One Jewish State

In 920 bce the 10 northern tribes of Israelites revolted against Rehoboam, the successor to King Solomon, and established their own breakaway Kingdom called Israel.  The remaining tribes, Judah and Benjamin, retained Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Judah.  One difference supposedly between the two Kingdoms is that Judah (later called Judea by the Romans) was the more Orthodox in its Judaic practices than the Kingdom of Israel.   The Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 bce and the Kingdom of Judah was conquered in  625 bce by the Babylonians.  If they had stayed together maybe they might have fended off this piecemeal destruction.

In Israel today there are clearly two strands of Judaic culture, the majority of Jews living in the State of Israel, and the minority of settlers living in the territories of Judah and Samaria (Shomron) that constitute the so-called West Bank.  These “settlers,” for want of a better word, are the more religiously committed to resettling the whole of the original Land of Israel.  They are driven by this national fervor, and have established settlements, some that have grown into towns, such as Ariel and Etzion, and some that are small outposts that are inhabited by a few brave families.  They struggle not only for physical survival, but also are the focus of attacks by the surrounding Arabs, who often shoot them as they are driving.

It has seemed contradictory to many Jews and Israelis that Jews are not allowed to settle in the heartland of the ancient Jewish people, in Judah and Samaria.  There are two reasons for this, first the belief (especially of the Obama Administration) that any Jewish settlement will interfere with the establishment of a Palestine State as part of the two-state solution, and second because the Palestinians insist that any State they establish must be free of Jews (Judenrein, much like the Nazis).  It is therefore a great leap forward in this area that the future US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, newly appointed by Pres-elect Trump, has stated immediately that the  US will not support removing Jews from their Land, including these areas.  Any solution or resolution of the conflict that is forthcoming must include two aspects: 1. The Palestinian acceptance of Israel as the sovereign Jewish State and a cessation of violence, incitement and intimidation; 2. The acceptance by the Palestinians that Jews have the right to live throughout the Land of Israel, just as Arabs are allowed to live in Israel (20% of the population).

Currently in Israel there is a legal and political clash over the settlement of Amona, that the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled must be demolished on Dec 25 because is is built on private Palestinian land.  A Bill that was passed in a first reading in the Knesset seeks to ensure that such a situation will not recur.  However, in a difficult compromise between opposing factions this could not be extended to Amona itself without undermining the Supreme Court ruling. The Israeli Government, is trying to find a way to prevent a truly violent clash between the settlers and their supporters and the IDF, similar to what occurred when Jews were forcibly removed from Gaza under the Sharon policy of disengagement.  The Government is sovereign, not the Supreme Court, and presumably it can decide what is best for the country, rather than cause an irretrievable division between the State of Israel and the settlers of Judah and Samaria.   Perhaps the statement of the future US Ambassador on behalf of the Trump Administration has shown a way to avoid this divisive clash.



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