ISRAEL: The Two Halves of the Nation

In 1999, the year before he died, my father published in English a book that he hoped would make a difference to the fate of Israel. He had published on this subject many times in Hebrew, but he eventually gave up on the local readership. He decided to share his outlook on Israel with outsiders.

From the Introduction: "The reader, starting into these pages, may be wondering: Who is the writer? What is the intended audience? Whose best interests are being promoted?

Everything written here is dedicated to Israel, to Palestine. Not as two separate entities but as one. It is written from an old fashioned point of view and holds that one country must be one nation. 'Israel' and 'Palestine' are two names for the same miniscule strip of land. In its current truncated borders, it is somewhat less than a country. It can hardly sustain one nation, let alone two. It cries out to be reunited and restored rather than to be further mutilated and splintered.

The book

Why Should you Read this Book?

Why should you read this book, of all the many books offering solutions to the unrest in the Middle East and suggesting compromises between Israelis and Palestinians? This book is different. It's not suggesting a compromise. It offers a positive solution -- one that could work for everyone.

Frequent Misconceptions

  • Did you know that not every Israeli is a Jew?
  • Did you know that Palestinians are not Arabs?
  • Did you know that Palestinians and Israelis are descendants of the same people?
  • Did you know that the conflict is not about religion, or culture, but about inclusion? 

Excerpt from page 9 of my father's book: Committed to resurrecting the nation of Israel, the Zionist activists analyzed and reasoned what this meant and what it would take. They came to the conclusion that a nation meant land and that self sufficiency dictated farming. Converting to agriculture, spreading out, and holding land by tilling it were considered paramount.

... A whole new and unique set of values was created. Agriculture was the noblest calling. The most admired figure was the pioneer (HLFZ) -- a person who tilled the land in a new settlement. Physical labor was idolized and making a living by intellectual activity -- scorned.

My father describes (p. 45-46) the situation in Palestine under the British Occupation when he was a child:

One night in 1946, I was crouched in a dark street in formation with the rest of my scout group. We were playing soldiers. Two teen-aged girls, passing by, were startled when they noticed us. One of them reassured the other: "These are just our little AZL fighters, bless them." I felt proud to be so construed.

AZL and LHI did recruit at our age. Children would go out at night, at considerable risk, and smear the walls with the AZL logo, showing Palestine in the Balfour boundaries with a rifle superimposed. This was flanked by two little words; "Only thus" (RQ KK), meaning: no less than both sides of the Jordan, and no other way than by force of arms.

My parents were law abiding people. When pushed to extremes, they had done some illegal things to extricate us out of Europe. But they had never even considered entering Palestine illegally. Once there, they had dutifully filed the necessary papers to become British subjects. (Tschernihovsky, the poet, co-signed their application as a reference.) They agreed that some amount of resistance to the British was a necessary evil. Out and out rebellion was madness, as well as immoral. My father longed for some sort of autonomy within the British Empire. He expected us to remain under British protection for a long time to come.

One of the extreme slogans was "in blood and fire Judea fell, in blood and fire shall she rise again." My father said: "Is that logical? If blood and fire caused it to fall, why should they be expected to have the opposite effect?"

....It was in that period that Eytan Feldman showed me a small automatic pistol. It was hidden in a stack of towels in a closet at his home. The gun belonged to his father who held a command position in the Hagana. At the point, the death penalty was in effect for possession of firearms or even ammunition. No amount of repression can tame the human spirit.

Jews and Israelis are not the Same

Most people realize that not every Jew is an Israeli. They know that there are people who are Jewish and citizens of countries other than Israel. But did you know that not every Israeli is a Jew?

Most of the people who revived Hebrew in the Land of Israel, also known as Palestine under the British Mandate, were not practicing Jews. Many were atheists, some were agnostic, and a considerable number were pagans, intent on reviving the ancient culture of the area described in the Book of Judges.

If you meet someone whose native language is Hebrew, don't assume that person is a Jew. Zionists aimed at recreating the culture found in the area where Hebrew was once spoken by all. They were opposed in this by most of the Jews of Europe.Religious Jews felt Hebrew was too sacred to be spoken. They felt Israel was a holy place best seen from afar.

European Jewery were city dwellers who wanted to remain under the protection of European states. Zionists were idealists who despite their high educational attainments went back to the land. They took up agriculture in the hope of achieving independence.

You may have heard it said that the State of Israel was created to give survivors of of the Holocaust a place to go. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Zionism predates the holocaust. It was an ideological movement founded in the 19th century. Zionists lived peacefully, side by side with the fellahin who were the native people of the land. The battle for Israeli independence was fought first against the British Occupation, and later against neighboring Arab nations. It was not a battle against the fellahin who were the local people. However, many fellahin did leave during the war in 1948. (and some were driven out), and the biggest, worst mistake that Israel made was not allowing them to return once the war was won..

This mistake was both a moral lapse and a grave tactical error. In the case of Israel, as in many other situations, the right thing to do was also the only thing that could possibly have worked.

Palestinians and Arabs are not the Same

Many people, especially those living in the United States, seem to be confused about what an Arab is. I have even met people who use the word Arab and Moslem interchangeably. No, it is not true that every Moslem is an Arab. Islam is a religion whose practitioners live all over the world and have many different nationalities, and belong to different ethnicities and speak different languages. Some Moslems are European. Some are African. Some are Asian. Some Moslems speak Persian. Some speak Turkish. Some speak Slavic or other Indo-European tongues, and some even speak East-Asian tone languages. There are Moslems living all over the world, and knowing that someone is a Moslem will not help you predict his skin tone, language or political affiliation.

By the same token, not everyone who is an Arab is a Moslem. It is true that Islam originated on the Arabian peninsula and that the Khoran is written in Arabic. But many people who speak Arabic and whose ancestors originated on the Arabian peninsula are not Moslem. Quite a sizeable number of them are Christian, and others still belong to different faiths. Some Arabs are even Jewish. (There used to be a sizeable number of Jewish communities living in the Arab world, but in recent years that number has dwindled.)

Considering the general confusion about Arabs and Moslems, I suppose it should not be surprising that an even higher level of fuzzy thinking comes into play when people mention Palestinians.

Palestinians are not Arabs. Their ancestors did not come from the Arabian peninsula. Although most natives living in Palestine at the time of the British Mandate spoke Arabic, they were not all Moslem. Many were Christians. Others practiced a form of Judaism, even though they did not call it that.

If you asked the people of the land what they were, they would not say that they were Arabs. (The whole Pan-Arabic Nationalism movement, which was largely revived by the British as a way to fight the Turks, hardly touched the local people of Palestine.) If you asked them what they were, they would answer simply: fellahin. What does that mean? It means farmers.

Excerpt from pages 55-57 of my father's book: As late as the second century A.D., Judea was settled by farmers from Galilee to the Negev. It was they who challenged the Roman Empire in the many insurrections. When the Jewish rebellion was crushed in 70 A.D. (and the Bar Kokhva rebellion 60 years later) a rift grew between the religious leadership known as 'learned scholars' and the farmers of the countryside... The 'farmers' were out of contact with the Jewish communities of the world. They had no collective memory of their rift with the 'learned scholars'. They knew nothing about Zionism until new neighbors settled around them. They could not know that Zionism had vindicated their forefathers. Of the many revoluntionary tenets that Palestinian Zionism upheld, one was first and foremost: That land was more important than religion!

Israelis and Palestinians are the Same

So who were these farmers and how did they get there? The answer is: they didn't get there -- they never left! They were always there. They stayed with the land. Who are they? They are the descendants, in an unbroken line, of the same people who lived there since pre-Biblical times.

How do we know this? There are three kinds of evidence:

  • historical
  • cultural
  • genetic

From pages 68-69 of my father's book: "Corroborating material continues to come out. In the Ma'ariv Weekend Journal of September 9, 1989 we find a reportage by Adar Avisar and Shefi Gabai called "Genetic Bomb." A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University working on classifying human beings by race found that "Israeli Arabs" and Eurpoean Jews are genetically related. We skip the racial stuff, but quote some of the accompanying commentary. ..."Actually it was known years ago that the local Arabs have a strange custom -- they light candles at Hannukah and set mezuza on their doorsills... Many families are known as Masalma or converts to Islam."

Palestinians Never Resisted Assimilation -- Israel Wouldn't Let Them

The problem is not that the local people resisted the new government. The problem is not that anybody tried to convert the locals to Judaism. Far from it. The problem is that when local people left in fear during the war, they were not allowed to return. Those who stayed were not allowed to attend the Hebrew speaking public schools and were not permitted to serve in the Israeli military. They were segregated and denied the rights of ordinary citizens. Despite all of these stumbling blocks, many local people did become assimilated.

From pages 199-120 of my father's book: In the city of Ramla the local schools were not segregated. The remaining "Arab" population was not large enough to justify separate schools. In 1967, when the news of the outcome of the short "Six Day War" became known, an "Arab" child rushed breathlessly home to tell his mother: "Mother, we won!" "Who won?" asked his "Arab" mother. "We! Israel!" [Ma'ariv. 1968].

From page121 of my father's book: Joseph and Nehama Mara'i are a good looking couple. The color photos ... show a trim and fit man in slacks and a flannel shirt. he is balding. His smile appears intellectual and thoroughly Israeli. The woman by his side is slightly shorter, with wavy brown hair....They are featured in the weekend pictorial section of theMa'ariv daily newspaper datign Nov. 4, 1988. The reason for the article... is that they are a mixed couple. ... Jospeh Mara'i is an "Arab". He was five when his native village of Taibe was ceded to Israel... At fourteen he came across a brochure of the Israeli agricultural boarding school "The Green Village." He enrolled... "I had a dream ," Mara'i is quoted as saying, "that I am like everybody else, an equal citizen. I prayed that my children would be allowed to serve in Zahal [the Israeli army.]..."

If Israelis and Palestinians Can't Live Together -- There is no Future for Both Israel and Palestine

Israel/Palestine is a very small strip of land. It is hardly enough for one country. It will not support two. If Israelis and Palestinians can't live together, then they will die together. The neighboring countries are waiting to absorb whatever is left after the civil war that is currently raging there. Then there will be no Israel and no Palestine.

When my father died in the year 2000, I was unprepared. It was too soon. I was not so much upset by the idea that he would never again be in my daughter's life or in mine or in my mother's or my brother's. I was not upset so much by the idea that he would not be able to finish the university sponsored project that he was then working on. These things were sad, but they were not what bothered me the most. Somehow, I didn't think he would die before Israel was whole again. It was devastating to me that the words he wrote in this book had fallen on deaf ears and that he would never get a chance to speak out on its content. To save Israel was his fondest dream. I hope that by posting this here I may bring his dream of a united Israel a little closer to fruition. I'm not sure how, but I can only hope! 

(c) 2009 Aya Katz 

The video above is from a 1993 broadcast of "For the Record" on Alabama Public Television. The moderator was Lynn Sampson. Participating were my father and Dr. Anis Salib. I apologize for the annoying buzzing in the background. If you play with your audio balance on your computer, you might be able to reduce the static.

Palestinians are Not Arabs

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Comments 71 comments

Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Aya - That is a wonderful Hub.

You are carrying on his work, and his ideas are fascinating. I was aware that Israelis and Palestinians had a shared lineage, but the rest of the information that you provided is completely new. Your father was truly an enlightened man.

Thanks for the great read.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Sufidreamer. It means a lot!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

interesting hub, thank you.

Are you a Hebrew speaker yourself?


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

This hub is very timely because lately many Palestinian activists are coming back to their traditional position that the land should be ruled as one country for all its people. The phrase "One state solution" is on many lips. (Don't believe me? Try a Google search.)

In light of this, an interesting book to compare to Amnon's would be the book of Ali Abunimah, "One Country". You can find it here:

http://www.amazon.com/One-Country-Proposal-Israeli...

Where Abunimah errs is in his view of who are his potential fellow countrymen. He seems to say that they are jews who are not zionists instead of zionists who are not jews. (A cursory study of, say, Avigdor Lieberman should show what is wrong with this.)

Also Abunimah's book is not very romantic. He doesn't come off as liking his fellow countrymen all that much and thinks that his solution can be achieved by convincing lots of foreigners to pressure them. (He reminds me a little of David working for the Phillistines.)

I wonder if it has ever occurred to him that instead of telling Jews they should stop being Zionists that he should tell Zionists that they have made an error in their Zionism. (He certainly has no compunctions about preaching morality to the enemy.)

Of course, Abunimah is much better connected than we (as a google search on "Abunimah" and "Obama" easily shows.), and one should be careful about criticizing. Maybe he knows what he's doing and is about to successfuly unify all the territory of the Balfour declaration. Still it is pleasant to speculate on whether Israel could be saved if only Abunimah would read "The Punky Wunkies."

Nets


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

Such a history, such a struggle....What are your hopes for the future of Israel..?

Brilliant Hub, one of the most informative I've read. Thank you


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Aya - just excellent, and deserving to be syndicated world-wide. I am going to link to here from the forum thread that has been discussing the Palestine issues for the last few months. Thanks for posting this one.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Wonderful. I hope this is widely read.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

LondonGirl, thanks for dropping by. Yes, I am a native speaker of Hebrew. I was born in Rehovoth, and though I've been away from Israel a long time, I still speak Hebrew to my kids.

Nets, thanks for pointing out the book ONE COUNTRY by Abunimah. I will look into it. Can you think of any way to get him to read "The Punky-Wunkies"?

Maven, thanks! My hopes are for a united Israel with every citizen, from whatever background, having equal rights. I believe in separation of Church and State. Israel should not be a Jewish state. Israel is for the Israelis -- and this includes those currently called Palestinians.

Paraglider, thanks! This is high praise indeed coming from you! Every link helps.

Earnesthub, thank you! I hope so, too.

 


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

Not really. It has occurred to me to write to him. He has a webpage here:

http://abunimah.org/

where he gives out an email address. But it is unlikely to do any good for the usual reasons.

Also I find some of his activities a little distasteful, such as a website

http://electronicintifada.net/

which he founded and which is in the habit of publishing really scurrilous anti-Israeli propaganda. It gives some credence to the contention of some Israelis that his proposal may not be entirely sincere.

Nets


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Great hub! As St. Thomas Aquinas said--Seldom affirm....Never deny...Always distinguish! Your hub is a good example of this maxim.


SiddSingh profile image

SiddSingh 7 years ago

This is a wonderful hub. It provides a different perspective to the whole "Israel vs Palestine" isuue.


Make  Money profile image

Make Money 7 years ago from Ontario

Nice Hub Aya.  A one state solution is also suggested on the first page of Paraglider's forum thread.

http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/8290

Thanks

Mike


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I'll join the chorus as to how great this hub is. It's great to see it all put down plainly and understandable to everyone. Thumbs up.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph Deeds, thanks for your comment. I'll have to look into the St. Augustine quote!

Thank you, SiddSingh!

MakeMoney, thanks. I'll look into Paraglider's Forum thread.

Uninvited Writer, thanks!


bgamall profile image

bgamall 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Aya, it is a dream that all Israel would be united. However, it is a difficult proposition. Israelis would be afraid that the Jewish state would cease to exist. Palestinians are so polarized that they would only fight.

I have an idea that could work. I believe that the United Nations sanctioned Israel. So she has a right to exist. But on the other hand, the Palestinians lost their land. So, since the world created this impass, the world needs to solve it, and it should be reparations to all the palestinians for a guaranteed peace.

These raparations should be made by the world, because the world set up this tension. Hamas or any leaders would have to accept peace in return. The reparations would have to be very, very generous, enough to be ongoing perhaps.

What do you think,Aya? BTW your hub is an honest confession of failing and it is a start for anyone who wants to know the hearts of many who descended from the Jews. My natural father was Jewish, and I was adopted at three months.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Bgamall, thanks for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment. What people fail to understand is that Israel and the non-Israeli Jews have a conflict of interest. Israel is for the Israelis -- of whatever faith, and this includes the people currently known as Palestinians. If you are interested in knowing more about the conflict between foreign Jews and Israelis, please read my short story:

http://hubpages.com/politics/The-Punky-Wunkies--Pa...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, I don't pretend to know a lot about the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, wrt the one state solution, I've seen several op-ed writers (e.g. Tom Friedman)point out that one state would mean either an end to Israel as a Jewish state because non-Jews would outnumber Jews, or an end to Israel's claim to democracy unless it granted full citizenship rights to everyone. ???


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, Israel should grant full citizenship rights to all born within its borders. But why do you assume that the only important distinction is Jews versus non-Jews?

Not all Palestinians are Moslem. Not all Israelis are Jews. While most Israelis speak Hebrew, not Arabic, many Palestinians, those who have been allowed to work in Israel, are fluent speakers of Hebrew.

I was on a bus in Israel once, and some girls were speaking in Arabic to each other, but when they started talking about money, they switched to Hebrew. Not just the word sheqel, but the actual numbers and the rest of the sentence followed suit!

Code switching is normal. It's a natural part of the cultural melting pot.

Money talks. Given half a chance, everyone wants upward mobility in a society that accepts them.


HHO2U profile image

HHO2U 7 years ago from Mojave California

Very nice Hub. My wife and I have been studying this subject for some time now.

We have your book now, will check back to let you know what we think


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

HHO2U, thanks for dropping by and I am so glad you got a copy of my father's book. Let me know what you and your wife think after you've had a chance to read it.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, thanks for your reply. My questions are not intended to give you a hard time. So, bear with me if I pursue the matter, and forgive me if I display my ignorance with stupid questions.

Is it not true that Israel was established on the concept that it would become a home for Jews? Is it not true that religious Jews have much to say in the politics of the country? Do you think it likely that if a one country solution were adopted, making Jews a minority that full rights of citizenship would be granted to all residents, regardless of their religion? If the answer is "yes," would that not be inconsistent with the vision underlying the original establishing of Israel?

My recollection is that the above is the argument that has been made in support of abandoning the settlements and seeking a two-state solution. If I am wrong on this, please explain.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Ralph - I think the problem (one of them) with a two state solution is that there is not enough arable land, mineral wealth or coastal access to make either state wholly viable, without 'aid'. And it surely is not sensible to create another divided country (Palestine = west bank + gaza) after the model of east & west Pakistan.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph Deeds, thanks for asking these questions. These are issues that many are confused about, and it is good to have a chance to clarify.

Israel was not established in order to give Jews everywhere a home. That was not the intent of Zionism. It was not the intent of the pioneers who settled there. They wanted a place where people would stop treating them like Jews. They did not want to be forced to adhere to Jewish traditions nor did they want to be kept out of the mainstream. (In the diaspora, the religious Jews profited from anti-Semitism, because as long as a person wasn't accepted outside the Jewish religious community, then he couldn't leave. Both the Jewish religious leadership and the anti-Semitic Europeans worked together to keep Jews Jews.)

Zionists were people who came from Jewish communities abroad and who had had failed to find a place where they could be treated as equal citizens where they came from. They established a new home and a new identity in Palestine and lived in relative peace and harmony among their neighbors there.

It was always intended that this new community would eventually become independent of foreign rule (Turkish or British.) It was never intended that the religious Jews who lived abroad would have the right to control the community that they themselves had said shouldn't exist.

Israel was established so that the Hebrew speaking residents of Palestine could be a self-governing nation.

Unfortunately, the Holocaust threw a wrench into the works. Israel allowed many holocaust survivors to enter and acquire citizenship too fast. These people did not share the Zionist ideals. They thought that being Jewish gave them special rights. They didn't speak Hebrew, did not want to work the land, and were ill at ease in the new "Asian" environment. The old settlers looked down on them, and in an effort to find someone else worse off, they looked down on the Palestinians.

That's a lot of history in a nutshell. But if you really want to know more details, read my father's book.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Paraglider, there is not enough arable land or land for any purposes to split Israel any further. But what's more, the Palestinian residents are an integral part of the division of labor. They make valuable contributions and are part of a single economy. Israel needs them.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I read this hub a couple of times since you published it, feeling that it was very insightful and so very well written on a topic that most Americans understand nothing about.  I've always been a big fan of yours because you have the ability to make the complicated a lot more clearer.  This is an important hub!

I have been teaching English to a lady from Jordan for years, who tried her best to share and to explain some of this to me and a lot of what you've discussed she too agreed upon, just couldn't explain to me so well in her limited English. 

I'll be ordering your father's book in hopes that I can lessen my own lack of knowledge about events that shape our world more than most American suspect.


pgrundy 7 years ago

This is so excellent and so fascinating. There is so much here I did not know, and I really appreciate you taking the time to write this out so patiently and clearly. You must know that most people outside that region are very confused about what is happening and why. I know I am. This was very helpful to me in clearing some of that confusion. How lucky you are to have had such a wonderful father. Do you think his point of view is unusual or do you think that it is a mainstream view and the media distort the conflict? I often feel that things are not presented to us in an honest way on most issues, and we have to dig for the truth and sometimes don't even find it then.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, thanks for your comment and your support! I'll look forward to hearing what you think after you have read my father's book. Was your English student from Jordan originally from the area that is currently part of Israel?

PGrundy, thanks for your comment! This means a lot coming from you. You're right, everyone is very confused about this, including many who live in the region.

My father's point of view was common in the thirties and forties, before Israel achieved independence. In the fifties, when it was discovered by the leadership that many did not identify themselves as Jewish, there was an about face in policy. Suddenly a new program was instituted in the public schools, called "Jewish Consciousness". The purpose of the program was to indoctrinate students into thinking of themselves as Jewish and identifying with European Jews of the diaspora. By the seventies, my father's point of view was decidedly in the minority. That minority was called the Canaanite Movement. By now, very few remember any of this.


pgrundy 7 years ago

That is amazing and also somewhat alarming--at least the part about his point of view kind of disappearing. I'm really glad you are around to preserve it. It's a lot to digest. Lots of implications, especially in the sense of writing one history over another. I suppose it happens everywhere. I know it happens in the U.S. all the time. Thanks again.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Aya- Paraglider has bought a very important point about East/West Pakistan and it certainly is difficult to divide a country like that. Also once a nation has evolved then it is difficult to undo it hence having a single land mass unit called Palestine with their own government is the only solution. Just as Jews wouldn't like to live in a country called Palestine the Palestinians wouldn't like to be identified as Israelis. The divide is much deeper between both of them and the best course is separate land for each which hopefully will stop the vicious cycle of violence and mutual hatred. I don't see any other alternative being feasible and agreeable to all at this time.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

PGrundy, yes, I agree. It's amazing and alarming how quickly people forget.

Countrywomen, you make it sound as if Palestine or Palestinians were something that existed since time immemorial. The British made up the term Palestine. The people in question did not start calling themselves Palestinians until after they were denied equal rights. Most Israelis may be confused right now about what they are, but they are decidedly not Jews in any religious meaning of that word. It would not be offensive to call Israel simply "Israel" and to call all who live within her borders, of whatever ethnicity, Israeli. The thing that has to be changed is the title "Jewish State".

No other country has that extra little twist. India isn't called "the Hindu State." I've never heard Saudi Arabia called "The Moslem State". The United States isn't called "The Christian State". Religion and nationality are not the same thing. For some reason, in Israel that got confused.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Aya- I am so sorry if my words came across as offending you in anyway. I am aware of what erstwhile colonial Britain is capable of. Even in India till 1905 there was no mention of Pakistan until the British started the divide and rule policy. And Gandhi in spite of having so much clout couldn't reverse the "popular" sentiments. I totally agree with your father's views just as my father's views about undivided India would be a Utopian dream (even when India had couple of wars with Pakistan it was very difficult to undo the sentiments of nationhood once they are sown).http://south-asian-history.suite101.com/article.cf...

Since I read paraglider's comment my mind went in that direction and found some similarities about how the colonial British did the similar thing (about creating the concept of "Pakistan" in India). I was trying to be practical but I am sorry if I have hurt you in anyway. Incidentally another name for India is HINDUustan (just in case you were not aware) although India does celebrate all the different religious festivals (lots of public holidays) that are popular among all the religious practitioners(http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2009/india.... When religion and geography mix then things blur and India has had its share of problems in this regard. I am once again sorry please forgive me for hurting you.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Countrywomen, I'm sorry if I overreacted to your post. I know that you meant nothing personal. It's just that you said it was hopeless, and I still hope!

Yes, it did occur to me, in passing, that India is another way of saying Hindustan, and that the root Ind- is, of course,the same root as in Hind-. Sometimes the name of a religion and an ethnic group is the same. Sometimes a religion is named after the place where it originated. For instances, the Jews are so called, because they originated in Judea, which is a very small part of the Land of Israel.

When the State of Israel was founded, it could have been called Judea, instead of Israel. The choice of the word Israel was deliberate. It was intended to distance us from Jews and Judaism. But if your point is that despite the best of intentions, for most people today Israel and Judea have become synonomous, then I would be willing to adopt another, more neutral name for the country now called Israel/Palestine. How about Canaan?

If the only problem were what to call the country, I think it would be easy to find a solution that would be acceptable to all.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Aya- Thanks for understanding my point of view. Even my father sometimes talks about undivided India but we all know that it is difficult to turn the clock back once the seed has been sown about nationhood in this case "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan". Similarly in the early days when "Palestine" was named the identity of a nation was just sown and then it would have been easy to undo but after decades of taking root it becomes difficult. And now when generations have grown to mistrust each other almost impossible to hope things would go back to the way it was before the birth of "palestine". 

I belong to neither groups hence I wouldn't know if changing name to canaan would make any difference maybe a poll/referendum among the residents would highlight whether it would work or not. But before that lots of ground work needs to be done and the present time should be used to first heal the wounds before a composite dialogue can take place. I am not hopeless and I always feel we should be hopeful (sometimes it maybe all that we have). I hope I don't come across as pessimistic in my views. I sincerely wish for peace and happiness all over the world.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Countrywomen, I share your sentiments. I just hope that maybe by sharing the history, and reexamining what has happened, there will be enough people open to the idea that we can work together, discarding what divides us and maintaining those things that unite.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I'm not sure if Iashias from that part of Israel.  I know that her husband still lives there, but sent her to live with their adult sons here in the states.  Somehow their furniture business and a apartment complex that they owned were taken away from them illegally.  She gets emotional about talking about home, and that makes her English harder to follow. 

I don't know how much she has learned from me in the five years we known each other, but I do know what I've learned from her -- that we are all more alike than different, and that alikeness can bind us together in the most delightful ways.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, yes, sometimes we learn more from our students than they do from us.

I am sorry about your student's bad experiences in that region. I am especially sorry if this involved unjust treatment on the part of Israel.

When I practiced law in Texas, one of my clients was from Nablus. He asked me: "Are you charging me the same as your other clients?"

I answered: "Of course."

Then he smiled and said: "You should charge me less because we are family! We come from the same place."

That kind of hutzpah pretty much proves that Israelis and Palestinians are one people!


Erick Smart 7 years ago

The current unrest in the middle east affects us all and the complexity of the different groups and agendas really confuses me. I would be interested in reading this book so that I can better understand what is going on when I hear about the current news.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Erick Smart, thanks for your comment. The book is available at the link I provided above. I look forward to hearing your impressions after you have read it.


britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 7 years ago from united kingdom

great hub...nice information....thanx for sharing.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Britney, thanks for your comment!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Hi Aya - Nice to come back and check the comments occasionally!

Just read CW's comments about the name Israel and, sadly, there is a lot of power in a name and identity. The Greeks and FYROM are having a huge row over the name 'Macedonia.' The FYROM wants to be known by that name, whereas the Greeks insist that the name is given a qualifier, such as 'Northern' Macedonia. Most of historical Macedonia lies within Greece - FYROM is a small part, so the debate rumbles on.

Cue much stubbornness!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Sufidreamer, yes. Whenever I see the word Macedonia I think: "Isn't that where Alexander the Great came from?"

To me, Israel is a beautiful name that conjures up the romantic period described in the book of Judges, Samuel I & II and the early Kings. The heroes, warriors and kings whose lives are chronicled in those books were not Jews, because Jews were created by the various exiles after the period of glory. But so many people are ignorant of all this, that they think it's all the same.

When I tell someone that I was born in Israel, it always surprises me when they immediately jump to the conclusion that I am a Jew.

I describe this cognitive dissonance in my short story:

http://hubpages.com/politics/The-Punky-Wunkies--Pa...


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

It shows that perception is everything - good PR and transparency, allied with education is the key.

Just on a side-note, as a 'soccer' fan, I remember an Israeli football team called, Bnei Sakhnin or something like that (Too busy to check - corrections gratefully accepted!). They had a little success in European competitions and are remembered fondly as a team with both 'Israeli' and 'Palestinian' players. Only a small example of unity, but it can be done.

EDIT - Off to read the Punky-Wunkies!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

Aya, nice to meet you. You must be very proud to be a daughter of such a special person as your father was.

I am envious that you were born in Israel and Hebrew is your natural language. I wasn’t so lucky. Being a Jew I was born in Russia. When I tell that I was born in Russia, people immediately think that I am Russian :-) It’s just this simple. I always correct that I’m Jewish, just born in Russia.

I am proud of my Jewish ancestry. I am not religious, I am not Zionist. I just love Israel. Love its aura, aromas, and colors. I want to see this land prosperous and peaceful. I don’t know what is the right or the best way to make it happen. I just long with all my heart that this land will be under peace. That no place there will be a suicide bomber’s spot. That no soldier will be kidnapped or lynched.

Blessed any one who helps if happen.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 7 years ago from California

I can't wait to read your fathers book. His legacy lives on through you! Great insights.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Sufidreamer, I'm not much of a soccer fan myself, but anything that unites rather than divides is good in this context. Let me know what you think about the Punky-Wunkies.

Reuvera, thank you for your heartfelt comments. I am truly sorry that you were not able to feel that you belonged in the land of your birth. Russia, whether under Czarist, Soviet or current rule, had a lot to offer to all of her citizens and its a shame that it chose to label some as second class and to make them feel that they were not Russian. In so doing, Russia lost a lot of talented people who could have contributed to its own prosperity. Unfortunately, this racist attitude was imported into Israel when people born in Russia who felt they were not Russians and who were also not Zionists came to live in Israel after it was founded and after all the sacrifices had been made.

In the Doghouse, thanks for your comment. Look forward to hearing what you think after reading my father's book.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

Aya, may be I just didn’t make myself clear enough. I did not feel outcast in Russia, I love place of my birth too and have lots of friends there. I did feel different there though, because in a place where we lived there were not many Jews. I wanted to live among Jews, what could I do, it was my wish. Aliya of Russian Jews made a positive cultural difference in Israel, one can clearly see it.

Do you go to Israel often? How much time do you spend there?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

ReuVera, but how did you know you were a Jew? If they treated you the same as everyone else, you wouldn't know it and you wouldn't feel it. You think perhaps that you love being a Jew, but if you examine the reality, you probably didn't have a choice. Both at home and outside your home, everyone was telling you that you really weren't Russian.

Contrast this with the melting pot in America. No matter where your ancestors come from, if you grow up in the U.S. then you are an American. You can be proud of your ancestors, but it doesn't make you any less American.

I was born in Israel, and I belonged there. We left, because my father couldn't stand to see it destroyed. When Israel becomes a "Jewish State", that's when Israelis have to leave.

If you really care to understand the whole picture and not just one side of it, from an emotional as well as intellectual perspective, read the Punky-Wunkies.

I know you think that you only want the best for Israel, but unless church and state are separated and ethnic identity is disregarded, Israel cannot function as one of the Nations of the world.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Oh, and the last time I was in Israel? That was in 2001 when my mother, my brother and I scattered my father's ashes over Palestine and the Sinai. Everything we did was illegal. Cremation is against rabbinical law. We had no permission to scatter his ashes from the small plane that we rented, But we honored his wishes.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

Yes, Aya, I see what you mean and even more, I agree with you overall.  Especially that state and religion should be separated, though many think that this is exactly what keeps Jews being Jews.  But it is the spirit that keeps a Jew being a Jew.  Religion is just another politics, another totalitarian regime and another dictatorship, if I may say so.  I hope you believe me that I love Israel, though I was not born there and lived there only for 10 years.  Someday I will be living there again.  It is my land, my home.  It is not my country (in a governmental sense).   Russia was not my land and not my country. Though I was home there too.  I am home here, in US too.  It does not mean I am cosmopolitan.  I just accept everything with an open heart and positive attitude.

I’ve read the Punky-Wunkies and still thinking it over, I’m going to reread it again. I will have to write about my learning that I was not like other children in my neighborhood in a separate hub. I also scattered some of my late husband’s ashes over Mediterranean Sea in 2005, never even thinking that I was doing something illegal. I am not religious and I don’t belong to them.  If something is not a problem for me, I don’t make an issue out of it.  When living in Israel we did have some confrontation with religious laws (it was about burying my mother’s Russian husband), but I didn’t allow this experience spoil for us acceptance of Israel. May be I just don’t know the Israel it was, I know Israel from 1991. There are many, many changes there. Anyway, I appreciate very much your writings and I am going to read more.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

ReuVera, thanks! It means a lot to me that you can see this. Yes, of course, I believe you when you say you love Israel. And, in fact, any ideology or belief system that has something good to offer people will benefit from a spirit of openness.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 7 years ago from HubPages, FB

It is very interesting to me to read your hub. I love Israel very much, but as one say we might see thing with our own glasses. I had blessing experience when I was in Israel. Some others have perhaps bad. But it does not change the fact that the land belongs to God and He is a Giver to whom He wants. One may be an atheist, but it does not make any difference. As a true scientist one cannot minus God from the life. But it is his or her choice. God is God of freedom. I do not want to discuss the religion here. I hate the religion. But I am a firm believer. The worse religion is atheistic one, maybe there is second one.

Thank you for your valuable information.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

Thank you again, Aya.

Just one more thing before I go back to the Punky Wunkies read. I forgot to address some phrase that you wrote to me. I don’t think I ever felt second class no matter what. Different from others- yes, special in a way- yes, separate from the majority- yes. But never lower grade than others. I think the moment you feel second class, “they” succeed and win. “They”- it may be anti-Semites of any sort, socialistic propaganda, or religious fanatics.

My mother always used to tell me something like “it’s not about what “they” want you to think about yourself, it’s what you think about yourself”, or “it’s not about what “they” want you to be, it’s about what you want to be”.

I enjoy reading your story. You and your Ya’el really inspired me to think over my childhood sensations.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Enjoyed the Punky-Wunkies - a great read!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Vladimir Uhri, thanks for your comment. As you said, religion should be a matter of personal choice. Nobody should be forced into (or out of) any religion. It should be up to the individual.

ReuVera, thanks for dropping by again. I agree. No self-respecting person accepts an assessment of second class status. That is why a country that tries to foist that onto any of its citizens is sabotaging itself.

Thanks, Sufidreamer!


ngureco profile image

ngureco 7 years ago

This is a good hub with logical facts about Israel. I must admit that I didn’t know much about Israel. I now have learnt a lot about Israel.

I have always thought that Holocaust was meant to push Jews back to their original land of Israel. I have always thought that Christians believe their Savior Jesus was a Jew and that the land of Israel is a Holy Land given to the Jews by God and as such they are ready to fight for the Jews. I have always thought that the Muslims believe the land belongs to Palestinians and as such they are ready to fight for the Palestinians. I must have been very wrong.

I tend to get the impression that the press in the Christian countries and the Muslim countries is to blame for creating the wrong perception. What I can tell you is that the stakes in Israel are very high between the Christian countries and the Muslim countries and its unlikely the issue of Israelis and Palestinians will be solved sooner.

But if I may ask, where did the Jews originate from and why had they to leave their ancestral land in such large numbers? If what you explained is true, why then should the authorities in Israel be treating Palestinians like second citizen in this day and age?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ngureco, thanks for your comment, your observations and your questions.

The Holocaust was not intended to drive anybody anywhere. The Holocaust was a racist plan to completely eradicate the Jews of Europe. It was perpetrated by the German government under the Nazis. I deplore that genocide, as much as the next person. However, it had nothing to do with Israel, one way or the other.

The conflict in Israel is not about religion, except in the sense that the Judaism and Jewish ethnicity are being conflated by the State of Israel. It is a schism between two groups of the same basic ethnic origins, but those people who are interested in keeping the two groups separate are really motivated by racism. Hardly anyone in Israel is observant. Their real definition of a Jew is someone who has "Jewish" written in his official documents. What anyone actually believes is beside the point.

Now, as to your historical question: where did the Jews originate? They originated from Israel, just like the Palestinians. The Palestinians are the people who didn't leave. So who left? The priestly and upperclasses. And a few other people who went with them, like their personal retinue and their servants. Why? Because when a country is conquered, not everybody leaves. The majority get absorbed. When the Normans conquered England, most of the Saxons didn't leave, When the  Carthaginians conquered Spain, the Iberians didn't leave. When the Romans conquered Spain, the Iberians didn't leave. When the Moors conquered Spain, the Iberians didn't leave. When the Spaniards conquered the new world, the Incas and the Mayans didn't leave. The kings and the nobility are killed or exiled, but the people never leave. That is the way of the world.


heyju profile image

heyju 7 years ago

Wow, very interesting hub and comments. I've just recently been digging into my ethnicity, which is largely considered Jewish. But reading your hub and others I wonder what really is Jewish? It's all very confusing to me. I wasn't born into the Jewish religion. The more I read the more confused I get. I did however enjoy this hub and understand how proud you are of your father. Thanks again.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Heyju, thanks for your comment. Many people are confused about the term "Jewish". I believe that people can choose to be whatever they wish. If someone chooses to be Jewish, they can be. If they choose not to be, they don't have to be. Not all Jews are Israeli. Not all Israelis are Jews.


heyju profile image

heyju 7 years ago

Aya,

I understand the fact that not all Israelis are Jews and your hubs truly bring that to point. By the way I have read your other hub "Punkie Wunkies part one" I loved it very well written. I guess the source of my confusion would be "What am I" I know I am American but America is the melting pot and we are all made up of different ethnic backgrounds, I just wanted to know which is mine. Reading your comments and others give one a lot to ponder, I suppose it's another conversation another time. I very much enjoy your writing, it's very clever and insightful. Thank you for sharing.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Heyju, thanks! I'm so glad you got a chance to read part one of "The Punky Wunkies." I hope you get a chance to read the second part, too.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

My research indicates that since the 1920s Muslims have been killing Jews in the Holy Land. Why can't the Jews have that little speck of land out of the 6M square miles Arabs occupy. Doesn't seem like asking much to me. You don't see why the Israelis don't invite all Muslims to come and live within their tiny borders when they have sworn to murder them all? I'm sorry. I really like you and respect your intellect and writing skill but that sounds disingenuous to me and suicidal. I did learn an awful lot from you though and I am grateful to you for that.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

James, I'm very disappointed you see it that way. Do you realize that not all the people excluded by Israel from full rights were Muslims? Some of them were Christians and Arabic speaking Jews. As for the Jews of the diaspora, they have every country in the world to live in: why can't they leave Israel to the Israelis? I miss Israel so much. If they hadn't done that, I would still be there.

The failure to understand that if someone was born in Israel and raised in Israel, that person is an Israeli is the reason Israel is a small, powerless country with constant internal turmoil.

The United States is moving in that direction, too. I read in your hub on uniting America that you want to deny people born in the US to illegal immigrants the rights of natural born citizens. While I fully support the right to deport illegal aliens, I see a very real danger in denying citizenship to a person born and raised in the US.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

As to you last paragraph: hundreds of thousands of pregnant women have snuck across the border to have their babies so they will be automatic Americans. Then the whole clan can come because they are related. How many other countries in the world have the "if you are born here you are an automatic citizen"? Mexico? Switzerland? Italy? Australia? France? England? China?

That law was for children of slaves after the Civil War—it was NEVER intended for how it is used.

I did not want to disappoint you, because I think highly of you. If you lived in any other country: let's say you are Switzerland and on your border with France were camped 500,000 people who publicly stated over and over again that if they could just get their hands on you they would slit the throats of your women and children. Are you saying Switzerland should just say, "Well by all means! Come on over and take over and kill us!" I just don't understand your thinking process here. But I'd like to.

I am curious what you meant by "you would still live there." That sounds kind of sad. Care to elaborate?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

James, I don't believe the illegal alien parents should be allowed to stay -- but the thing is, if you want to keep them out, then you have to do it-- NOW! You can't wait forever. You can't profit from their cheap labor, then after a lifetime of service throw them out. You can't let a little child grow up in the U.S., become an adult, get a job, and then find out that he or she is not American after all!

Your example about Switzerland is odd to say the least. Are you saying there are French people who want to emigrate to Switzerland just so they can slit Swiss throats? You can say a lot of things about the French, but I've never heard that before!

I think the United States of America is the greatest country in the world, so far, because it has allowed different people from different backgrounds to each have a chance to build the best possible life for themselves that they can by their own labor. I believe in the melting pot and in the freedom of contract that have been unique to this country. But if you take those things away, then the US is no better than anyplace else.

I miss Israel because that's where I was born. Despite the freedoms that I have in the US, I will always miss my country of origin. If you want to understand why we left, I suggest you read The Punky-Wunkies, a short story that dramatizes the issue.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I agree with your first premise above: we can't exploit people and then boot them out. The Switzerland thing was a hypothetical; I was saying let's take Israel out of the equation. Would ANY country accept a half a million new citizens who had vowed to kill its citizens? I think not. I am a melting pot guy, too. But are we in favor of a mosaic?

I am leaving for Israel early in the morning. I'll take up that conversation with you in two weeks when, and if, I return. :-)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

James, I'm not too keen on a mosaic, either. But that's why we need separation of church and state, and why, if there have to be public schools (a whole other issue) then those schools have to accept everyone and teach them all the same things. No apartheid.

Have a safe trip to Israel and back, and I look forward to resuming the discussion.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 3 years ago from Southern California, USA

I found your hub very fascinating and interesting. One thing I have noticed is there are Christian Americans who were not born in Israel, but who seem to have some strong ideas about how things should be done in that country. It seems they feel entitled to have such beliefs because Israel is considered the birth place of Christianity. However, I find your hub informative because it gives real info about how things are in Israel from the perspective of someone born there. I remember getting called some pretty bad names awhile back for simply suggesting we stop giving military aid to Israel and Egypt, and allow those countries to figure out their own issues. I was called those names by some supposedly very Christian people.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 3 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, SweetiePie. I agree that the United States should stop giving money to other countries, and I especially agree in the case of Israel. I say this, not because I want Israel to fail, but because I want it to succeed. American government intervention has a corrupting influence. Even when the giver means well, the result can be very damaging.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 3 years ago from Southern California, USA

In the past people probably thought it was good to intervene, but I think recent history has illustrated it always goes wrong in so many different countries. In my opinion, it is usually better when the self-determination of a people is respected, and another nation is not getting involved.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 3 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Yes, SweetiePie, I agree.

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