For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
The new citizenship law recently proposed by the Government once again raises the question of why Israel should define itself as a Jewish state and what this definition means in the first place.
According to the proposed law, naturalized citizens will have to pledge their allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” Imagine if France would pass a law stating that France is a French state, if Japan would pass a law stating that Japan is a Japanese state, or if Sweden would pass a law stating that Sweden is a Swedish state. This would sound both silly and unnecessary. Far from being ridiculed for stating the obvious, however, Israel is being taken to task for stating the odious.
When the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) recommended in September 1947 that the British Mandate in Palestine be divided between a Jewish state for the Jews and an Arab state for the Arabs, everyone understood that this meant each nation would have its own nation-state (though many opposed the idea). In May 1948, Israel’s Declaration of Independence clearly proclaimed the establishment of a “Jewish state” and specified that this state would both be the nation-state of the Jewish people and respect the civil rights of the country’s non-Jewish minorities.
In recent years, the very legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been under attack. Sophisticated people realize that they cannot logically question the legitimacy of the Jewish nation-state without doing the same for every nation-state (indeed, most countries in the world today are nation-states). Hence their claim (itself stated in the PLO charter and recently popularized by Prof. Shlomo Sand), that the Jews do not constitute a nation but only a religion, and thus that a Jewish state is not a nation-state but a religious state. Therefore, its legitimacy can be challenged without questioning the principle of self-determination.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"