Friday, December 24, 2010

Who Let the Arab Genie Out of the Bottle?

Moshe Feiglin
Manhigut Yehudit
12 Tevet, 5771
(Dec. 19, '10)

Translated from the NRG website

When I turned on the internet this Saturday night, I was horrified – although not surprised - to see that two women hikers had been brutally stabbed by Arabs in the Jerusalem hills. Hundreds of talkbacks condemned the Arabs and all of Israel's "peacemakers." But Sunday morning, when I checked to see what became of the women (one was abducted and found later, murdered) something had changed.

The hundreds of angry talkbacks were replaced by tens of non-nationalist responses. Just like the simultaneous arson fires that sprang up throughout Israel's forests and went largely unreported while the Carmel blaze raged, there is also a "thought policeman" working behind the scenes with this story, trying to re-fashion reality by censoring it. This tyranny makes it necessary for us to analyze and explain the entire issue of Israel's foreign relations in general and particularly, our relations with our Arab neighbors.

Jewish national awakening and the return of the Nation of Israel to its Land were the culmination of 2,000 years in which the Jewish People in the Diaspora conducted itself on a community-by-community basis. Suddenly, we were faced with a new reality and had to quickly learn how to deal with the nations of the world. Foreign relations were not the only challenge. We also had to agree upon a mode of conduct toward the non-Jewish minority living in our midst. Suddenly we were the sovereign in our Land. No more British here to sort things out.

True, we have an ancient culture that equips us with all the tools that we need for a balanced position toward the non-Jews in our Land. But just as with every other issue, we preferred to ignore our own culture and adopt a foreign values system totally irrelevant to our reality. The result is complete imbalance that creates a dangerous gap between what the public feels and knows and what the thought police allow it to express. This produces a time bomb that will eventually explode in the faces of both sides.

Judaism presents us with two, seemingly contradictory approaches toward the non-Jews in our midst. On one hand, Judaism clearly takes a non-Jewish minority living in our Land into account. The entire Talmud is filled with legal discussions revolving around this reality, which seems to be normative and self-understood. On the other hand, the Torah explicitly directs us to conquer the Land and to expel the foreigners living here.

I do not pretend to explain this topic from a Jewish-law perspective. But it is quite obvious that Jewish law relates to two separate situations: The first – to non-Jews who live in Israel as individuals; the second – to non-Jews who live in Israel as a nation. We are obligated to respect those non-Jews living among us as individuals and to accord them their full human rights. However, when these foreigners no longer identify as individuals who accept our sovereignty, but rather demand national rights in our Land – our entire approach must change.

Human rights and political rights are two separate issues. We are committed to the human rights of all those created in G-d's image, but not to their political rights. This is already accepted practice in much of the democratic world.

(Read full "Who Let the Arab Genie Out of the Bottle?")

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