October 17, 2009
Shas seeks not to give children born in Israel citizenship or residency, whose parents are foreign labors, in order to maintain the ‘Jewish Identity’, according to Ha’aretz report few days back. And this caused another wave of condemnations and sneers. This might not be that kind of big news like nuclear Iran blah blah. But it kind of has something to do with me as a non-jewish who love Israel so much. And this time I cant help asking myself what is that for. Is it entirely wrong based on which Shas vows to take back non-jewish people’s nationalities? If Shas get what they want, what about the 20%-30% Israeli arabs afterwards? Doenst it deserve an angry question that how we can call Israel ‘the only democratic country in the middle east’ in the face of such ‘immorality’? It’s different from that in other cases when people claim Israel is a racist country referring to what they call ‘the apartheid wall’, or when people compare Israel to Nazi referring to what they call ‘war crimes’, which I’m not going to discuss here.
If I cited the right source, racism ‘is the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races’ (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn). Unlike PA or hamas, Israel doesnt incite hatred or revenge. Unlike Nazis, Israeli Jewish people never claim themselves superior to other nations, nor do they ever attempt to control other nations. While Shas policy does look close to one that is literally expelling non-jewish people from the country. Not because they hate non-jewish, not because they feel superior to other nations, but simply for ‘preserving Israel’s Jewish identity’. Is that so ridiculous or is that so wrong? Well, I dont see it that way. It’s all about Israel’s uniqueness that no other countries have.
China wasn’t founded for Han, US wasn’t founded for Indian or the European descents. But from the very beginning, the State of Israel is founded as a home to Jewish. It wasn’t the people continuosly lived there that founded the country like almost all the others did. It was the jewish people who used to live there then came back that founded the country for suffering jewish people. Is there ever a rule saying a country should be founded for a certain reason(and that reason shouldn’t be for a nation)? And we judge how democratic a country is by looking at its tightness of citizenship/immigration law toward foreign nations? I doubt Israel is racist at this point despite there’re some Israeli Jews trying to literally deport foreign children, as Israel AS IS, has ALWAYS been a homeland for all Jews and never has any responsibility to accommodate any other people that wish to come. And in fact, things like inequality between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, I doubt Israel is racist as Jewish citizens have ALWAYS been the priority according to the purpose to found this country. In a word, there IS such a thing as ‘Jewish Identity’. And if Israel lose its Jewish Identity, Israel no longer exist- just like if America lose its nation diversity, America no longer exist.
If people continue to neglect this fact when seeing this issue, there’s no point argueing with them. And if people still insist that Israel is a racist/apartheid country allowing for what I pointed out above, then they should agree that Israel has been a racist country right since its establishment. Then that is totally another case, a historical and disputed one.
Yishai said:" It’s liable to damage the state’s Jewish identity, constitute a demographic threat and increase the danger of assimilation.” It somehow feels laughable and like the boss of Shas is too jumpy and there in fact are many people that laugh out at his words. But seriously, if someday the exaggerated threat becomes reality, I think it’s understandable what some Israeli people will do if not all of them.
What I discussed above is like a game of logic. As to say the policy itself that Shas tries to enforce, I don’t have a side yet. I understand the logic but personally and emotionally, it’s hard to avoid thinking how cruel it is. And it is right people like Shas who is tightening the policies toward foreigners that literally post ‘existential threat’ to ME and MY dream! ‘doh…
Another thing is I’m quite certain Israeli Arabs won’t be the target. In any way, I believe most Israelis somehow feel sorry for all the suffering on two nations that might have partially- though not at all largely- been brought by Jewish people. So I believe they would like to try to do Israeli Arab good rather than deport them.
Now I’d like to keep this confession in the record that I try to be balanced and fair as much as possible in discussion. I only know Shas is a rightist group before writing the article and have only known they actually represent the ultra-orthodox, who I loathe to death x(, for only a few minutes!