Hold on to your hats everybody, this is going to be highly critical of Israel.
Israel hasn’t done enough occupation. Israel has completely failed to impose its will and values on its Arab citizens. This was a gift we failed to give to our Arab minority. We don’t even properly impose the best of our values on all Israeli Arabs, let alone those we’re forced to oversee in the heartlands of Israel.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks thinking about the Jewish indigenous status here in Israel (thanks to Ryan Bellerose obviously). I’ve been touring the country with him, looking at our land through his eyes and I’ve seen things differently.
Whether it’s the vineyards of Psagot: the delicate and painstaking excavations and beautiful visitor centre showcasing our biblical history at the first temple in Shilo; the happy, productive school that helps terror surviving kids; the towering architecture of Tel Aviv; the museums carefully explaining our struggles to regain our land; the subtly pleasing Jerusalem stones of Har Homa; the green fields on the edge of absolute desert leading to Arad and even the carefully marked dessert tracks so we can drive over rocks to an overview of Masada and our history; each of these things is our gift to our land and an expression of Jewish joy at being, after so long away, masters of the destiny of our own land and people. And we did it all while under unceasing attack!
We did these things because Jews feel such a special pull to this land most of us aren’t even consciously aware of. It’s like breathing, we don’t get up in the morning and think I must draw breath. Most of us don’t get up in the morning and realise Judaism and the nationhood of the Jewish people was a gift and a responsibility placed firmly on us here.
But what we haven’t done is impose enough of ourselves on the Arabs. We didn’t give them the equality of law amongst themselves that we enjoy. We didn’t impose the Jewish principles of every person equal before the law on Arabs. We allowed them to exist in a tribal limbo, loosely following the inequality laid out by Islam’s Sharia principals. Sharia is a dead end for anything like Human Rights. Human Rights in Islam is a complete oxymoron.
We didn’t harshly stamp out the murder of daughters for dating the wrong men. We didn’t make it safe for a Muslim to be gay, or to leave the faith of his family and decide to be Christian (or Jewish, or atheist for that matter). We didn’t completely protect Christian Arab minorities when they’re living in Muslim dominated Arab towns. Arab towns in Israel weren’t given the gift of a blind justice system.
I’m not talking about Jewish laws which discriminate between Arab and Jew: we don’t have a system like that, but we didn’t fairly apply the same laws to Jew and Arab. Just drive past the disgusting mess that is a Beduin “village”. We wouldn’t allow property developers to do that in Jerusalem. Why do we allow it in the Negev or our Judean Desert? Why is aesthetic beauty in Israel only something Jews should enjoy?
Israel has 257 municipalities and 70 police stations, but only two of them are in Arab cities, positioned just outside of Umm el-Fahm and Taibe. There is a plan to hire 1,350 new police officers for 12 new police stations to be built and located inside Arab cities, to address these issues. This comes as part of a drive to boost investment in Arab municipalities in Israel, with the government recently approving a NIS 15 billion ($4 billion) multi-year plan for the Arab sector. All I can say is how welcome that is and how long overdue.
Everyone knows that policing in Arab towns is not given anything like the priority it receives in Jewish Israel and we’ve looked the other way. This allows a few tyrannical families, criminals and clans to run roughshod over people. We should stamp it out. Women should be free to escape their families and religion and a myriad of local property and traffic laws should be enforced with exactly the same ferocity they are in Jewish Israel.
Equality before the law and blind justice for all: probably the most import gift the Jews gave to the entire world and we don’t even give it to the Arab towns all over our land.
This is just one way in which we could have been more forceful. Jews are not going away: and the vast majority of Israeli Arabs looking at the abject failures of most Arab states (and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas) are quietly very pleased about it. Very few of them would jump to be ruled by Arabs in another Islamic state.
We needed to take this land for ourselves: recognise our indigenous status as guardians of Israel while applying Jewish fairness and equality to all those Arabs whose longstanding presence here is part of the Land of Israel.