, appears to offer guarded support to the authors in his introduction to the book saying “the world smiled on Israel until 1967”, but since then “this amiable attitude has waned” as “the one [Israel] who had been the paradigmatic victim of Nazi barbarism took its turn in causing indescribable suffering to the Palestinians”.

In his review of the book, Prof Joseph Hodara of the Israeli Bar-Ilan University said: “The internal divisions within the Israeli society threaten the stability of the state and the religious and cultural differences within Israel are causing conflicts which will increase in time inflicting great damage on national security in Israel.” He concludes that, “the old Israeli tools of propaganda to gain support using the Holocaust are no longer effective”.

Emilie Hauser, an American writer with Israeli citizenship wrote about her reasons for leaving Israel in the Daily Beast website saying “the Israeli Jewish society has shifted its focus toward being oppressive by denying the national rights of another people [the Palestinians]. Israel is being consumed by the efforts of building [colonies] using inhumane methods which are anti-democratic”.

“[Colonies] are being built on stolen lands”, she went on to say, “and [Israeli] leaders talk about peace, but their deeds are killing all the chances for peace”.

The Haaretz reported that the demographic Jewish majority in “historical Palestine” will disappear in three years. The number of Palestinians now stands at around 4.2 million (nearly 2.6 million live in the West Bank and around 1.6 million live in Gaza Strip). Palestinians in the 1948 areas number 1.4 million. Thus the total count of the Palestinian population living on the Land of Historic Palestine is 5.6 million.

Israel has 5.9 million adherents of Judaism, with 325,000 followers of other religions. Jews in historical Palestine now number more than the Palestinian population with nearly 300,000 people. But in 2020, the number of Palestinians will reach 7.2 million compared to the Hebrew population of 6.8 million. Therefore, with the peace process almost dead, the final destination of Israel would be a bi-national state, a Hebrew/Arab state with a Palestinian majority.

 

Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.

Gulf News