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Israel Essay, Research Paper

After the War of Independence on December 1, 1947, the relationship between the Jews and Arabs remained hostile towards each another. With the amount of Jews increasing at a significant rate over the past century in Israel, it has not helped this relationship out. The formation of Israel s people in the simple demographic sense is still far from stabilized and may undergo far-reaching changes in the coming decade. The final settlement of the status of the occupied territories and their Arab population, and the opening of the gates of immigration to the Jews from the Soviet Union are two main factors on how Israel will be affected. Due to the increase in the population in Israel, the people have a more elusive sense of national identity and character. With the massive influx of immigrants in the post statehood period, they have loosened many of the bonds of prestateahood community, and precipitated a process of change in the character of people that is still going on today. However, with this entire change-taking place, the main concern is whether or not Jewish nationalism was ever established in the fight for their independence. Was nationalism and its national expression, the pioneering ideology of conquering the land first by means of a Jewish presence and Jewish labor and later by force; if necessary in any way special? Did it have a universalistic, humanistic, and nationalistic basis? Did it ever have the potential to establish an open society at peace with itself and its neighbors?

Immigration took place all over the world and it is unfortunate that this is still a problem today. Immigration dates back all the way to the 1880 s and continued in to the early 1900 s. It brought to Palestine 25,000 Jews, mainly from Tsarist Russia, whose arrival doubled the Jewish population in the country. Nearly half of the previous inhabitants were Sefaradi and oriental Jews who were thoroughly turkified or Arabicized

except for religion, and the rest were Ashkenazi Jews, mainly old people (84, Safran). The newcomers differed from the older inhabitants in almost every respect causing them to have a rough time in their adopted country. The next flock of immigrants came from Russia and brought over forty thousand Jewish immigrants between 1904 and 1914. It was prompted by the renewal of large-scale pogroms in Russia. Mostly they needed to escape the terror and oppression. These pogroms renewed tsarist repression, and the dislocation of Jewish life caused by the beginning of the industrial revolution in Russia had set in motion the most massive Jewish migration in history (86, Safran). Shortly after this, in 1918, 25,000 Jews fled from Russia. These people were predominately pioneers belonging to the Zionist-socialist movements and shared ideologies and aspirations of the second wave of immigrants. From 1923 to 1926, 60,000 people came from Poland who were mostly of the middle-class who intended to continue their occupation in their new country.

With all of this immigration going on, the Jews were trying to escape the brutality of concentration camps that were set up to kill them.

Grey metal towers appeared on the plateau west of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, within

a couple of weeks after the Israel invasion. I first saw their ungainly silhouettes

as I drove quickly from the coast, dodging in and out of the Israel military convoys

that littered the narrow country road with armored vehicles, trucks, and jeeps. The

long-legged towers suddenly cut an incongruous geometry against the large, smooth

curve of blue sky; they were the same sort that stood around kibbutzim in the Galilee,

settlements on the West Bank, and Israeli army bases everywhere (326, Shipler).

No one was sure what these towers were for nor were they given an answer, but as time went on the answer became obvious. Chain-link fences topped with barbed wire were fixated to entrap the Jews, and tons of dirt was piled high so people who passed by could

not see what was taking place inside Ansar . These prisoners lived in large, crowded army tents on several fields of bare ground. Around them they could see only barbed wire, guard towers, and armored personnel carriers. The compounds were smothered in an awful stench of sewage and garbage (329, Shipler). The smoke that came from the plateau covered everything; tents, peoples clothing and hair, and made the ground look like it was covered in snow, but really it was ash. When winter rain came the ash turned into mud, the Israelis made new compounds with asphalt floors and small shower rooms to improve conditions during the rainy season. During the first winter, it was raw and miserable; each person was issued three blankets with no heaters in the tents, and did not have sufficient clothing. Tuberculosis became a problem at Ansar , but this was just minor problem to some of the other problems that took place at other prison camps. Inmates were beaten and insulted during interrogation in the early months, a practice that apparently waned as protest was made and prison routines were established. Worst of all people were being killed for no apparent reason. For example, three died and three were wounded when an armored personnel carrier went through a ditch and a machine gun fired a burst into the camp, apparently by accident or when a prisoner dropped a letter that he received outside the barbed wire fence, and was shot in the head.

The Holocaust has become a vehicle of hurt and outrage between Arabs and Jews, a symbol of immense grievance on both sides, an event without analogy, yet one used often as analogy to inflate the scope of each side s transgressions. Some have embellished the number of Jews exterminated in massacres and death camps to nearly six million. The memory of the Holocaust is a potent weapon in the hands of the Arabs.

Some enjoy using this as a tool to shock and scare the Jews. Some feel the Palestine s used the Holocaust as a way to build their own history.

The Jewish revolution is not the first or only one in the history of the world, but perhaps is the most difficult. There have been numerous revolutions throughout the world; the American, English and French Revolution, but this one is of different order, making it all the more difficult. All of the other revolutions dealt with political, economic, and social structures, but this deals with a system against destiny , destiny of a human being. There is not one nation that can relate to the inhuman treating of the Jews.

Israel is a unique country in its geology, topography, and geographical position. Two great empires, Egypt and Assyria, who were powerful, intelligent, and well cultivated, surrounded Israel. This caused tension between the Jews and the neighboring rich empires. The preservation of our political, national, cultural, and moral independence has required heroic efforts, and, during our prolonged struggle to maintain our identity and our values, we have suffered grievous losses (608, Hertzberg). After two thousand years, if there were not extermination or capitulation of Jews, their race would be enormous.

What makes this revolution so different is that it bears no relation to an

existing order. The tragedy of the Jews is that we are not part of any order.

A revolution is directed against a well-defined social structure is a one-time

affair; it can succeed by seizing control of the government and wielding the

newly seized power to change the existing social and economic order. . its

road to success is not through seizure of power but only by the gradual shaping

of the forces (610, Hertzberg).

The first two imperatives of the Jewish revolution are to guard jealously the independence, the inner moral and intellectual freedom, of the movement and the unity of protagonists. The Jewish revolution can succeed only through devotion to their own unique needs and destiny, only by reliance on their own strength. Coming together as a whole is what unites one another that are inspired by a vision of the Jewish renaissance on humanistic, Zionist, and socialist foundations. Unless the conquest of land and labor, self-defense, language, culture, freedom, responsibility, and immigration do not come together as a unit, it will fail. The Jewish Revolution is incomparably difficult and without unity and co-operation full realization of our creative potential will not be recognized.

The third and most important imperative of the Jewish Revolution is the Halutziut. The end of the war was coming to an end and cities and countries were being liberated, but the Jews were not sharing the happiness with them. The Jewish population has been wiped out and the strength of the Jews had been destroyed. The desert area of our land is calling us, and the destruction of our people is crying out to us (617, Hertzberg). The tasks that lie ahead will require pioneering efforts in order to establish a new sense of community among the Jews. These tasks consist of cleaning up the waste places in the mountains, plains, and valleys, and prepare a way for the new immigrants to come to Israel to rekindle the Jewish life that has been taken away from them. Immigrants are being called from all over the world from America to Iraq to help fulfill this dream .

The absorption of immigrants into this land will be a difficult task than ever before and will require of us new and unprecedented efforts. The expected people to

come to the new land are people of poverty and misery, and will need prolonged care and intensive help. The only problem is that the pioneers who showed leadership in Poland,

Lithuania, Galicia, and Czechoslovakia have been killed, so where do they get their leaders. The new youth must take on the responsibilities of the pioneering tasks. The loss of the Jews is irreplaceable which makes the obligation to Jewish youth to step forward all the more difficult. There is not anything that could be of more importance than to work on the ingathering and resettlement. We might not see this change take place in our day, but we can have high hope. This consumption does not rely only on the Jews; it relies on the outside world as well for their help. When it comes down to it in reality, despite everything, it does depend on us: on the Jewish people, the Yishuv in the homeland, the labor movement, and the pioneer youth. If such be our program, there is hope that many of us will live to see the consummation of the Jewish revolution the concentration of the majority of our people in a homeland transformed into a socialist Jewish state (619, Hertzberg).

After the Holocaust took place, the Six-Day War of 1967 began, which was a crucial, fateful experience in which all Israelis took place equally. This provided a powerful and enduring sense that they all constituted one nation and shared in common enterprise and destiny beyond their communal differences. This war triggered a new wave of immigration causing a drastic increase making it even more notable for its size. This was the first time in Israel history that such large numbers of immigrants came form the United States and Soviet Union. This war under Israel control brought nearly a million Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank, and nearly a half million Israeli Arabs in

prewar boundaries. The future between these two groups will be an issue because of the territories that they own. This will either cause them to become stronger or weaker. The Six Day War brought under Israeli control the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and triggered a profound dispute among Israelis about the future of these territories (99, Safran). All Israelis consider themselves to be part of the historical homeland in which they feel is entitled to them.

Near the beginning on 1972, Israelis agreed that it was within their countries power to annex the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip if they wanted to. The debate involved many issues, but the main concern was over the demographic problem . Considering that Israel had already an Arab minority of 460,000 whose natural growth rate was a phenomenal forty per thousand (compared with sixteen per thousand Jews), how many more Arabs could Israel absorb without losing its Jewish character and/ or some of its other prized characteristics, such as democracy and a healthy social structure (99, Safran). Due to the drastic differences in the natural rate of growth of the Jews and Arabs, for the most part the population will rise, meaning that by 1990 the Arabs will have nearly fifty percent of the total population only if Israel annexed the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Since the mass immigration and rapid economic development, it has loosened up the social structure and depleted the ideological compactness and relative social structure . The economy was young and small when Israel was established, and was not given the opportunity for any significant number of people to accumulate large amounts of capitol. Rapid economic development and inflation have given rise to a large class of

successful entrepreneurs causing a greater differentiation of salaries and wages. For farmers with large families, their incomes have declined compared to urban incomes, leaving them limited options.

The Jews had at heart nationalism, but after going through so much a group, one can only take so much before they give up. However, the Jews fought there way through as much as they could without giving anyone the satisfaction of being able to terminate their race. The Jews did what they had to do to survive and they are still struggling today with the problems that many ancestors dealt with centuries ago.


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