Perspectives on Israel’s Chances of Survival

Israel’s constant bid to attract new immigrants by claiming to be “the national homeland for world Jewry” appears to be losing its impact. For the first time in four years the number of incoming new colonizers (settlers) has gone down. The Israeli ministry responsible for receiving and assimilating new immigrants has reported that their number in 2011 was 18,968 compared to 19,231 in 2010. It also became apparent that the number of immigrants- forming new settlers- coming from Russia and Ethiopia (who do not have a clear designation as Jews yet by the conservative rabbinical authority) has increased compared to the number of confirmed and practicing Jews from other countries.  “Most immigrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union did not come to Israel because they yearned to live the Jewish life among Jews, but for only to better their lives in a material way,” says Israeli writer Yaron London in an article titled ‘ White Immigrants, Black Immigrants’. He goes on to say that “if the doors of the rich western countries were to open for them, they would have never come to Israel in the first place.”

          ‘Israel: a Future in Doubt’ cast doubt on the survival of Israel as a political state and ‘a national entity’ beyond the next 10 or 20 years because of internal and external factors. The book, authored by Richard Laub and Olivier Boruchowitch, stated that the very existence of Israel in the Middle East is at stake. They citied many conditions such as the mounting anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism sentiments having dire effects on the survival of Israel, as well as  the rapid rise of Islamic forces in neighboring countries who look at Israel “as an integrated extension of the ugly western imperialism that generated it”. They spoke of Arab revolutions taking place and creating chaos and instability in the entire region, especially in Arab States that consider themselves enemies of Israel. Highlighting other changes, they said Israel was no longer able to conduct its battles only on enemy territories without any military threat or cost on Israel proper and that it  now faces the possibility of great losses inside its boundaries as a result of the capabilities of its enemies reaching every corner in Israel with their deadly rockets. About other conditions, the two writers pointed to a decrease in international support for the State of Israel, noticeably in Europe, because-as they said- the new European generations do not any more feel the guilt for the ‘curse of the Holocaust’. They also indicated that the international public opinion has become aware of the aggressive nature of Israel and its real intention to annex most of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 while denying the Palestinians their national rights. Referring to other factors, they said Israel, being a small country, can never successfully prevent the deadly damages caused by attacks using modern weapons and that cracks and divisions within the growing Israeli society will aid the anti-Zionist forces represented by the Palestinians of 1948 who hold Israeli citizenship. Moreover, the writers drew attention to the rising power of the colonial settlers whose extremism- they said- is gaining the upper hand in Israeli politics and the Israeli military establishment.

Prof. Eli Barnavi, Israeli historian and former diplomat, appeared to offer guarded support to the authors in his introduction to the book saying “the world smiled on Israel until 1967”, but since then “this amiable attitude has waned” as “the one (i.e. Israel) who had been the paradigmatic victim of Nazi barbarism took its turn in causing indescribable suffering to the Palestinians.” In his review of the book, Prof. Joseph Hodara of the Israeli Bar-Ilan University said “the internal divisions within the Israeli society threaten the stability of the State and the religious and cultural differences within Israel are causing conflicts which will increase in time inflicting great damage on national security in Israel”. He concludes that “the old Israeli tools of propaganda to gain support using the ‘Holocaust’ are no longer effective”.

Emilie Hauser, an American writer with an Israeli citizenship wrote about her reasons for leaving Israel in the Daily Beast website saying “the Israeli Jewish society has shifted its focus toward being oppressive by denying the national rights of another people (the Palestinians). Israel is being consumed by the efforts of building settlements using inhumane methods which are anti-democratic.” “Settlements are being built on stolen lands” she went on to say, “and (Israeli) leaders talk about peace, but their deeds are killing all the chances for peace”.

Haaretz newspaper reported that the demographic Jewish majority in “historical Palestine” will disappear in three years. The number of Palestinians now stands at around 4.2 million (nearly 2.6 million live in the West Bank and around 1.6 million live in Gaza Strip). Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who live in the 1948 areas, number 1.4 million, thus the total count of the Palestinian population living on the Land of Historic Palestine is 5.6 million. Israel has 5.9 million adherents of Judaism, with 325 thousand people followers of other religions. Jews in historical Palestine now count more than the Palestinian population with nearly 300 thousand people. But in 2020, the number of Palestinians will reach 7.2 million compared to the Hebrew population of 6.8 million. Therefore, with the peace process almost dead and so the sought for solution of two states, the final destination of the state of Israel would be a bi-national state, a Hebrew/Arab state with a Palestinian majority.