Friday, April 16, 2010

Why a Palestinian state is essential for Jewish nationalism

As part of our Israel education seminar yesterday, run through Makom , we heard from Israel Kimhi of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (I found it amusing that Kimhi works on Radak Street, named after the medieval Biblical commentator, Rabbi David Kimhi). We then participated in a tour along the separation fence/barrier/wall (choose your favorite narrative) with Ir Amim,  an organization which seeks "actively [to] engage in those issues impacting on Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem and on the political future of the city.  Ir Amim seeks to render Jerusalem a more viable and equitable city, while generating and promoting a more politically sustainable future."

Kimhi provided statistics, anecdotes and long-term trends during the course of his talk. Among them, in explaining how Jerusalem is largely a taboo topic in governmental circles, he remembered how Yitzhak Rabin z"l once ate an entire plate of biscuits because he was nervous that people would hear that they were talking about the future of Jerusalem. 

Kimhi also illustrated the demographic trends of Arabs and Jews in the city:

In 1967, there was a 74/26 Jewish/Arab majority in Jerusalem.
Today, it is a 65/35 Jewish/Arab majority.
In 2035, following these demographic trends it will be 50/50.

With these demographics in mind, our Israeli guide from Ir Amim said that the notion of a Democratic Jewish State is gravely in danger if there are not negotiations which lead to a Palestinian state.

If there is not a Jewish majority within the Israeli borders, then the country will either not be Jewish or it will not be a democracy.

Taking that a step further, one can posit that ensuring the reality of a Palestinian state is one of the most pro-Zionist acts one can take: Without a Palestinian state, Jewish Autonomous Democracy dies.

I certainly had never considered this perspective before. 

No comments:

Post a Comment