Will the last one to leave please turn off the lights?

November 24, 2016 23:02

Alon Ben-Meir, adjunct professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies, is not usually given to exaggeration, so I found this piece in the Jerusalem Post a bit surprising.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insists that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, his policies are encouraging a mass exodus of Jews from the country.

Today, the notion of a Jewish refuge in the Land of Israel is greatly at risk. Much has been made of what former prime minister Ehud Olmert once called a “demographic time bomb,” with the Palestinian birthrate soon to boost the number of Palestinians over the number of Israelis between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

Yet Palestinian demographics aside, more Israelis are living abroad than ever, and many are eager to join them.
NETANYAHU’S POLICIES are reinforcing the notion of the modern State of Israel as a ghetto. Israel is no longer about serving as the only secure refuge for the Jewish people. After all, as noted above, Israelis today are clamoring to return to Germany and other free countries. Of course, the notion of a refuge was a leading argument for establishing a Jewish state, one that would be a “light unto the nations” and promote a vibrant democracy.

Yet today, that notion of a Jewish state is unfortunately one of exclusion, not inclusion. More than half of Jewish Israelis polled by the Israel Democracy Institute last year stated that the government should be encouraging Israeli Arabs to emigrate, with even more saying that Arab communities should receive fewer resources than Jewish ones. No longer is the Jewish state about a safe, secure and prosperous future for the Jewish people living in a diverse democracy. Gone is the notion of Israel as a nation with a pioneering, democratic spirit.

However, Israel should not be – and is not – resigned to this fate. A new leadership can still change the country’s direction. The current government has already discredited itself. Netanyahu is unlikely to change course and initiate efforts to usher in a future based on a vibrant, educated democracy utilizing the opportunities that would arise from genuine, lasting peace treaties with its neighbors. Under this misguided leadership, Israel is becoming a garrison state, locking itself into religious and ideological extremism, international isolation and a future of perpetual conflict.

This is a shocking indictment of the direction the Netanyahu-Lieberman regime is dragging Israel at the behest of the messianic zealots and Stalinist fascists.

November 24, 2016 23:02

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