Rabbi Meir Kahane, the bane of the Left and the Arabs, the man whose very name evokes revulsion among liberals everywhere, was right.
He was also wrong, very much so, about some things. He was a racist, a Jewish supremacist. He favored a halachic state, and legislation to prevent marriage between Jews and Arabs.
I don’t believe Jews are superior to Arabs, and it doesn’t bother me when a Jew marries an Arab. They should be happy. I don’t want to live in a halachic state. But Kahane was absolutely right about one thing, and it is a big thing:
Jews and Arabs cannot coexist as equals in Eretz Yisrael (by which I mean the land between the river and the sea). The Land of Israel must be the exclusive property of the Jewish people.
Why do I think this? Not because I think there is anything inherent in the Arab brain, soul, or DNA that makes it necessary. There is no a priori reason that coexistence is impossible. It is just that the empirical evidence of the past hundred years or so shows that unless prevented, Arabs will try to expel or subjugate Jews, and will use any means, especially murder, to do so.
Last week a Jewish family including five children accidentally drove into an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Their car was cut off from behind and in front, and bombarded with rocks. Somehow they managed to communicate to the police where they were located – which wasn’t easy, because they were trapped in their car and could barely see anything – and they were rescued by heavily armed Border Police before they were dragged out and stoned to death or torn to pieces by the mob.
Almost every day, Jews are attacked by Arabs – stabbed, run down by cars, shot, or even blown up by explosive devices. Some of it is planned and executed by political groups like Fatah or Hamas, and some “just happens” when some Arab’s threshold of rage is crossed by a perceived insult, and he “acts out” murderously.
There is a clear message that they are sending by their actions: we will make your lives impossible here, so leave. We can respond by leaving, by making them leave, or by trying to keep a lid on terrorism without changing anything fundamental. The last alternative, doing essentially nothing as we have done for the 70 years that the Jewish state has existed, is the easiest, but it guarantees that the situation will continue. And as the Arab population grows, both within the state and in those parts of Eretz Yisrael that have not been incorporated into it, it gets worse.
In the areas that we, in our naïveté, permitted Arab sovereignty to arise, they created educational systems designed to turn their children into soldiers, even suicide soldiers, against the Jewish people. Among the Arab citizens of Israel, this has not happened. But the ideological commitment to the Palestinian Cause, the belief that the Arabs who have self-identified as “Palestinians” were unfairly dispossessed from their land and deserve to get it back – and that at some point they will inevitably succeed – is almost universal among Arabs in Eretz Yisrael. Especially in the better-educated classes, their political activity is aimed in this direction, even if it doesn’t (usually) take the form of terrorism.
For psychological reasons (see Kenneth Levin’s book “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege”), Israeli Jews have ignored the clear statements, both from Arabs associated with the PLO and Hamas in the territories and from Arab citizens of the state of Israel, that make it clear that they are interested only in victory, not coexistence. Jews continue to try, over and over, by embracing appeasement, to show that they do not deserve the hatred and contempt of the Arabs. Of course, it only increases those feelings, and encourages the Arabs to believe that the success of their cause is closer than ever.
There is a solution to the problem. But it is not to try to bring about coexistence, which is impossible, or to partition the state yet again, which would make Israel impossible to defend. It is not to move in the direction of a binational state, which would create a hell like Lebanon or Syria. It is the opposite: to emphasize the exclusive right of the Jewish nation to all of Eretz Yisrael and to encourage Arab emigration from the land.
That does not mean that a limited number of Arabs cannot live in the Jewish state, as guests, honored guests even, with full civil rights (unlike the “State of Palestine” planned by the PLO, in which there are intended to be no Jews). It does mean that those Arabs must understand and agree that all of Eretz Yisrael west of the Jordan river belongs to the Jewish nation, and that they will not be permitted to change it into the twenty-third Arab state. Not tomorrow and not ever.
If the Arabs of Eretz Yisrael can’t accept this – if they can’t accept the definition of the Jewish state provided by the Nation-State Law – then they should move to Jordan, a state which already has a majority of citizens identifying as Palestinians, and which is ruled by an undemocratic hereditary monarchy established by European colonialists after WWI. Let them remove the illegitimate monarchy and establish a “democratic state of all its citizens” there, as they say they would like to do here.
It’s not impossible. Thousands of Arabs have fled Hamas-controlled Gaza for Europe, and the government of Israel is even helping them. Jordan is unstable, and its minority rule will not last forever. An influx of Arabs from Judea/Samaria might be a bulwark against its becoming an Iranian satellite. In any event, at least the Israel-Jordan border is defensible, which the border with a “Palestine” created under a two-state solution would not be.
Israel could begin today, by taking immediate steps to signal that it did not intend to make further concessions to its enemies, such as annexing the Jordan Valley. It could actually enforce its Basic Law: The Knesset and disqualify Arab candidates who do not accept that Israel is a “Jewish and democratic state,” who incite racism against Jews, or who support armed struggle against the state. It could proudly press its claim on the land, and oppose the unjust claim of the Arabs. And of course it ought not to weaken the Nation-State Law in the slightest.
The central objective of Zionism is the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the historical homeland of the Jewish people. That has only been partially accomplished. There are parts of Eretz Yisrael, including the Temple Mount at the center of it where Jewish sovereignty is only partial, and Jews are not secure in many parts of their homeland – as is tragically proven by repeated acts of Arab terrorism.
Meir Kahane died a violent death for his beliefs, and his name was forever blackened among Jews in Israel and elsewhere. But he saw clearly what today’s Right seems to shrink from accepting.
Q: But the Palestinians are a people, too. Why don’t they have a claim on Eretz Yisrael?
A: The Palestinians have identified as a people only since the 1960s, and many of their families can’t be traced back farther than the 20th or mid-19th centuries. The Jewish people are the oldest indigenous people in the land, with a documented history of thousands of years. Having said that, I honestly don’t care about the Palestinian Arabs, whose embrace of murder, pogroms, and terrorism in the past century and continuing today has put them beyond the pale. I suppose that many people expect Jews to absorb a certain amount of antisemitic murder from their neighbors as a regular thing, but I do not agree. Not in a Jewish state! There is a limit, and the Palestinians passed it long ago.
Q: Wouldn’t a large migration of Palestinian Arabs to Jordan destabilize the country, and wouldn’t that be dangerous to Israel?
A: Yes and yes. But annexing the territories along with their Arab residents would be destabilizing to Israel, and the alternative of granting sovereignty or even just autonomy to the Arabs of the territories (the “two-state solution”) would create an indefensible border with a hostile entity next to the heart of our country. From a geographic/strategic point of view, Israel’s eastern border must be the Jordan river.
Q: How do we get them to leave?
A: Carrots and sticks. Mostly carrots. Martin Sherman has discussed such a plan for some time.
Q: What about Arab citizens of Israel?
A: Many of them accept the idea that they are living in a Jewish state, and prefer the stability and economic benefits of it to the political and religious satisfaction of living in an Arab state. If a Palestinian state is declared in Jordan, then those who are uncomfortable here may consider moving there.