Israel is bad!
Its existence keeps reminding Muslims what a bunch of losers they are.
"There will be no peace until they will love their children more than they hate us."
'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel'
"Peace of us means the destruction of Israel.
We are preparing for an all out war, a war which will last for generations.
Throughout his authorized biography (Alan Hart, Arafat: terrorist or peace maker) Arafat asserts at least a dozen times: "The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel."
~ Yasser Arafat ~
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. For our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of Palestinian people, since Arab national interest demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism".
Q:Why is Israel a Jewish state? A:The State of Israel is a Jewish state, first and foremost, in view of the right of the Jewish people to a single independent state of their own, and by reason of the historic and biblical connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel). There is no other land in which the Jewish people can lay claim to their own independent sovereign state. There is no other state in which the Jewish people can fully carry out their lives in accordance to their own customs and beliefs, language and culture, goals and plans for their future.
Although for 2000 years, the Jewish people yearned and prayed for the day when they could reestablish their own national home, this right could be fulfilled only following the modern national reawakening of the Jewish people towards the end of the nineteenth century. This revival of Jewish nationalism led to the establishment of the Zionist movement. It received important initial recognition in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which stated that the British Government viewed "with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." That recognition was officially endorsed by the League of Nations, the precursor of the United Nations, in 1922.
On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181 calling for the termination of the British Mandate in Palestine, and the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in that territory. The idea - still valid today - is that there should be two nation states for two peoples. While the Jewish population celebrated this landmark resolution, the Arab countries rejected the UN decision and started a war to destroy the Jewish state-to-be. On 14 May 1948, David Ben Gurion declared the "establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel." In this way, the Jewish people finally could exercise their right to self-determination in their own land.
Israel was founded to provide a much-needed homeland for the Jewish people, who had been persecuted in other lands over the ages. The Declaration of Independence states explicitly that "The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles."
In accordance with its Declaration of Independence, the State of Israel was founded as a democratic state based upon the principles of the separation of powers, freedom, and complete equality before the law for all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, gender or nationality. These principles apply today.
As Israel is self-defined as both a Jewish and a democratic state, it guarantees the rights of its non-Jewish citizens. There is a large Arab minority in the State of Israel, constituting nearly 20 percent of its population. The Arab population of Israel enjoys full civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, religion and worship. They vote in Israel's elections and Arab representatives are elected to Israel's parliament. Israeli Arabs serve as judges, mayors, and civil servants. Currently an Arab-Israeli citizens serves as a government minister, a second is Deputy Foreign Minister. In addition to Hebrew, Arabic is an official language of the state. Although problems still exist with regards to the full integration of the Arab minority, particularly in the economic sphere, these problems are equivalent to those faced in many Western democracies with large minority populations.
Q:What is Zionism? A:Zionism is the movement for the reestablishment of the Jewish people's self-determination in their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. In many ways, Zionism can be considered the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.
The desire of the Jews to return to their homeland began nearly 2000 years ago. In 70 CE, the Romans destroyed the holy Temple and razed the city of Jerusalem, the religious and administrative capital of the Jewish people. This act of horrific destruction brought Jewish independence to an end, and in the decades that followed, most of the Jews of Israel were exiled. Only a small number stayed, so that throughout history, there has always been a Jewish presence in the Land of Israel.
Despite their exile, the vast majority of Jews never stopped hoping to return home, and these yearnings played an essential role in their prayer and literature. For example, at the end of the annual Passover meal, Jews all over the world repeat the vow "Next year in Jerusalem," and at Jewish weddings the groom recites "If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning" (Psalm 137).
The Jewish connection with the Land of Israel was not manifested in prayer alone. In the late nineteenth century, as national movements took shape in Europe and as antisemitism on that continent grew, an Austrian Jewish journalist, Theodor Herzl, began to organize the national movement of the Jewish people - the Zionist movement. The goal of Zionism was political: the establishment of an independent state for the Jewish people. The most natural place for this state was Zion, or the Land of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.
Herzl elaborated this vision in his book The Jewish State. He envisioned a developed, thriving country in which all inhabitants, Jews and non-Jews, would live in peace and tranquility. This vision and its fulfillment are Zionism.
Q:What does the Bible say about Jewish ties to the land of Israel? A:The Jews' link with the land of Israel and their love for it date back almost 4,000 years. Biblical accounts show God telling Abraham to leave his homeland, Ur Kasdim, and go "to a land that I will show thee." Abraham had such great faith and trust in God that he left his home and community, reassured by the divine promise, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.” (Genesis 12:3).
God promised Abraham that he and his descendants would inherit the land of Israel as an eternal possession. Biblically, Jewish rights to the land of Israel are eternal and unconditional not just a divine promise, but part of the very fabric of Creation.
Q:Who has the more legitimate claim to the Holy Land, Jews or Arabs? A:Palestinian claims to sovereignty over portions of Israel, and particularly over Jerusalem, are illegitimate not only in light of biblical history, but in light of centuries of history in the Common Era.
Jewish identification with the land of Israel goes back almost 4,000 years to the time when God told Abraham to leave his homeland of Ur Kasdim and go "to the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). Israel became a nation 2,000 years before the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE, and has had a continual presence in the Holy Land for many centuries.
The insistence that Jerusalem must be the capital of an independent Palestinian state is especially ludicrous. Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital since the time of King David. Even when Jordan occupied Jerusalem, it never sought to make it their capital. Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, but not once in the Koran. Muhammad never visited Jerusalem. The holy city is the rightful capital of the Jewish State.
In the modern era, it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of Arabs who fled Israel following Israeli independence were not forced out by Israelis, but left of their own accord or were encouraged to leave by Arab leaders who promised to purge the land of Jews. When this failed, these refugees were refused entry into neighboring Arab states which had created the problem by attacking the nascent state of Israel in the first place despite a vast territory into which they could have been settled.
Sadly, the world community as a whole has sided with the Arabs. The United Nations has issued hundreds of declarations against Israel, but is generally silent when Israelis are murdered and synagogues destroyed. Today, more than ever, Israel needs the support of its loyal friends.
Q:Why do Jews want to return to Israel? A:Israel is the biblical and historic homeland of the Jewish people their land of promise. We must remember that Jews did not leave the Holy Land willingly; the Diaspora (dispersion) by which the Jewish people were scattered to the ends of the earth was forced. Israel was invaded and Jews deported into exile by conquerors such as the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans. It was under the Roman general Titus in 70 CE that Jerusalem was razed and Israel effectively ceased to exist as a nation. Yet these cataclysmic events and the countless persecutions that have happened since have not stifled Jewish longing for a home in the Holy Land, nor negated God’s promise to bless Abraham and his offspring.
Q:did the Jews maintain their attachment to Israel throughout centuries of exile? A:To fulfill their vow never to forget the Promised Land during their exile, the Jews introduced the theme of Israel into virtually every aspect of daily life and routine. This enduring feeling of attachment to the land of Israel is beautifully expressed in the words of the Psalmist: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy." (Psalm 137:5-6)
To this day, Jews everywhere face toward Jerusalem when reciting their daily prayers. A prayer for return to Zion is part of the standard Jewish blessing over meals. The High Holy Days services and the Passover seder meal conclude with the fervent hope and promise of, "next year in Jerusalem!"
The restoration of Israel and the ingathering of the exiles are at the heart of all Jewish prayers for redemption and for the coming of the Messiah. Jews commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the exile from Jerusalem with an annual day of fasting and mourning. It is customary for the groom to break a glass with his right foot at the conclusion of a Jewish wedding to symbolize the destruction of the Temple. Through these customs and rituals, Jews demonstrate their trust in God's faithfulness and keep alive their hope of “returning to Zion.”
Q:What is the Gaza Strip? A:The Gaza Strip is a piece of land on the Mediterranean coast where Israel and Egypt meet. The vast majority of its people are Palestinian Arabs, including many who left Israel when the Jewish State was formed in 1948. At one time Egypt ruled the Gaza Strip, but it has been part of Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967.
The Arabs want Israel to surrender the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which they term the "occupied territories," to their control. But at this point, the future of the Gaza Strip is an open question.
Q:What is the West Bank? A:Geographically, the West Bank refers to the area west of the Jordan River, an area historically referred to as Judea and Samaria part of the biblical land of Israel. It comprises about 2,300 square miles and has a population of over a million people, most of whom are Palestinians.
Israel took over the West Bank during the Six Day War in 1967, and the region remains under Israeli control to this day. While some point to this as the source of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this simply belies the facts. From 1950 until 1967, Jordan occupied the West Bank, and yet there was no international outcry about “occupation,” or attempts to explain away Palestinian-Arab aggression as resulting from “despair” over being ruled by an occupying power.
In 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unveiled a plan to pull out of the West Bank, while retaining key settlements of strategic importance. Whatever happens, this region likely will remain a source of great tension between Jews and Palestinians.
Q:What is the origin of the Israeli flag? A:The flag of the State of Israel was largely the design of David Wolfsohn, who succeeded Theodor Herzl as president of the World Zionist Organization, a group that seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Israel that is secured under public law. The flag was introduced in 1891 as a symbol of the Zionist movement. Wolfsohn wanted to create a flag that would capture the essence of the problems faced by the Zionist movement and the Jewish people in the decades before the Jewish state was brought into being in 1948.
He decided to mirror the traditional design of the tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, represented by two blue bars on a white background. Placing the Star of David between the blue bars completed the symbolism of the Jewish people and their struggle for national identity. The flag that Wolfsohn designed was first displayed in Basel, Switzerland in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, and was officially adopted as the symbol of the State of Israel in 1948.
Q:What is the significance of praying at the Western Wall? A:The famous Western Wall in Jerusalem, sometimes referred to as the "Wailing Wall," is all that remains of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Roman armies under Titus in the siege of the year 70. Constructed of massive stones, it is nearly 150 feet long and derives its name from its original identity as the western wall of the Temple courtyard.
From 1947 to 1967, the area of Jerusalem in which the wall is located was under Arab control, and Jews were denied access to this holy place of Judaism. But Israel gained control of this area of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of 1967, opening the way for Jews from around the world to come to the Western Wall and pray.
The Western Wall is a powerful symbol of Jewish faith and unity. It is also a reminder of the suffering the Jewish people have undergone over the centuries, and of God's presence in the Temple.
Q:What does Israel mean to Jews today? A:There is something ineffable about our feelings toward Israel -- they can never be fully captured or articulated. Only the person who experiences this love and attachment can understand it. Eretz Yisrael, or Israel, is more than just the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants, the promised land at the very center and core of all Jewish beliefs and practices.
What does Israel mean to the contemporary Jew? It means that God has not abandoned His people, that He is true to His Word. Israel’s existence for over half a century gives us our very will and determination to continue the heritage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to go forward, through God’s provision, as Jews.
After the Holocaust and the loss of 6 million Jews, two million of them children, many Jews wondered whether it was possible to continue believing in God's covenant with Israel. Like Ezekiel overlooking the valley of Sheol, they stood in the ashes of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Treblinka and asked, "Can these dead dry bones live again?"
Then, a miracle occurred with the birth of the State of Israel in 1948. God breathed life into those bones and they came together, sinew to sinew, bone to bone. They took on flesh and spirit. They arose and were reborn in Jerusalem as the Lord comforted His people and redeemed Zion.
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -