The idea of settling the Jews in a Jewish and democratic state is one of the pertinent issues that the entire world has never found a solution to. Ideas have been put across by many concerned individuals and groups of people like scholars, politicians, humanitarians, philanthropists and ideologists. From the current state of affairs, it is hard to promise that this can be achieved for a number of things need to be looked at first. This paper tries to sample out the factors that can contribute to the success, and also looks at those factors that are likely to derail this.
Factors Likely To Enhance Democracy and a Jewish State:
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There are a number of factors that can enhance democracy and the accommodation of all the Jews in the state. They have been looked at by different scholars and here are some of them. They are however to be looked at not as explicit. Intervention of the International community: There is great concern about the state of affairs in the Middle East by what could seem as the whole world. A number of states can be seen trying to come up with ways that can enhance democracy in Israel, stop war and foster political stability, for example America. Although there has been no significant success so far, but this is a move that can really help. Judt (2003) in his work, Israel: The Alternative, looks at this possibility but from a hopeless angle. He says that the peace process in the Middle East did not die but was killed. This shows that there are a number of well wishers who are trying to mend the ribbons but their good will is yet to be accepted. Much as there has not been success in this process, this is partly what we need to see the whole world doing in order to have political stability in states such as Israel.
Existence of the Law of Return: - Shalom (2003) in his book Israel and the New Anti-Semitism mentions the existence of a Law that grants the right of residence and citizenship to Jews and immediate non-Jews family members from abroad.
He however underscores the law by saying that it is a complex one. All the same, since there is its existence there is some hope that the Jews in Diaspora can find place in their state at the point of return. However, the implementation of such Laws needs to be invigorated.
Presence of national movements: The Jews can be seen as being pushed to the periphery by the entire world, especially those in Diaspora. But in retaliation, we see movements such as the Zionism which are meant to bring into light their recognition and equity. Much as there has been no success, such movements can be seen as an effort to precipitate the Jews agenda among those that are deemed important within the state. Judt puts it "......one nationalist movement, Zionism, was frustrated in its ambitions. The dream of an appropriately sited Jewish national home in the middle of the defunct Turkish Empire had to wait upon the retreat of imperial Britain: a process that took three more decades and a second world war. And thus it was only in 1948 that a Jewish nation-state was established in formerly Ottoman Palestine". Wieseltier counters this by saying: "......the problem of the spirit of the age is not a Jewish problem. Zionism is not the only "constraint" in the world. Judt does not explain why the rectification of identity hangs upon the rectification of Israeli identity......." The existence of such moves can be a tool in establishing democracy.
1.Factors That Are Hindering The Process
As opposed to the efforts discussed above, there seem to be quite little achieved towards restoring the Jews. Below are some of the factors that are blocking the process
Ethnicity: There are sharp divisions not only between Jews and the Christians but even with other religious groups such as Muslims. These are differences which are deeply rooted in the hearts of the people that a mere mechanistic process cannot be successful in ironing out.
Judt captures this with these words: "Israel's ethno-religious self-definition, and its discrimination against internal "foreigners," has always had more in common with, say, the practices of post-Habsburg Romania than either party might care to acknowledge." (Judt,2003).So when the Jews are seen as internal foreigners yet they are within their own state, this seems a great disadvantage to them. Divisions based on tribal and religious grounds are never known to work out in favour of peace and unity.
Political unwillingness: - The politics of the time seem to be working successfully against the peace process. Most leaders are seen as hardliners and not about to relent in order to restore calm. This is well documented by Judt. He says that in his quest for peace, Mahmoud Abbas was undermined by the President of the Palestinian Authority and humiliated by the Prime Minister of Israel. Judt adds that his successor is still waiting for the same fate and that Israel continues to mock its American patron. To me, when Judt shows a given up attitude on this, he is very right for democracy is nowhere around the corner unless when the political leaders are willing to relent on their current political stands.
External frustrations: Other states are frustrating the possibility of Israel being a democratic and a Jewish state. Those states that are at war with Israel like the Palestine and other Muslim states are perpetuating the plight of the Jews by hitting them from every sphere of the world, not necessarily because of their wrongs but because they are seen as Israelis. This is a great dilemma because back in their own state they are still unwelcome. This leaves them standing alone like an island and therefore to get accommodated in democracy is quite challenging. Judt points out this clearly when he says that today Jews who are non-Israelis feel that they are exposed to criticism and are vulnerable to attack for things they did not do. Unfortunate enough, it is a Jewish state but not a Christian state that is strongly against them. Therefore, there is a strong outside effort that seems to work against the process.
Poor state policies: - The human policies within Israel with regard to religious and ethnic segregation seem not effective and well adhered to. Judt has identified this and says that Israel has totally refused to accept that the today's world is a world of multiculturalism. It is not that there are no other tribes or races in Israel but Israel has merely refused to accept the fact. This is a clear demonstration of a state that has totally refused to implement policies that can foster democracy and allow the Jews to settle in a state they can call their own. As a result, we cannot expect to have democracy when there are no policies to address this predicament.
Futile or impracticable efforts: - The efforts being put in place to restore the Jews in a state of their own are seemingly futile. For instance the idea to convert Israel from a Jewish state to a binational one would be less productive. Judt who ascribes to this school of thought sheds some light when he says that this would cause Jews and Arabs more disruption than its nationalist and religious enemies. This will also call for spirited effort from America to foster security that would be a major threat to the Jews. There is therefore an acute need of a productive strategy in this case.(Bluber,2005).
War and Terror: - For a long time, Israel has been identified with war. From time to time there are fights against the Palestine and other communities around especially of the Muslim religion. As the war escalates, the hatred is diverted to the Jews who live in the Diaspora. They themselves have no fighting mechanism but still have to take the blows thrown against them with their hosts in pretext that they fighting against the Israelis. The idea to join the Jews and the Palestine into one state is also challenged by the fact that the two are in tough war against one another.
Shalom reflects this when he says "After Oslo had raised hopes of a final peace agreement and reconciliation, the virulence of Palestinian and Arab hostility have persuaded a not significant insignificant part of the Israel population that peace is impossible whatever the concession." (Shalom,2003) It is this persistent war that extremely hampers democracy. War in Israel has been known as a reflex action (either in retaliation or attack) that is used to sort out differences against other states.
In conclusion, we can tell from the above observations that whatever is in place at the moment is not sufficient enough to give room for Israel as a democratic and at the same time a Jewish state. There is a lot to be done starting from the simple empathy of an individual to the intervention of the whole world at large. War, brutality and human injustices that are prevalent need to be checked. Political divides on religious and ethnical basis need to be discouraged first as this seems the root cause of the plight of the Jews. Democratic principles should be well outlined and strictly adhered to in order to give the Jews a voice of their own.
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