Is the State of Israel a democracy or an apartheid state?

Dec. 21, 2007

This is in response to the article you printed and commented on by the Arutz 7 newspaper author named Shilo.

  • Click here to read the article.
  • The first response you gave to Shilo's first argument against giving away territory sounds like a moral chastisement. Apartheid you claim? Do you even have a clue as to what are the dinei akum toshavei haaretz le'osid lavo?

    Dear Yosef,

    Of course I also know. But it is important to stress democracy for the following two reasons:

    1) The religious Zionists' strongest argument for permitting the oaths is the argument of birshus ha-umos. Across the spectrum, from Rabbi Chaim Dov Altusky in Chiddushei Basra to Rabbi Yaakov Zisberg, a settler in Karnei Shomron, in his work Nefesh Adah on the oaths, this is the argument that they feel is the most reliable and well-founded. Now of course the state does not have the sanction of very many nations today, but the one country they can point to as a consistent supporter of the state is America. By groveling before America, they argue, the State of Israel escapes the charge of the oaths. But here they are saying openly that they are against democracy, the supreme American value, and one of the main reasons America supports the Zionist state, as opposed to all the other Middle Eastern countries. My point was to bring out their hypocrisy in saying they comply with the oaths and at the same time flaunting every country in the world including the friendliest one.

    This charge of "Israel is an apartheid state" is made very often by leftists and pro-Palestinian groups, and I don't quote them in my news because people will just say they are biased against the state of Israel. But here I found an open admission by the strongest pro-Zionist groups, so I think it's worth paying attention.

    2) The second reason to stress democracy is because I predict that this is the way the state will disappear. For years anti-Zionist Jews have hoped that the state would disappear in a peaceful way, but they could not think of any such way. So many just prayed for moshiach to come, or that G-d would make some miracle and cause it to go away without causing harm to any Jew. (See Hakdama to Vayoel Moshe.) But now I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that is the "demographic solution". If you count the 1.5 million in Gaza, 1.4 million in Israel proper, the 1.4 million in the West Bank, and the 2.5 million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, there are actually more Palestinians than Israeli Jews. If all these people were allowed to return and were incorporated into one state, there would be an Arab majority and the state would not be Jewish. No more shalosh shvuos, no more opposition on our part.

    So is democracy a value in Judaism? No. Is it a holy grail or a sacred cow? No. But at this point it is a tool by which we can extricate ourselves from the aveiras hashvuos.

    Furthermore, regarding all the sources you brought up, do you really think it's wise to be mefarsem them clapei umos haolam? For years Jews were magiah the Gemora, taking
    out references to Christianity, replacing the word "goy" with "akum"
    and explaining that it referred only to the pagans of Talmudic
    times. The bracha "shelo asani goy" had an asterisk and a comment
    at the bottom that it only refers to ovdei kochavim kadmonim.

    For my part, I stick in the qualification "during exile" very often on
    the website to acknowledge that bevias ben yishai lo kein yihyeh, but l'olam eini koseiv ma yihyeh. In our
    statement of Jerusalem, we refer to moshiach in very general
    terms, "The Talmud (Kesubos 111a) forbids Jews to wage wars or take
    over the Holy Land; we must only wait for the Messianic era, when G-d
    will bring peace to all humanity."

    I maintain that this policy is in conformance with the age-old Jewish
    way of being careful not to antagonize non-Jews.
    Your policy, on the other hand would be almost like hisgarus baumos.

    I understand your sensitivities. But let me understand: How come the Rambam was not censored?

    The answer is probably that the Jews censored things that would antagonize the gentiles of their time, and the gentiles of France and Germany and Poland between two and five hundred years ago, when the Rambams were printed, would not care what we said about the time when Jews are ruling Palestine. Palestine was a non-issue then. There were hardly any Jews or even gentiles living there.