Israeli Jews Choosing Against a Two-State Solution

The Future of Israel?
The Future of Israel?

Population analysis says much more than either war or peace slogans. The anger Israeli Jews feel about Kassams and suicide bombs could possibly explain the level of brutality of the Occupation, but it cannot explain the population explosion of Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The population growth among West Bank settlers was three times higher than that of the rest of Israel during the past 12 years, according to a report by the Ariel College Center of Samaria.

The statistical annual report shows that the Jewish population in the West Bank more than doubled during that time, with a growth of 107 percent. The report also shows that the settler population has surged from 130,000 in 2005 to 270,000 by the end of 2007.

Meanwhile, the entire population of Israel grew by 29 percent over the same period.
This population trend has continued over the past three years, with the West Bank settler population growing by 5 percent annually, compared to a 1.7 percentage growth in the entire country.

The crime rate is much higher too which says something about who is moving to the settlements and their values, sad to say.

What does this say about the future? Hard to say, but the prospects are not good. Some smart experts feel that a two state solution is all but impossible now. The right wing and those who are anti-democratic are far more aggressive right now than others, and we may be in for a very bad few years, between Israeli behavior and Hamas’ political/military stance. On the other hand, if Syria comes into serious peace talks and Iran is engaged by the United States then Hamas may feel compelled to move closer to a negotiating position with Fatah and Israel itself. But none of this guarantees that the mainstream of Jewish Israel will finally decide to acknowledge past wrongs and engage Palestinians on an equal footing. And I dont think that the United States government is capable of generating that paradigm shift for Zionists, Israeli and American Jews. If America sets the stage for a much¬† more Arab environment it will still be a moment of truth for the future of Israeli Jewish and Zionist entity. The prospects of a peaceful settlement of Zionist Jewish identity in its confrontation with the rest of the world are bleak right now. But if the United States and the Arab world make the option for peace more and more compelling it will at least force the Zionist Jewish community and the state of Israel itself to fully confronted its identity, its future identity. Time will tell.

Ironically the Palestinians may eventually get everything they dreamed of, all of Palestine back. The Zionist dream is corroding every day, its main adherents becoming more extreme, more desperate, and more alienated from the rest of the world. This is the opposite of what occurred leading up to 1948 when the whole world, except the Arab world, embraced the Zioinist dream.

As a scholar of Jewish religion I do not believe that Israel’s identity as a Jewish state will be popular among the world’s Jews forever. Not if it entails a permanent civil war with its non-Jewish citizens and subjects. Eventually more and more Jews there and around the world will be comfortable with the old yishuv, a Jewish presence in the ancient homeland of Jews that shares a state with non-Jews, who also have ancient roots on the land. And what name it goes by will be determined later. History is a ruthless refiner of dreams.

© Marc Gopin