Morality of Geostrategic Policy

A Ha’aretz article brings up an issue that I’ve been meaning to tackle for a while, namely the question of how the State of Israel should normatively deal with non-Jewish minorities within the Jewish State.
Since my time is short, I will pose it as a question, and give a few points of view.
The question is, should Israel–now that it is formed–give up the original spirit of its forming, that being the reclaiming of the ancestral land of the Jewish people, by aiding the communal life of its non-Jewish citizens, or should it continually push for increased Jewish domination of the Land of Israel?
I think that Jewish tradition strikes an interesting medium between these two options, and I think it is best illustrated in the story of the People of Israel coming to the holy land as told in the Bible. On the one hand, before the People of Israel enter the land, they are instructed to destroy all that is therein, so that they may fully control the land promised to their forefathers. On the other hand, once they settle, they are repeatedly told to afford rights and privileges to their non-Jewish (or Israelite if you wish it that way) neighbors, since they “know how it was to be strangers in a strange land.”
Viewing this through the prism of contemporary psychology–specifically Maslow’s hierarchy of needs–we can see an Israel without house or home doing whatever it takes to get one (thereby justifying full-out warfare) at the beginning of the story, and later an Israel secure in its primary needs giving rights to its resident aliens, because it knows how it is to live without house and home.
This brings me to the answer to the question above, which is a question in-and-of itself: are Israel’s primary needs–its need for house and home, for food and security–threatened by those non-Jewish citizens of its State? If not, then no policy that would seek to disposes those aliens is justifiable, and they must receive the same rights as any Jewish citizen of the State. If they do threaten the primary needs of the State of Israel, the State is morally justified in taking whatever actions it must–within limits, of course–to secure its existence.
This question, I think, needs to be answered by the non-Jewish leadership in Israel. If they are to declare, unequivocally, that they are invested in the State of Israel and are willing to live and die for its existence, than they certainly pose no threat to its existence. If, on the other hand, they only see it as a temporary place they hope to eventually turn into the State of Palestine, then the State need take action to prevent the transformation.
So, to the article, do I think that the mitzpim project is justified? I don’t know. I haven’t heard much from the Israeli Arab population lately. Just for a little perspective, no other state would operate differently–but I hope the Jewish State will operate at a higher moral standard. And I hope the Israeli Arab population will step up to the test of citizenship.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments are closed.