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March 14, 2014
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 14, 2014 VIEWPOINT HERITAGE encourages readers to send in their opinions the Viewpoint column. They must be signed; how- ever, names will be withheld upon request. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit, if necessary. Opinions printed in Viewpoint do not, necessarily reflect the opinions of the paper. What if the alternatives are apartheid or annihilation? By Prof. J.P. Golbert For 20 years now, we have seen the two sides of the controversy over "land for peace" talking past each other. The "peace camp," as they like to style themselves, has argued that Israel is doomed to be either a bi-national state, which may not always have a Jewish majority, or an "apartheid state," with democracy only for the Jews and second-class citi- zen rights, at best, for the Arabs; that, in order to be both Jewish and democratic, it is necessary for Israel to divest itself of the mainArab population by giving them a state of their own, living side by side at peace with Israel. The other side, which does not really have a name, but let's call it the "nationalist camp," argues that this is a pipe dream. Is it so clear, after all, that there would be peace if Israel were to accede to the Arabs' demands, go back to the 1949 Armistice Lines, with agreed cos- metic changes, if any can be agreed on, including the abandonment of the Temple Mount, eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights? They argue that the Arabs have amply proven, over the 20 years of the Oslo process, that they do not intend to give Israel a moment's peace and that any concession Is- rael makes they will use to improve their ability to kill us. Acceding to the creation of a Palestinian state would only weaken Israel strategi- cally to the point of render- ing it indefensible and thus encourage the Arabs in their determination to destroy us. What if both sides are right, as far as they go? What if acceding to the creation of a State of Pal- estine in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with its capital in Holy Jerusalem, really would be simply baring Israel's throat to the Arab knife, and refusing to do so really would mean becom- ing an apartheid state? What if, in short, the choice is not between "Peace and Apartheid," as Jimmy Carter character- ized it, but rather, the choice is really between apartheid and annihilation? The alternatives are few and unattractive. The "peace camp" has avoided facing the issue by assuming that Israel can have peace with the Arabs if only she would end the "occupation." They must explain why they believe that, when everything Is- raei has conceded has been used to kill Israelis and delegitimate Israel. The "nationalist camp" has avoided facing the issue by debunking the demo- graphic threat, pointing out that Arab birthrates have fallen and Jewish birthrates have risen, and therefore, a Jewish majority of two thirds is assured. They need to justify the assumption that what has happened will continue to happen. How can they be sure that Arab birthrates will not rise if Arabs see that they can destroy Israel "demo- cratically" by becoming a majority? The time for assuming the problem away is past. The two sides must at last address the whole issue, not just their preferred half. They have to answer each other. If the "peace camp" cannot, then they PAGE 5A will have to explain how Israel can defend itself if their goal of a two-state solution is realized and their opponents turn out to be righ t , as they have been for the last 20 years. And if the nationalistcamp" can- not answer the objection of the "peace camp," then it will have to explain how Israel can be Jewish and democratic when a third of its citizens oppose its existence. If both fail to present a convincing case, then they (we) have to choose between apartheid or annihilation, or the transfer of either the Arabs or the Jews out of the country. Pro J.P. Golbert of Efrat, Israel, formerly prac- ticed law in New Yo.rk and California, and was a law professor in Los Angeles. He has practiced law in Jerusalem since 1986. By Yedidia Z. Stern and Jay Ruderman JERUSALEM (JTA)--For Americans, the definition of national identity is straight- forward: It goes hand in hand with citizenship. If you are an American citizen, you are also American by national- ity. The same applies to the French, Germans and many others. In Israel, however, there is a different but equally valid conception of the relation- ship between citizenship and nationality. Indeed, this understanding is central to Israel's identity as a Jewish state. The State of Israel main- tains a national population registry in which every resi- dent is classified by both "cit- izenship" and "nationality." The citizenship of all Israelis Why 'Israeli' is not a nationality is listed as "Israeli." However, under "nationality," Israelis are defined as belonging to different ethnic and religious groups, among them Jewish, Arab and Druze. Several prominent Is- raelis--including a former education minister, a former Knesset member, a celebrat- ed playwright and several Arab citizens--requested that the state recognize a new category of "Israeli" nationality that could be applied to all citizens, Jews and Arabs alike. In a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, they argued that the current national- ity categorization system, in distinguishing between Arabs and Jews, contributes to discrimination against Israel's Arab citizens. In other words, in order to protect Arab civil rights, the petitioners want to cre- ate a new collective Israeli nationality to parallel the collective Israeli citizenship. Israeli society, however, must differentiate between the necessary task of ensur- ing the equal rights of all citizens and needlessly ab- rogating the bond Of people- hood that ties together all Jews no matter their country of residence. Thankfully, Israel's Supreme Court made this important distinction. In a decision handed down in October 2013, the Supreme Court denied the request to recognize Israeli as a nationality. It gave sev- eral essential reasons for supporting a specific Jewish nationality over a general Israeli nationality. First, since it is reasonable to assume that a person can- not have two nationalities, this Change would compel Jewish citizens of Israel to choose between being Israeli and Jewish. Most Israeli Jews would be forced into an im- possible predicament. We see ourselves as both Jewish and Israeli, and one does not exclude the other. Second, if the nationality of Jewish citizens of Israel were to be classified as Is- raeli, the implication would be that Judaism is not a nationality for them but is solely a religion. This idea is antithetical to the funda- mental doctrine of Zionism and its main thinkers, from Herzl to Ben-Gurion, who saw Zionism as the national movement of the Jewish people. Third, if the nationality of Jewish Israelis is defined as Israeli rather than Jewish, then the national bond we Letters To The Editor HERITAGE welcomes and encourages let- ters to the editor, but they must be typed or printed and include name and phone number. We will withhold your name if you so request. Please limit letters to 250 words. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit letters. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@orlandoheritage.com 'The JStreet Challenge' coming to Orlando theaters Dear Editor: In light of the article about J Street in the recent edition of the Jewish Heritage, I want to tell the community about the movie "The J Street Challenge," which premiered last month i-n Miami. It was sold out in just 2 days, with 400 people attending. More screenings are planned. The movie will also be shown in the Orlando area later this month or early next month. Watch for further details or contact Sandi Solomon at sansolo- mon@hotmail.com to be on the mailing list. David Moldau Longwood ting as many young Jewish adults to Israel as possible. Expanding Birthright Is- rael's minimum age to 16 would dramatically boost enrollment in Israel experi- ences for teens, especially the approximately 70-plus percent ofunderserved Jewish teens, who are not involved in an intensive Jewish ex- perience, including Jewish overnight camp or Jewish day school. This change would enable an explosion of exciting pre- and post-trip Jewish programming, which is difficult for Birthright to provide effectively, including Israel advocacy, leadership development, public speaking training, conversational He- brew classes, and more. A life- changing teen Israel trip before going to college prepares and empowers teens to deal with the rising tide of anti-Israel and anti-Semitism on college campuses, enabling them to stand up to anti-Israel protes- tors, rather than run from them. Jewish life on campus becomes a priority in college searches, including interest in Hillel, Jewish studies courses, and semester in Israel. Our community's Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I), the most successful commu- nity teen Israel experience in North America, per capita, is proof of the impact a free trip has on the rate of participa- tion. We send an average of 100 Jewish teens, ages 16 and 17, to Israel every year on a fully subsidized community trip. This represents more than 60 percent of the identifie[ pool of Jewish teens in our commu- nity of the North Shore of Mas- sachusetts, with anestimated Jewish population of 16,500. We provide exciting pre and post trip programming for teens and parents focused on Israel. We take full advantage of having access to our teens for two years before they go to college, providing them with opportunities to engage edu- cationally and socially. Key to our success is the full subsidy. The subsidy is made possible by a winning combination of funders--Lappin Foundation, Combined Jewish Philan- thropies, and more than 800 donors and business that sup- port our annual campaign. The Lappin Foundation calls upon Birthright Israel to lower the minimum age requirement to 16. This would reverse the trend of declining Israel attachment amongst young people, as reported in the Pew study. The outcome will be a Jewishly stronger, Jewishly prouder, and more connected-to-Israel genera- tion thanwe now have. Jewish continuity will be assured. Robert lsrael Lappin, presi- dent and Deborah L. Coltin, executive director, Lappin Foundation, Salem, Mass., www.lappinfoundation.org. Birthright change is a mirage and a misstep the experience will be dupli- cated, increased participation is an illusion. It is not that a second free trip is a bad thing. The misstep is that the pre- cious dollars can and should be used to actually increase the number of participants who have not been to Israel by simply lowering the minimum age of eligibility from 18 to 16. This would be consistent with Birthright Israel'sgoals of get- Dear Editor: While changing Birthright Israel'seligibility require- ments to include young adults, who previously par- ticipated on a teen Israel experience, appears to be a worthy addition to Birthright israel, it is, in fact, a mirage and a misstep. The change has the appear- ance of bringing more young people to Israel, but because believe binds together Jews in Israel and Jews in the Diaspora would be severed. The court dealt with this last point extensively. It adopted the position that one of Israel's essential characteristics as a Jewish state is its responsibility for the fate of the entire Jewish people--including the Jews of the Diaspora. For example, the Israeli penal code applies to crimes that are committed against Jews because they are Jews even if those crimes are committed outside of Israel, and it applies to property of Jewish institutions that is vandalized as well. The State of Israel has thus taken upon itself the duty of protecting world Jewry as a profound expression of global Jewish solidarity. The responsibility of the State of Israel for world Jewry is an important expression of the fact that Israel is more than just an ordinary democratic state, it is also a Jewish state. Though we may be divided by geography and citizenship, Israeli and American Jews--and our brothers and sisters around the world--are members of one nation. Thus, it is imperative for the State of Israel to distin- guish between citizenship and nationality. Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs share a common citi- zenship. They are all Israelis. They are therefore entitled to and must be accorded the same civil rights. But they are not members of the same nation. National- ity, according to the Israeli Supreme Court, is derived from traits such as religion, culture and collective histor- ical memory. This is another manifestation of the puzzle of identities characterizing the Jewish nation-state. r 'Asa coUnfry thatSeflnes itself as both a democracy and the homeland of the Jewish people, debates will continueas to who is a Jew and who is an Israeli. What matters most is that we approach these debates in a respectful and consistent manner. The future of Israel depends on it. Yedidia Z. Stern is vice president of research at the Israel Democracy In- stitute and a professor of law at Bar-Ilan University. Jay Ruderman is president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. Dry Bones H$ AOV$00 THE 6##D 15 THAT L00RAEL II HAS RECEIV00 AOVAIVC00 (WOW/I RAN00 j MISSILES 00ROM I