Thursday, July 19, 2012

Israel and Destiny

It has been over 60 years since David Ben Gurion had the courage to stand up amongst an assembly of his fellow Jews and declare the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland. Acting in the modern tradition of nations that achieve independence from their colonial masters, Ben Gurion declared that the new state would drop it's British colonial name of Palestine and call itself Israel. Up until that historic moment, the term Palestinian referred to Jews in the region and, historically, the term Palestinian was often used to describe Arab Jews living in the Middle East and North Africa. Other recent examples of new nations that assumed historic names upon independence include Shri Lanka, formally known as Ceylon, Myanmar, formally known as Burma, and Zimbabwe, formally known as Rhodesia.

Yet, unlike the aformentioned nations, not to mention Cathay, which became China, Nippon, which became Japan, and Persia, which became Iran, Israel has not yet fully asserted it's political and religious identity and mission. That mission is the assumption of sovereignty amongst the nations of the world of the Jewish people and the fulfillment of the scriptures of the Jewish faith. That political and religious mission, the Jewish nature of Israel, should be understood and respected by all citizens of Israel regardless of their religion.

Indeed, the Jewish mission of Israel was recognized by Muhammad, the founder of Islam, in several passages in the Koran. The Muslim citizens of Israel, both Israeli Arabs and those living in the region called the West Bank, should embrace the Jewish mission of Israel for both political and religious reasons. It should be recalled that both Israelis and Phonecians in ancient times worked together to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Faisal al-Hussein, the Hashemite descendent of Muhammad and the King of Syria and Iraq, understood this when he signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement in 1919 which recognized Jewish sovereignty in Palestine to emerge alongside Arab sovereignty in the Middle East and North Africa.

While the non-Jewish citizens of the West Bank ought to achieve local autonomy if they choose that route, they ought to be encouraged to express loyalty to their Jewish Homeland. Indeed, this is the bare minimum expected of minorities in other lands. While the non-Jewish citizens of Israel ought to have the same right to their beliefs as do the Jewish citizens of Israel, no citizen of Israel, or for that matter no citizen of any sovereign nation has a right to engage in subversion, espionage, sabotage, or terrorism. Any nation, in the interest of protecting the lives of its citizens, has a natural right to respond vigorously against such provocations. This is a principle of international law and custom.

Israel is not the United States where the Federal Government is separated from any specific denomination of religion. Israel as a Jewish State is similar to Great Britain as an Anglican State. By law, for example, the Monarch of Britain and the commonwealth of nations including Canada and Australia, is the head of the Church of England and the Prime Minister of Britain must by law be Anglican. Virtually every nation with a Muslim majority, including those considered to be secular, holds Islam as the state religion.

A stipulation of the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement was that Israel would respect the Islamic holy sites and would allow freedom of religion and Israel, while not perfectly, has lived up to those principles. The two monotheistic faiths of Judiasm and Islam, as well as Christianity, have a spiritual interest in the establishment of the Jewish State in the land promised to the children of Israel by the God that we all worship. Indeed the world has a stake in the success of the Jewish State fulfilling it's spiritual destiny.

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