Thursday, December 7, 2006

Avigdor Lieberman's View of the Future of Israel

Avigdor Lieberman, a hawkish member of the Israeli cabinet has long advocated reducing the number of Arabs who are citizens of Israel. His so-called 'racist' proposal is for "dividing Jews and Arabs into two homogeneous states."(1)

He calls for a "land and population exchange that would seek to reduce significantly the number of Arabs who are Israeli citizens. They currently account for more than a million of Israel's 7 million people (14%). Under the plan, several Arab towns in northern Israel would become part of the Palestinian areas in the West Bank. The major Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank would become part of Israel." " 'We won't be moving people, we will be moving borders,' Mr. Lieberman said."

'In addition, Mr. Lieberman wants to revamp Israel's citizenship laws. All Israelis, Jews and Arabs would have to pledge loyalty to the state and recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Those who refuse could be permanent residents, but would no longer be citizens.'(1)

This plan has no apparent support from Israelis or from Arabs and has been termed 'racist' by Israeli Arab leaders.

Lets consider this for a minute. Israel is an unusual democracy - a democracy which contains the term 'Jewish' in its credo. The implication here is that Israel must always maintain a significant Jewish majority. What is a significant Jewish majority. According to today's New York Times, Jews make up 86% of the population. What if it falls to 75%? Could it possibly fall to 50%, or maybe 40%? Then what happens? Should a decreasing Jewish majority eventuate, what should be done?

I know of no solution that seems as fair as that of Mr. Lieberman. He indicates, in the article, that separation of warring factions in a country has worked in the past (e.g. Yugoslavia, India-Pakistan, Pakistan-Bangladesh, Czech Republic-Slovakia, Romania-Moldova, Indonesia- East Timor) Ethnic confrontations continue in places like Sudan, Sri Lanka and Somalia. A solution of separation may be in their futures as well.

If we correctly assume that a Jewish minority in Israel is unacceptable, then some such solution must be seriously considered.

What about it?

(1) Myre, Greg Israeli Official Discusses Iran and his Controversial Agenda: NY Times 12/7/06, page A10.

1 comment:

Mark said...

i tend to agree. a nation founded to protect a group of its citizens has the right to exclude members of its society which it deems dangerous. that being said - should the middle east situation be reversed, Iran's Ahmadinejad suffers a public painful death, and radical islam disappears, Israel would be wise to adopt a more open arms policy. Interesting parallel maybe to the immigration debate here...

by the way - did you see this: Carter and Israel.