American Jews need to get involved in domestic Israeli politics. The days of discussions behind closed doors have passed, and so have the years of consensus. Too much is on the line now for those who care about Israel to demonstrate apathy.
Some American Jews are already involved. One of them is actually the owner of the most widely read newspaper in Israel, which also serves as the voice of the prime minister and chairman of the Likud Party, Benjamin Netanyahu. Others donate money to candidates that they support, or to organizations that run activities with which they identify. However, the large majority of American Jews look at what happens in Israel, raise an eyebrow or two, and move on, as if it has nothing to do with them. But it does.
The State of Israel was create to ensure the continued existence of the Jewish people, and not the opposite. In Israel, you can even find those who mistakenly hold the opinion that the State is eternal, while the Jewish people may be a passing phenomenon. In fact, Zionism was born in order to create one place were Judaism would continue no matter what. The discussion always surrounded a national home in the land of Israel. Whoever supports continued control of the entire biblical land of Israel effectively supports a state that will be either non-Jewish or undemocratic.
In 2015 -- in just three years -- there will be more Palestinians than Jews in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Shortly after that, Palestinians will stop demanding a state. They will only demand "one vote for one person," as they will integrate into the regional movement demanding democracy, dignity and freedom. Then, even if we want to, we will not be able to leave the West Bank, the area where a Palestinian state is supposed to be established. Hundreds of thousand of settlers, who continue to multiply by the day, will represent not only the obstacle between Israel and peace, but also the difference between the triumph of Zionism and its defeat.
Israel arose on the basis of Jewish and universal values. Democracy, the equal right to be different, the respect for a man and a woman and their freedom are supposedly the supporting pillars of the Jewish state. But a nation that controls another nation -- that dictates to the other which roads it can and cannot drive on, that imprisons that nation's sons for extended periods without trial, that confiscates that nation's land and denies it independence -- cannot, even if it wants to, live on the values which it once espoused.
Israel will hold elections in the coming year. The date is not yet set, but that day is not far off. This will be a choice between continued occupation and the division of the land, between a binational structure and a democratic state with a solid Jewish majority. This will be an election that will influence the entire Jewish world. Of course, ultimately only citizens of Israel will vote and decide. It should be this way. But whoever decides to remain uninvolved, uninfluential, to look on from the sidelines, may find him or herself a partner in a decision which he or she vehemently opposes.
The entire Zionist enterprise is in danger right now, and history will not only judge those who caused this, but also those who were silent while it happened.
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