Eliany, Gates of Welcome, Eliany’s painting project exhibited at Palais Glam Galas, Vienna

Elbaz, BenHaim, Cohen Gan, Eliany Jewish Moroccan Contemporary Artists:

Eliany in a group exhibit, Haela Artists Association

Philip Levy, Eroba Eroba, Une exposition d’ Eliany a Vienne et a Paris,

Artistic Merit and Craftsmanship in Moroccan Pottery

Artists – (U)

USQUÉ Chélomo (XVIes.). Marrane originaire du Portugal, installé à Venise. Poète, il est l’auteur de Esther, la plus ancienne pièce de théâtre écrite en espagnol (en collaboration avec Graziano Lévi) et jouée dans le ghetto de Venise. Il traduisit aussi en espagnol des sonnets de Pétrarque et rédigea des poésies en ita-lien.

USQUÉ Chémouèl (1530?-1596?). Marrane originaire du Portugal. Frère d’Abraham Usqué. Écrivain, il est l’auteur d’un poème lyrique inti-tulé Consolao as tribulaçoes de Israël (Consolation des tribulations d’Israël) qui se veut une réflexion sur l’histoire des tribulations des Juifs depuis la période biblique jusqu’à
l’Expulsion d’Espagne avec son système inquisitorial. Construit à partir d’un ensemble de témoignages et de chroniques de l’époque, ce livre fut interdit et l’auteur dut s’expatrier à nouveau.

UZAN Bernard (1945-). Originaire de Tunisie (Tunis) d’une famille livournaise, installé au Québec (Montréal). Après avoir travaillé dans le domaine du théâtre, il se tourna vers l’opéra et assura, à partir de 1988, la direction générale et artistique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Scénographe et metteur en scène de réputation internationale, il a signé la réalisation d’opéras au Québec, aux États-Unis et en Europe.

UZAN Koby Oz (XXes.). Originaire de Tunisie (Tunis), installé en Israël. Chanteur,
compositeur et musicien israélien, il est le fondateur du groupe Tipex qui fait une synthèse originale entre la musique orientale, la musique pop américaine

UZAN Michel (XXes.). Originaire de Tunisie. Écrivain, il est l’auteur de Entre les murs de Tunis et L’empreinte.

UZAN Sion (XIXe-XXes.). Originaire de Tunisie (Tunis). Imprimeur, éditeur et journaliste de la presse judéo-arabe, il fut le rédacteur de l’hebdomadaire Al Akhoua (La Fraternité); El-Estoua (L’Égalité); Al Moukhaber Atounsi (L’infor-mateur tunisien); Al Insania (L’Humanité) et L’Écho de l’Ariana. Il est aussi l’auteur d’un roman inspiré du folklore juif tunisien, Bin Hayot Tunis (Entre les murs de Tunis) et d’une étude Fêtes et solennité d’Israël.

The disenchantment of the Orient:A history of Orientalist Expertise in Israel

The disenchantment of the Orient:
A history of Orientalist Expertise in Israel
by Gil Eyal
2005, The Van Leer  Jerusalem Institute
Ha kibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House

Reviewed by Marc Eliany

Zionist aspirations aimed to transform Diaspora Jews into New  Jews. In this attempt, lines were drawn between Jews and Arabs.  An Arab like transformation provided early pioneers the looks and  language of Arab Palestinians as a way to shed the old Diaspora image, to wear  the image of local inhabitants that seemed to recall for them ancient Hebrew and  biblical images. It was, of course, only a superficial transformation, as the  same pioneers perceived local inhabitants as primitive rather than people to  look up to. The adoption of the external look as well as the modest lifestyle,  was a mean to cleanse oneself from the old Diaspora self to adopt a new Israeli  one.
Early pioneers also considered the Sephardic Jewish transformation, as  local Sephardic Jews were well integrated with the Arab Palestinian population,  as well as, symbolized the Golden Era of the Spanish Jewry, and thus provided  the potential to bridge between East and West as well as between Jews and  Arabs. But, local Sephardic Jews were not given the opportunity to fulfill the  bridging role, as it presented a threat to the hegemony of the early pioneers.   Early Zionists also looked at the inhabitant farmer as an icon of the ‘hidden Jew,’ perhaps descendent of the ancient Hebrews, who  stayed in Palestine in spite of exile and destruction to farm the land of his  ancestors.  This image provided early  pioneers with a model that brings them close to the land of Israel.
But the war of independence brought its own changes and exposed the pioneers to  a new reality, and the necessity to draw new distinction between Jews and  Arabs.
In the course of the war, local Arab inhabitants, who fled or were expelled,  became refugees. Some of these refugees, called infiltrators, tried to  come back and thus presented a threat to the newly established state. There were  also the local Arab inhabitants, now called Israeli Arabs, who presented also a  threat to the newly established state and had to be contained under military  rule until 1966. And finally the new immigrants from Arab countries, labeled  Orientals, who came from Arab countries and carried with them an Arabic image,  were also perceived as a threat. The new state of Israel attempted to establish  borders between itself and surrounding Arab influence.
In the Israeli attempt to draw lines between Jews and Arabs,  deserted Arab villages were plowed, so as not to leave any memory of their  existence.  New Development towns were  built in their place, to settle the outskirts, to claim a hold on the land as  well as to absorb new immigrants. The new towns were to serve as service centre  to moshavim  (cooperative villages) and  kibbutzim (collective villages). But the new towns failed to serve as service centers,  as moshavim and kibbutzim had their own a well developed system of purchases  and distribution. Further, the state as well as independent industrialists  opted for investments in the center rather than in remote outskirts for  economic reasons. Consequently, immigrants with skills as well as with small  families left the outskirts to settle in the center, which provided better opportunities,  leaving behind the unskilled and large families, mostly immigrant from Arab countries.  The new towns failed and became structurally disadvantaged, as well as, centers  of poverty, where ‘Oriental’ like culture evolved.
After the establishment of Israel, a number of organizations  specialized in dealing with local and out of state Arabs as well as with  Oriental Jews.  There was a competition  between the different groups of experts. These groups were closely associated  with military and political elites. They were to provide advice based on the accumulated  information; but in reality, it was to serve state interests. Thus, the advice  the experts gave was the result of a balance between supply and demand. The experts  adjusted their advice to the demand of the elite it served (p.157, 160).   Members of the centers of research remained closed to a  selected membership, even if research activities were of an academic nature,  such as at the Dayan center at Tel Aviv University. These centers thus  reflected a social hierarchy in which Oriental Jews served at low level  functions, while Arabs were left out (p. 168).
The leading discourse then remained in the hands of an elite, which held the  authority to interpret the ‘truth based on facts and evidence.’ Other parties,  i.e., Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, or Arabs, who attempted to  state any other interpretation, had to face up to an authoritative elite, which  reinforced and served the authority of the state.

Portuguese Jewry at the Stake, Studies on Jews and Crypto-Jews

   Portuguese  Jewry at the Stake, Studies on Jews and Crypto-Jews
Yom Tov Assis and Moises Orfali, eds.,
Jerusalem: The Hebrew  University, Magnes Press, 2009.   [Hebrew]
TEL: 972-2-6586659  FAX: 972-2-5660341 PO Box 39099, Jerusalem, Israel. 91380.

Reviewed by Marc Eliany

This is a pioneering effort to shed light on the history  of the Jews in Portugal and afterward as anusim (marranos, crypto-Jews). The  reader can read a selection of essays on hundreds of years of Portuguese Jewish  history and rabbinic works, the relocation of affluent and other Jews after the  1492 expulsion from Castille and other parts of Spain, the events surrounding  the 1496/7 Portuguese expulsion declaration and how it was not a forced eviction,  but a devious successful attempt at forced conversion to Catholicism, and a more in-depth look at the crypto-Jewish existence of  many of the New Christians. The book exposes some five generations or more of  crypto-Jewish life in Portugal, adversity for New Christians, their mostly  horrible fate in the Inquisition, migration of individuals to the colonies, and  struggles to escape Portugal and reach places like France, Antwerp, Amsterdam,  and elsewhere in the Low Lands.
Yom Tov Assis in his  sweeping essay on the history of Portuguese Jewry since the Muslim conquest and  later during the Catholic Reconquista, sites economic reasons for disdain of  Jews and not only the polemical background and religious reasons that Moshe  Orfali poignantly and extensively portrayed. Asis noted that the expulsion  order was prompted not only by the Spanish theological precedent and the  marriage of Portuguese King Manuel to Isabelle daughter of the Catholic Spanish  monarchy, but to avoid the Jews from exploring and exploiting the wealth in Goa  and elsewhere in India. While rabbis like Usque noted the rationale for the  expulsion degree stemming from Jewish secularization or unduly experimenting in  medicine and science, Asis presents the fear of the aristocracy and monarchy of  Jewish economic growth and the need to convert the Jews in order to seize their  economic assets, eliminate their continuing and future economic growth and  wealth, and need to make them fellow Catholics in order to utilize and exploit  their knowledge, talents, and ultimately transfer former Jewish economic assets  to the Catholic monarchy.
Former Jewish Castillian  New Christian refugees found refuge in Portugal after the 1391 riots and  returned to Judaism there. Six hundred Jewish affluent families found refuge in  Portugal after the 1492 expulsion.
As early as 1493, the new  Castillian Jewish refugees were blamed for causing a plague and anti-Jewish  violence erupted. Earthquakes were believed to be cause by anti-Christian  Jewish heresy, and Jews had to constantly be cautious not to irritate  Portuguese Catholic society. In 1504 there were anti-Jewish riots stemming from  the Jews being blamed for plagues and physical disasters. In 1505 during the  draught in Lisbon and plagues, anusim in Evora were attacked and the synagogue  in the city was destroyed.
Edgar Samuel explained that  already in 1493 King Jaio II wanted to turn most of the refugees into slaves  and in that year 2,000 children were taken into slavery. They were taken to Sao  Tome off the western African coast, most were killed, and all were converted.  Assis noted that children between the ages of 2 and 10 were caught and sent to  the islands of Sao Tome and Perdidas. He noted that many died en-route and at  sea.
When the Jews naively waited for  boats to arrive in Lisbon to take them to exile, none arrived and 20,000 Jews  were forced to convert.  Previously on Pessach 1497, Jewish children until  the age of 14 were taken away from their parents and baptized. Despite advice  from the Bishop of Silves and official Catholic doctrine against forced  conversion, the King was determined to convert the Jews and leave no Jewish  presence in the Kingdom. In 1499 it was forbidden for the New Christian to  migrate, and if men left for business, the women and children had to remain in  the country. Relaxation in conditions for New Christians occurred in 1502 when  inheritance privileges for New Christians were equal with those of Old  Christians. In territories that the King conquered in North Africa, Jews could  continue to live there and New Christians migrated there. Both groups  maintained cordial relations until the Inquisition was founded in 1536.
In 1506, some New  Christians were allowed to leave Portugal by order of monarchy, but most  remained and were trapped in the country.       In 1536 the Inquisition began and many anusim were  informed on by their own relatives or various elements throughout the  Portuguese Catholic society.
As early as 1482 the Jews  of Portugal were involved in printing their religious texts, and there was even  a printing press in Lerea. Some of the Jews involved in printing migrated to  the Ottoman Empire; like Don Gedalya who established the first printing press  in Salonika. Assis elaborates on the rich rabbinical tradition in Portugal from  the Abravanel, Hayoun, and Ibn Yehiya fmilies. Rabbi David Ben Yomtov Ibn Bliya  in the first half of the 14th century, a renaissance man prolific in  halacha, Bible, poetry, medicine, astrology, and translation from Latin to  Hebrew, published the thirteen volume Yesodot Hamaskil on the foundations of  Judaism. Members of the Negro family were renown paytanim.
Moshe Orfali presented an extensive  analysis about Christian polemics against the Jews in Portugal. Orfali pointed  out ambitious efforts of Catholic priests and theologians to confront Judaism,  active efforts through the generations to forcefully present polemics in  synagogues, and anti-Jewish polemics in the 16th and 17th  centuries. As far away as Goa, the Archhegemon and head Inquisitor Dom Gaspar  de Leao Pereira published a two volume work from Latin into Portuguese of  Heironymos de Santa Fe against the Jews. This was a response to the large  number of New Christians who flocked to such far away colonies to flee the  reign of Christianity, and efforts of the Catholic church to combat such  heresy.  Late 16th century “Dialogues” (theological  treatises) advocated conversion and expulsions of Jews and questioned the  authenticity of the conversions and beliefs of the new Christians. Due to the  mass conversion of Jews in Portugal, as opposed to Spain which previously had a  mixture of Jews and New Christians, the New Christian population was homogenous  and labeled by the general society as Jews. While the Portuguese New Christians  were baptized, they were regarded by the general Catholic society as strangers  and dangerous. Nonetheless the New Christians were seen as Jews guilty of  original sin for Jesus’ crucifixion. The Church and the polemicists had the  never ending task of eradicating heresy due to the former or hidden Jewish  influences; which could never be repaired by their baptism.  While  polemics inspired more polemics to a great extent the secret Judaizing New  Christian enclaves and communities strengthened their beliefs and formal and  informal communal structures and rituals for generations (even as many as 5-6  generations until they could escape to Western Europe, Italy, the Ottoman  Empire, and beyond. Orfali shows how polemical speeches and preaching fueled  the inter-communal debates much more than the polemical writings. The reader is  encouraged to consult the essay and further scholarship by Orfali to see the  depth of Portuguese polemic literature; which usually is overshadowed by  Inquisition proceedings and testimonies in the scholarly literature.
While research by the late Elias  Lipiner and Dov Stucynski has been reviewed here before and needs no  introduction to many of the readers of this monthly e-publication. The last  essay focused will be by Edgar Samuel on the Couriel family in the 16th  century. This study shows the Castillian and Portuguese roots of the family and  how they fared in Portugal as New Christians and in the Inquisition, and how  some succeeded to reach the Ottoman Empire and return to Judaism. Samuel shows  how the family left Avila and that David Couriel sold the Santa Scholistica  monastery several houses in the Jewish Quarter, and that they relocated to  Coimbra, Portugal. Most striking was their link to the royal court through  extramarital birth by Pokrinia of a son named Fernau Lorenco with Geronomo da  Saldinia, son of Don Diego da Saldina, who was Castillian ambassador in  Portugal and secretary to Doniya Joana, Princess of Asturias. Geronomo received  in Rome Portuguese citizenship from the King in 1496. eventually Fernam, a  physician, reached Istanbul and returned to Judaism with his wife and two sons,  was reported to the inquisition in 1560 and it was noted that he had a living  brother in Coimbra named Duarte Nunes who was a merchant. Initially the illegitimate  son Fernau Lorenco was baptized, but since many Jews who arrived from castile  were put in slavery, his mother Pokrinia was made a slave fo Geronomo, and only  released in 1495 when King Manuel ordered the liberation of the Castillian  Jewish slaves, and that the slave girls could return to their families. The  true identity of the mother of lorenco was not known and when the Jews  converted to Catholicism, they took new names. It is believed that Lorenco  comes from the Couriel family. Lorenco lived in Coimbra as a merchant and  married Pheliipa Nunes in 1533. Samuel elaborates local anti-Jewish processions  likr thr Corpus Christi where holy utrncils for the Host ceremony were  displayed, and where workers guilds marched and mimicked Jews dancing with Torah  scrolls aimed at insulting the New Christians. Samuel shows hundreds of years  of past family trees of Loreno’s ancestors from the Daza and Saldanha families.  He lays out Fernao Lourenco’s descendants for 3 geenrations, most notably from  the Nunes family. He extensively depicts 8 children of Duarte (son of Laurenco)  and Gracia Nunes. The seventh son, Diego Peres da Costa, took the name of Diego  Pires (after the false messiah Shlomo Molho who according to Samuel was burned  at the stake in Milan in 1533) and voyaged to Peru where he was a merchant.  Afterward to moved to Venico and Salona (near Split) returned to. Judaism as  Avraham (or Yaakov) Couriel and according to Samuel was the ancestor of the  Couriels from Split, and Dubrovnik, whose descndants later settled in Pisa,  Livorno, Venice, and Trieste in the 18th century. There are many  more details to read about those siblings and descendants who remained in  Portugal and who were detected in archives or Inquisition documents. Samuel  provided an insight to crypto-Jewish life amongst New Christians in 16th  century Portugal and their predicaments and highlights.
The book is recommended for  Hebrew readers in Jewish and Sephardic studies, and all those who want to track  Portuguese roots of the Western European and Ottoman Sephardim. Hopefully many  more such studies will be conducted and published.

Being Israeli – The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship

Book Review
M. Eliany

Being Israeli   The Dynamics of Multiple  Citizenship
Peld Y. and Shafir G.
2005 Tel Aviv University Press (Hebrew)
2002 Cambridge university Press (English)

Peled and Shafir is one of the most comprehensive reviews of  research dealing with integration processes through which Israel turn newcomers  into citizens. But beyond the valuable synthesis of research, they also offer a  critical analysis that sheds a new light on the ‘old elite’ through its  perennial transformation as well as its differential stratification impact on  the Israeli society.

Peled and Shafir claim that a settlement (colonialist)  policy characterized Labour Zionism and gave legitimacy to its social  integration policies until 1967. Thereafter, Labour declined as integration  policies could not be applied as effectively to a wider Palestinian population  without putting at risk the Jewish majority in Israel and without constraining  Israel’s participation in a liberal global market. Consequently, a political  struggle for hegemony between forces in favour of liberalization (individual  rights and universalism) and proponents of group rights (autonomy of Jews and  Moslem side by side or particularism) is now at play. Peled and Shafir tend to  attribute political instability in Israel to this struggle. They also suggest  that orthodox nationalists (i.e., settlers, read also as Mafdal party) together  with ‘Orientals,’ (i.e., orthodox ‘Oriental’ Jews, read also as Shass party)  are proponents of group rights, although they admit the failure of peace  negotiations and the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) led to a national  consensus among Jews of all camps on matters of group rights. Therefore the  liberalization discourse narrowed to the economic domain and no longer applies  to civil rights at large. Peled and Shafir propose that a resolution to  existing counter trends may arise from a simultaneous recognition of universal  individual civil, political and social rights along with particularistic  cultural rights to distinct groups or minorities. Such recognition would allow  groups to maintain their culture and use it to enhance their position in  society through the use of individual rights without undermining national  cohesion. In addition, Peled and Shafir believe that the state must invest  significant resources to elevate the culture of disadvantaged groups (i.e.,  Palestinians and ‘Oriental’ Jews) in a multi-cultural democratic context in  order to prevent the hierarchical stratification of the past.

Key findings
Peled and Shafir suggest that early Zionists had many good  intentions but a history of intentions if written, would ignore the complex  relations between intentions and deeds, and focus on real facts and deeds,  rather than the intentions behind them. (p.32).

The reality is that the law of return grants Jewish  immigrants rights that are not extended to Palestinian citizens and that  Palestinians remained under martial law from 1948-1966. Similarly, immigrants  of European origin received preferential access to national institutions in  comparison to those who came from non-European countries (p. 39).

Globalization dragged Israel into the adoption of liberal  policies, as well as into the peace process, which resulted in an accord with  Egypt as well as with the Palestinians (Oslo 1993). However, liberalization  came on the expense of social and civil rights as weaker social segments of the  Israeli society (Jews and Palestinians) suffered, turning them to ethnic and  religious organizations for comfort (p. 42).

Labor elite used socialist ideology to provide legitimacy to  hierarchical stratification and differential access to national institutions  from 1920 through 1977 in order to ensure nation building but also to hang on  to power and control of Jewish international resources. Social scientists  provided academic legitimacy to the same through 1990 (Eisenstadt and his  students – the Functionalists).  Overall  the basic theory was that Palestinians and Oriental Jewish immigrants benefit  from modernization and thus differential treatment is to their advantage.  However, as nation building came to fruition, stronger elements in the Israeli  society (previously perceived as a functional elite) demanded liberalization  (1985), which gave them even more advantages on the expense of disadvantaged  groups (Arabs, Oriental Jews, the poor and the religious) (p.44-51).

In general, Labour parties supported democracy but only as a  procedural matter. In reality, Labour undermined the development of voluntary  association networks, which provide the basis of real democracy. Israel thus  remains a particularistic democracy (Smooha calls it ‘ethnic democracy’) where  citizenship is based not on equal individual-rights but on unequal differential  group-rights (Smooha, 1983, 1993, 2000 and Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.51-53).

Privileged Pioneers

About 2 million Jews left behind poverty, oppression and  anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe between 1882-1914 for a better life elsewhere.  Most Jews immigrated to the Americas, South Africa and Western Europe. Less  than 3% settled in Palestine. The first wave of immigrants (1882-1903) bought  land and established farming communities relying on Arab Labour to a large  extent. They sought co-existence with local Arab communities. The second wave  of immigrants (1904-1914) came penniless, expecting their predecessors to  provide them with work. But first wave veterans preferred Arab labourers who  were cheaper, obedient and hard worker. Facing hardship, 90% of the second wave  immigrants left Palestine but those who stayed established a labour movement  and launched a struggle to conquer both labour and land on the expense of their  Arab competitors, causing thereby rising tensions.  Labour acquired leadership in ‘nation building’ but managed to do  so only due to the financial support of World Zionist Organizations. Although  Labour, like the old orthodox sector, both relied on financial support from  abroad to survive in Palestine, it acquired pioneer and leadership status as it  laid the organizational foundation for the absorption of subsequent waves of  immigrants.Subsequently, the Labour movement monopolized resources  received from world Jewry and aimed for nation building. It implemented a  policy of differential allocation of the same resources based on affiliation to  the labour movement and ethnic and religious proximity (i.e., Polish/Russian  first, then Hungarian and Romanian, then Orientals etc… while Arabs were  excluded  (Shafir 1989 and Peled and  Shafir, 2005: p.59-68).

The coalition between the  Labour movement and World Zionist Organizations was fruitful in term of nation  building as Labour provided the manpower and the infrastructure for absorption  of new immigrants while WZO provided financing to conquer both labour (avoda  ivrit) and land, while excluding local Arabs. Pioneer settlements and related  organizations were cooperative in character (kibbutz, moshav and covered a  variety of services from health to finance…), allowing the labour movement to  control both members and resources acquired from WZO. Further, land ownership  remained in national hands, except in urban areas where land was more expensive  and where private ownership was more prevalent. But the Labour movement’s  domination of most national resources was used not only to fulfill  nation-building objectives but also to control allocation of resources and  membership loyalty to enhance particularistic Labour parties’ interests,  undermining thereby universal principles of citizenship in the nation in the  making. Subsequently, the Labour movement constrained Israel’s democracy  through systematic allocation of privileges to loyal groups fostering thereby  dependence of individual members (Ram 1995; Shapira 1977 and Peled and Shafir,  2005: p.68-76).

From a strict economic point, WZO had limited success  attracting immigrants with private investment since profit considerations led  them elsewhere and those who did immigrate to Palestine between 1882-1903  (i.e., first wave) preferred hiring cheap labour (i.e., Arab labour) which  undermined early Zionist nation building objectives. Subsequently, WZO combined  with the Labour movement to subsidize labour as well as land in  order to establish a sheltered Jewish economy separated from the competitive  Arab one. Labour also controlled monetary funds from internal and external  resources as well as their allocation. In early phases, priority was given to  the agricultural sector. Around 1962, funds were directed to industrialization.  After 1967, following the French arms embargo, investments in the military  sector received priority. In general, investments in the local industry aimed  to reduce dependence on imports. This applied especially to the military  industry, which became and engine of economic development while offering new  opportunities in the civilian sector and export, especially in high tech in the  Eighties. Finally, as local production rose, pressures to liberalize monetary  funds controls increased and market forces weakened institutional and Labour  controls (Kleinman 1967 and Peled and Shafir, 2005: p. 76-84).

Civil and Social Rights

From the beginning the Labour movement was not interested in  philanthropic services, which characterized the old orthodox sector and  conceded them to other parties such as religious parties, the Joint and the  Jewish Agency. The Labour movement chose to focus on nation building by  providing and/or subsidizing services that would ensure a ‘European’ standard  of living in the areas of housing, employment and health to its members. It  used these services or privileges to increase its membership as well as its  political influence. Thus social services were reserved to Labour members  rather than to all citizens as universal rights  (Shalev 1992). Labour leaders also helped themselves from the  public purse. They considered this type of self-service as a deserved right and  on occasions when caught red-handed, they were forgiven on account of their  contribution to nation building (Shapira 1977 and Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.  84-88).

Labour nation building strategy proved effective in tying  immigrants to the land through subsidized social services. However, Labour’s  preferential treatment of its own members implied also the exclusion of  immigrants from North African and Middle Eastern countries, religious groups,  women, as well as Arab Palestinians. Thus, nation building became characterized  by an elitist and sectarian approach on the expense on real pluralism and  universal principles. Yet Labour managed to maintain its hegemony until 1977  because of its significant contribution to nation building.

Labour Zionism however appears to be a special case in  nation building. Some researchers noted its colonialist character although such  comparisons remain quite controversial. In reality, Jews, like other groups,  wished for the acquisition of civil and social rights in the context of  national sovereignty due to the influence of the French revolution and the rise  of nationalism. In addition, with the rise of nationalism in Europe, Jews  became subject to increasing pressures as a minority and more than they wanted  a solution for themselves in their own homeland, hosting nations wanted them  gone. The historical opportunity rose after WWI when the League of Nations  broke apart the old Empires to establish a new World Order in which sovereign  nations were the key building blocks. Thus, Jews were granted a homeland in  Palestine on both sides of the Jordan. Britain was given the mandate to  oversee the establishment of the Jewish homeland while the Jewish Agency was  meant to bring it to fruition but in reality the Labour movement led the way in  nation building while all other parties and organizations followed suit.  Unfortunately, the Labour movement failed to extend equal civil and social  rights beyond its membership; thus creating a stratified society in which non-European  immigrants, women and religious groups were assigned a lower status. Arab  Palestinians took an even lower level in the same hierarchy. Rather than  establishing a universal criterion for membership in the Israeli society,  Labour ranked higher its own members (Arendt 1973; Peled and Shafir, 2005:  p.89-98).


Differential treatment of Non-European Immigrants
In general, Jews of  European origin claim that because they were pioneers, they deserve to be at  the top of the Israeli social hierarchy. In the pioneers’ mind, Europeans Jews  provided Israel with quality while non-Europeans Jews supplied the quantity.  However, Jews of North African and Middle Eastern background always immigrated  to Palestine and constituted there about 10% of the pre-independence Jewish  population. In addition, a significant number of Yemenite Jews settled in  Palestine during the first and second wave (1880-1914). Yet, Jews of  non-European background were not included in the pioneer category and were  often discriminated against in terms of allocation of resources as well as  employment benefits. Furthermore, the Labour elite held an ‘Orientalist’ bias  in the sense that they feared the ‘Levantinization’ of Israel. They identified  Jews of North African and Middle Eastern background with an inferior Arab  culture and wished to make Israel a ‘European’ like nation. But faced with an  Arab demographic threat, the Labour pioneers decided to bring in Jews of North  African and Middle Eastern background to settle the periphery, provide cheap labour  as well as low level manpower to the army, in all likelihood because the  Holocaust dwindled the European Jewish population. This policy had dire  consequences as it differentiated between European and non-European Jews in  terms of access to economic and educational opportunities and widened the gap  between them further (Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.99-114).

Constraining the Political  Rights of North African and Middle Eastern Jews   Given that the share of  Jews of North African and Middle Eastern background in the general population  increased after the independence of Israel and given that equal political  rights were granted to all citizens at the formal level, one may ask why  non-European Jews did not make political gains in terms of representation. One  of the key observations appears to be that Jews of North African and Middle  Eastern background were constrained in terms of the use of their political  rights, as such use was perceived as divisive and therefore illegitimate. The  divisiveness argument was never used in the case of parties dominated by  European Jews. Under these circumstances, non-European Jews remained  under-represented and when represented – they were prevented from using  ‘ethnic’ considerations to advance their causes. Dejected, they turned first to  the Liberal Conservative parties (i.e., Likud) to punish the Labour parties and  when disappointed from the Liberal Conservatives, they turned to orthodox  parties (i.e., Shass) for comfort. But unfortunately, while voting for orthodox  parties may bring about improvements in the area of religious services, it is  not likely to advance the lot of non-European voters in the socio-economic  domains. Interestingly, so far North African and Middle Eastern Jews did not  adopt class or ethnic arguments to negate their spatial, economic, cultural and  educational exclusion and time will tell if gains made within mainstream  political parties in terms of representation will be translated into policies  to advance their causes (Peled and Shafir, 2005:p.114-123).

Differential treatment of Women
Social equality has been the declared ideology of the Labour Movement in Israel  in all matters related to women. However, Labour did not install institutional  structures and processes to make equality between the sexes real. As nation  building required both hard physical work and military involvement, women were  ranked according to their contribution to both domains; in other words, lower  than men. Women in Israel have been involved in the military more than  elsewhere in the world, yet they have not been exposed to front line battle  positions. Further, many are relieved from military duty to facilitate  marriage, care for children and bear as many of them as possible to win the  demographic battle.

In general, women have not fared as well as men in the  labour market. Many of the positions they occupy remain secondary both in  ranking and remuneration. They also remain at a disadvantage in orthodox  courts. In addition, they failed to translate their weight in the population  into electoral representation (hardly 10%). Further, they did not manage to  promote an agenda that favours women interests, mainly because attempts to do  so were labelled divisive and anti-patriotic, as was the case when Jews  originating from Arab countries made similar attempts (Safir 1991, Swirski  1991, Izreli 1997, Yishai 1997, Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.123-128).

Differential treatment of Orthodox non-Zionists and Orthodox  Nationalists
Orthodox Jews wish for national redemption to materialize in  the hands of a divine messenger and in the context of a national entity  respectful of Jewish law. Zionism, however, provides for the establishment of a  Jewish nation that is secular and thus non-conforming to orthodox  interpretations of Jewish law. These differences present a paradox for both  sides. Orthodox groups had to decide whether to support a Jewish but secular  entity, which engaged in bringing about national redemption. Orthodox groups  responded in a variety of ways. Pragmatist Zionists (i.e., Reines’  Hamizrahi) support Zionist’s initiatives as a life saving response to counter  threats for Jewish existence. They do not perceive Zionist secular initiatives  as a part of religious redemption. Orthodox nationalists (i.e.,  Kook’s Mafdal) grant support to Zionist‘s nation building as a preliminary step  to divine redemption. Orthodox objectionists (i.e., Agudat Israel)  object to the Zionist initiative but deal with it as a worldly political entity  and do so to advance religious interests. Orthodox antagonists reject  the Zionist initiative completely.

As Jewish orthodox groups provide historical and Biblical  legitimacy to nation building, Labour Zionism conceded to them civil and social  rights but also autonomy in matters of education, authority over marriage and  divorce, kashrut, Sabbath related laws, as well as, the privilege to define  ‘Who is Jewish.’ They were also granted exemption from military service, except  for Orthodox nationalists who serve in the Israeli army. The latter group  raises a potential problem since while their weight in the army increases;  there is a risk that they would opt to conform to rabbinic rather than military  authorities. Concessions to orthodox groups cost Israel dearly (about 3.5  billions per year, or a sum equivalent to the budget of 12 government  ministries).

Some have argued that Labour Zionists made concessions to  0rthodox groups as a necessity to form coalitions and maintain power (Cohen  1997a). However, Labour Zionism adopted its Jewish characteristics as a matter  of fact to legitimize itself as a national movement representing Jews all over  the world. This may be the main reason Labour Zionism makes concessions to  orthodox groups. Further, even when concessions were not needed, Labour  government adopted ‘Jewish studies’ in secular school to strengthen Jewish  identity. In light of this observation, it is of essence to inquire whether it  would be feasible to separate religion from the state in Israel and adopt civil  and social rights that are applied according to universal principles. Polarization  between religious and secular groups suggests that pressures are likely to lead  in the direction of a separation between the state and religion. However,  historical observations indicate that Israeli-Palestinian tensions (i.e., the  Intifada in 2000) tend to strengthen reliance on ethno-Jewish characteristics  to foster internal solidarity. Therefore, as long as Israeli-Palestinian  tensions remain in effect, it would be difficult to separate religion from the  state in order to adopt universal principles of citizenship. This of course has  implications for the place of the Palestinians in Israel.

Differential treatment of Palestinians


About one million Palestinians live in Israel, 17% of the  population. They live in the Galilee, the ‘Triangle’ where they constitute the  majority and in the Negev. (After 1967, Palestinians made the majority in Gaza  and the West Bank too). Military-rule (1948-1966) controlled Palestinians  entree into the Israeli labour market and facilitated their political  cooptation as well as land nationalization.

Land is the main dividing issue between Arabs and Jews in  Israel. Palestinians lost about 70% of their land through nationalization.  Israeli authorities control construction and land leasing on all nationalized  land. Palestinians are permitted to acquire only short leases (1-3 years). They  received low compensation for nationalized land and low water allocation for  agriculture (Lustick 1985; Haidar 1995).

Under the above condition, self-employment among  Palestinians decreased and dependence on Jewish employment, mainly low status  jobs, increased. Palestinians are hardly represented in high scale positions,  they get lower salaries and more of them live under the poverty line. The  Jewish and Arab education systems are separate until the end of high school.  The Palestinian education system received fewer resources and students’  achievements tend to be lower than in the Jewish sector. Consequently, lower  education resulted in limited employment opportunities and partial access to  social rights. (Peled and Shafir, 2005:p.139-156).

After the abolition of military rule in 1966, Palestinians  enjoyed equal civil and political rights on an official level. However, anyone  who does not serve in the Israeli army or does not contribute to Jewish  nation-building, finds his/her civil and/or social rights curtailed in one way  or anther. Thus a Jew who does not serve in the army may not have access to  certain categories of employment or housing subsidies… Such limitations apply  to Israeli Arabs with more vigour. Arab citizens are not permitted to form  parties that support hostilities towards Israel. Arab parties have not been  included in coalition governments, although some governments rely on their  votes to maintain a majority (i.e., Rabin re the Oslo agreement). Further, Arab  attempts to demand equalallocation of land (i.e., Ka’adan in Katsir)  and pro-Palestinian demonstrations (i.e., during the Second Intifada – 2000)  were interpreted as real threats to nation-building. Israeli police shot and  killed Israeli Palestinians and common Israelis reduced dealing with them (50%  decline of commerce). Given that real civil and social integration appears  difficult in light of Jewish nation building interests, Israeli Palestinians  have voiced the option of an ethnic autonomy within the context of ‘an ethnic  democracy’ (Lewin-Epstein and Samyonov 1993; Smooha 1997; Peled and Shafir,  2005: p. 156-170).

Expansion beyond the Green lines for Security

The 1967 war opened new-old frontiers to Israelis. Although  Israelis got used to a smaller Israel within the ‘green lines’, the occupation  of Gaza, the West Bank of the Jordan and the Golan Heights revived yearnings  for a Greater Israel, perhaps as large as the mandatory Palestine destined by  the League of Nations to be a home for the Jews on both sides of the Jordan.  Soon, the Labour elite resorted to the establishment of strategic settlements  along the Jordan River (Alon’s plan), in Gaza (Dayan’s plan) and finally in the  midst of Judea and Samaria (Galili’s plan) while the Golan Heights were  annexed. Interestingly, the occupation offered an opportunity to exchange land  for peace (Sadat offered such a deal in 1971 before the 1973 War) but the  Labour elite, dominated by activists with military background, opted for  hanging on to the occupied territories for security reasons. Security reasons  were brought to the forefront to legitimize the expansion of Israel beyond the  ‘green lines’ (Harris 1990; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p. 193-199).

Seeking Legitimacy in Biblical Inheritance and Messianic  Redemption

In the same way that the occupation of Gaza, the West Bank  of the Jordan and the Golan Heights revived yearnings for a Greater Israel for  security reasons among Labour Zionists, Orthodox nationalists perceived the  liberation of holy sites (Old Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria) as the  beginning of redemption (i.e., Kook’s thesis). Orthodox nationalists adopted  with fervour the duty to expand into territories beyond the ‘green lines.’  Their young generation educated in separate  orthodox nationalists schools funded by the state, however small, reclaimed a  ‘new pioneer’ status, providing renewed legitimacy to settling occupied  territories for Biblical and historical reasons as part of a religious national  redemption. For them, negotiated peace is secondary to a messianic and divine  redemption. As their actions indicate, i.e., settlements without government  approval and hostility towards Palestinians and secular Jews alike, religious  nationalists may pose a significant security challenge from within as well as a  threat to peace with Arab neighbours (Sandler 1981; Lustick 1988; Sprinzak  1991; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p. 199-207).

Expansion beyond the ‘Green Lines’

All Israeli government, whether Labour or Liberal-Conservative  led, supported the expansion beyond the green lines by providing security,  infrastructure development as well as subsidies that made living in the new  settlements worthwhile. Orthodox nationalists were the most visible and vocal  settlers, but even they could not enlist a large pool to thicken their  settlements. In reality, most of the settlers were not religious nationalists  but people of moderate views and income who sought cheaper and better quality  housing beyond the green lines but close to main urban conglomerations. Most  were motivated by economic considerations.
Most of the development beyond the green lines was financed on the expense of  development within, especially to the detriment of the periphery, i.e., the  Galilee and the Negev; in other words, to the disadvantage of immigrants from  North Africa and the Middle East who make the majority in the outskirts.  Objections to settlements beyond the green lines (about 200,000 around  Jerusalem and another 200,000 elsewhere) grew as their cost increased and  especially when Palestinians responded with increased violence (i.e., two  Intifadas). At this point, many Israelis began questioning the legitimacy of  occupation and its costs to the Israeli society and began considering peace as  an alternative to reliance military solutions and territorial expansion  (Benvenisti 1986a, 1986b; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p. 207-220).
Palestinian Resistance beyond the Green Lines

Israel expanded its territories to include Gaza, the West  Bank of Jordan and the Golan Heights to include the majority of the Palestinian  population by the end of the 1967 war. Soon after the war, the Labour  government considered immediate withdrawal to the 1967 borders in exchange of  peace as well as a proposal to grant Palestinians autonomy with a security  treaty and an open market with Israel. But these worthwhile proposals were set  aside in order to establish a military rule similar in nature to the one  imposed on Israeli Palestinians between 1948 and 1966. Its objectives were to  control Palestinian access to the Israeli labour market as well as  appropriation of as much Palestinian land as possible. To start Israel  appropriated all public land (about 30% of the occupied land, excluding the  Golan Height). It also permitted the purchase of private land in the occupied  territories by Israelis. Israel prohibited voluntary association but allowed  municipal elections under the old Jordanian rules, which privileged notables  (1972). However, election rules were reformed in 1976 to allow wider participation  to include women and the poor. Palestinians then elected a pro-PLO leadership  to displace the old notables as well as convey their dissatisfaction on  continued occupation. Subsequently, they made their intensions clearer in a  series of strikes which would turn later into violent rebellions, i.e., two  intifadas in 1987 and 2000 (Peretz 1986;Younis 2000, Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.  221-222; 228-232).

Resistance increased in all likelihood because Palestinians  observed how Israeli policies not only denied them autonomy but also resulted  in creeping appropriation of Palestinian land. Although Israelis claimed that  Palestinians benefit from occupation due to access to the Israeli labour  market, civil and social rights improvement and infrastructure development,  studies refute their assertions. The standard of living improved in Palestinian  territories only slightly in comparison to Syria and Jordan. Palestinians did  benefit from improved medical and judicial services, extended voting rights to  women and the poor, paid sick leaves as well as compensation upon dismissal and  abolition of the death penalty.  Yet,  Israel did not allow industrial development, and it constrained water  allocation to agriculture and employed only low paid labourers into Israel (30%  of equivalent salaries in Israel), while Palestinians contributed to the  Israeli economy taxes on labour and purchases as well as duties on imported  goods. Israeli importers who supplied the Palestinian market also benefited  from exclusive import privileges. In addition, educated and skilled  Palestinians working abroad also contributed to the local economy through  imports of foreign currency (Kleinman 1993; Bellisari 1994; Benvenisti 1990;  Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.222-228, 232-236).

Palestinian resistance began with complaints and occasional  protests but gathered force and turned into a full-scale rebellion (i.e.,  Intifada) when Palestinians realized that Israeli policies undermined their  hope for autonomy. Thus, in spite of prohibition of political association, a  network of associations geared to provide social and professional services  managed to formulate Palestinian demands of a political nature, stating clearly  a desire for independence, recognition of the PLO as a representative of the  Palestinian people, removal of economic development restrictions,  re-imbursement of taxes and duties collected by Israel, re-instatement of  municipal election and an end to military oppression. Although the rebellion  had economic consequences on the Palestinians, it had a significant impact on  Israelis too (increased military expenses, reduced exports to the occupied  territories, reduced tax revenues as well as a decline in tourism, or about  2.5% of the GNP). As the benefit associated with occupation declined, Israelis began  looking for alternative solutions, leading to the Oslo and Camp David  agreements. But these agreements failed due to divergence relating to  Jerusalem, settlements and refugees. Israel proposed to the Palestinians  sovereignty on Arab neighbourhoods in Eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple  Mount while keeping sovereignty in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem as well as  in all the newly built neighbourhoods around Jerusalem. Israel offered to keep  80% of the settlements, i.e., about 10% of the West Bank, including Jerusalem  and gave in exchange a strip of land to thicken the Gaza strip (equivalent to  about 3% of the West Bank). Israel was to keep settlements in the Jordan Valley  for 3-6 years for security reasons as well as a measure of confidence building.  A compromise was possible on the basis on the first two dividing issues but not  on the right of return of refugees (about 3.5 millions). The Palestinians  rejected Clinton’s bridging compromise, i.e., the return of 100,000 refugees to  Israel in the framework of family unification while the remaining refugees  would be compensated and resettled elsewhere with the help of the international  community. They also demanded territorial continuity between Jerusalem and the  West Bank as well as a return to the 1967 border elsewhere (Peretz 1990;  Lustick 1993a; Sontag 2001; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.236-250).

The Struggle for the Universalistic Character of Israel

One of the key problems Israel has faced since its  independence is its dependence on foreign Jewish resources originating from a  very generous and liberal Middle Class which stayed abroad and left the task of  nation building in the hands of a Labour movement, which failed to make a  transition from representation of narrow sectarian and/or party interests into  caring for universal national interests. Debates did take place as to what  should be the character of the underlying new nation’s institutions, i.e.,  whether they should be universal (i.e., Weizman and the Liberals) or sectarian  (i.e., Labour); but the Labour parties won because they controlled most of the  national resources before independence and used them post independence to hang  on to power. The debate went on within the Labour movement itself. Ben Gurion  did manage to establish a national army free of sectarian divisions. He tried  to do the same in the domain of education but had limited success because of  concessions made to the orthodox sector. Ben Gurion made another attempt to  lead Israel into universalism when he called for electoral reform in the early  60’s, but the Labour movement did not wish to relinquish its hold on power and  used national resources to maintain it by institutionalizing a system of  allocation of privileges which resulted in a stratified hierarchy. Labour made  generous concessions to the religious sector in order to maintain its  legitimacy in the eyes of the international Jewish community and thereby  continue to control the flow of external resources into Israel as well as their  differential allocation to suit its sectarian interests. The coalition between  Labour and orthodox sectors crippled the Liberal-Conservative movement and  delayed its growth until the mid-eighties, when Progressive Liberal parties  renewed their call for democratic, electoral and economic reform, in addition  to the separation of religion from the state and a peaceful solution to the  Israeli/Palestinian conflict (i.e., Shinuy, Dash, Rats). Often neglected but of  great significance is the shift in the voting pattern of immigrants from North  Africa and the Middle East, who elected a Liberal-Conservative government  (i.e., Likud) to ‘break’ the Labour system of allocation of resources which  disadvantaged them. This shift forced Labour to re-assess its platform (i.e.,  Mashov and Kfar Yarok circles), introducing into it elements of liberal  character, while weaning its labour union from its medical and industrial arms;  thus bringing about convergence across political camps around democratic and  economic reform. Another significant consequence of this convergence is the  reformulation of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict within an economic framework,  which led to the Oslo agreement. The most significant indication of the ongoing  process of convergence is the recent congregation around the political centre  (i.e., Kadima in 2006) (Torgovnik 1980; Corbin 1994; Peled and Shafir, 2005:  p.253-271).

Economic Liberalization and Peace

Interestingly, the re-assessment within Labour which led to  its disassociation from its industrial and medical arms coincide with the rise  of an increasingly independent business community, which happen to have also  intimate links to the Israeli military industry. This shift, however complex  and paradoxical, requires some explanation. One may inquire why the  disassociation of Labour from its industrial and medical arms became associated  with its detachment from commitments to social rights? In other words, why  members in the largely cooperative industrial complex did not get their share?  Or why the ‘new’ Israeli business elite which took over the Labour industrie,  became so intertwined with politics?(Lane 1998; Shalev 2000; Peled and Shafir,  2005: p.272-273).

It is of essence to recall that most national resources  (internal tax revenues and world Jewry sources) were used to subsidies the  agriculture, then labour intensive industries, then military industries and  then high tech industries most recently. Israel’s industrial development  coincides with its rising expenses on defence   (10% of the GNP before 1967 to 20% between 1967 and 1973 and to over 30%  after 1973). It evolved as a response to the French arms embargo as well as an  expanding global demand for arms. However with the peace treaty with Egypt  (1979) and the withdrawal from Lebanon (partial in 1987 and final in 2000) and  the decline in security expenses that followed (to about 10% of the GNP),  provided Israel with the occasion to shift from military to a sophisticated  civilian high tech industry. Israel then signed economic treaties with the  European community (1975) and the USA (1985) to facilitate its integration in  the world global economy. These markers also coincide with increasing economic  and political liberalization as well as with attempts to resolve the Israeli  Arab conflict peacefully. Around the same time, USA enticed Israel to liberalize  its economy by converting an arms related loan into a grant. This, in turn,  made the absorption of a massive Jewish immigration from Russia possible;  adding might to Israel’s economy. These developments facilitated changes in  hierarchical stratification too: the old Labour elite (mostly of European  origin) was able to move its control from the heavily subsidized Labour  industry, through heavily subsidized military industry into the hands of a  privileged group affiliated with it through privatization processes. This  transfer of wealth created a new economic elite, with a high concentration of  economic might. It also allowed for its mobility into an even higher position  in the hierarchical stratification system, making room for others to move up in  the hierarchy. Thus orthodox nationalists and Jews of North African and Middle  Eastern origin gained some mobility, filling political (i.e., Perets at the  head of Labour) and military positions (i.e, Mofaz as chief of staff in the  Israeli army), which lost shine in the meantime (Silver 1990; Levy 1997;  Barnett 1992; Grinberg 1991;Waldman 1991;Asa-El 1997; Peled and Shafir, 2005:  p.273-280; 288-296).

Opening the Financial Markets

Liberalization became possible due to a change in the  balance of power in the financial markets. Labour controlled most of the  financial resources before the rise of the Liberal-Conservatives (i.e., Likud)  to power in 1977. Thereafter, economic legislation changes reduced government  and Labour control of financial resources, making room for a stock market to  emerge, for a more open foreign currency market to evolve, as well as, for the  Central Bank of Israel to make effective monetary policy (i.e., control of  interest rates). Access to open financial market freed capital, professional and  educational resources from the old Labour controlled system, bringing about a  liberalization of the Israeli economy. (Contrary to widely held beliefs, a few  non-European Israelis played an important role in this liberalization process  (i.e., Gaon and Ben Ami in the case of Koor) along with the old European elite)  (Grinberg 1991; Razin and Sadka 1993; Gaon 1994a; Koor 1994; Peled and Shafir,  2005: p.280-288).

The Finance and Peace Connection

Investors prefer to operate in predictable financial  markets. They do not invest in war zones or unstable political countries.  Therefore, when the financial markets opened up in Israel, the business  community demanded a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Leaders  in the business community estimated that peace would open Arab and  international markets to Israeli investments and goods. They lobbied for a  peaceful settlement and laboured for the acceptance of the Oslo in the general  population. Subsequent to the Oslo agreement becoming public, they also established  Israeli-Palestinian business forums to enhance collaboration between Israelis  and Arabs. Gaon, Koor’s CEO, led the pack by establishing an office in Egypt as  well as signing a variety of commercial deals in Egypt and Morocco (Rossant  1989; Gaon 1993; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.288-304).

From a Subservient to an Autonomous Judicial System

Upon the declaration of independence in 1948, the Israeli  parliament decided not to adopt a constitution, mainly due to Ben Gurion’s  objection, as he wanted to give the state enough power to complete the task of  nation building. Israeli parliaments adopted ‘constitutional laws’ (hukey  yesod) which did not have any overriding power but were added to existing laws.  This system allowed for more power to the parliament and the government and a  weaker subservient judiciary.

Following the October War (1973) and Lebanon War (1982) as  well as the economic crisis (high rate of inflation) around the same time, a  group of intellectuals (mostly lawyers) called for a constitutional reform to  address Israel’s mounting problems and increasing corruption. They called for  the adoption of a constitution and a change from proportional elections to a  hybrid system that combines personal-regional and proportional elections.

Attempts to change the election system failed. Most analysts  suggest that the attempt to elect prime ministers directly (1996-2001) led to  increased political fragmentation as small parties gained power on the expense  of larger ones. Further, as party members elected parliament candidates in a  democratic contest (rather than through internal selection committees), party  control of its membership weakened (within the Labour party especially). As  these developments, which pointed to increasing opportunities for more democratic  and balanced representation, disappointed the larger parties which hoped for  more power consolidation in their hands rather than fragmentation, direct  elections of the prime minister were abandoned   (Hazan 1996, 1997a; 1997; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p. 309-312).

The call for constitutional reform resulted in the adoption  of two constitutional laws, which address human rights. These laws, considered  by some as ‘revolutionary,’ provided for the first time a legal foundation for  the protection of civil rights while constraining national rights due to  ‘security considerations’ or ‘ethnic/national interests.’ This change gave the  judicial system the opportunity to act as protector of civil rights and  weakened the institutional powers established by the Labour movement. Some  argue however that the empowerment of the judicial system could hardly be  attributed to the adoption of the new laws, as similar laws existed before then  and remain valid and that in reality it occurred due to ‘liberal activism’ by a  judiciary that has close ties to a privileged elite that is in the process of  losing power (i.e., see above – weakening of large parties etc…) and sought  protection behind a judicial veil. Thus, as long as the old elite controlled  most institutional powers, it used ‘security considerations’ or  ‘ethnic/national interests’ to maintain its privileges; but as soon as it began  losing its hold on national institutions, it sought cover behind non-elected  institutions such as the Central Bank and the Judicial System and civil rights.  This view gains some validity in light of recent interpretation of labour laws  (i.e., by Justice Barak), which indicate to a shift in favour of employers and  capitalists on the expense of employees. Another test of the so-called judicial  ‘revolution’ relates to the protection of civil rights of non-Jewish  Palestinians. Although Israeli courts appear to be more willing to offer some  protection to Palestinians (or non-religious Jews), ‘security considerations’  and ‘ethnic and Jewish national interests’ remain an important element in their  considerations  (Gross 1998; Lahav 1993;  Hirschl 2000a; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p. 305-309; 312-324).

Diluting Social Rights

Studies indicate that inequality has been increasing since  Israel’s independence. This trend is closely related to structural changes,  especially the liberalization of foreign exchange and the privatization  process. Government research also reports that income inequality, before and  after tax, is wider in Israel in comparison to other developed countries. Tax  reforms benefited high-income earners especially. In general, groups such as  North Africans, Middle Easterners, the orthodox and Palestinians are  disadvantaged as the weight of high tech professional requirements increase and  the need for low skilled jobs decreases as well as the decline of union  contracts and the rise of employment through agencies that do not offer social  benefits. Moreover, the percentage of families and children living in poverty  has been on a steady increase, reaching (22.4% and 31% respectively in 2004).  Interestingly, allocations to the elderly (who are mostly of European origin)  have been indexed to inflation while allocations to children (mostly of North  Africans and Middle Easterners background) have been reduced systematically.  (Palestinians did not get children benefits as they did not serve in the army,  until 1993 when this restriction was removed.) (Rosenhek and Shalev 2000; Peled  and Shafir, 2005: p.325-342).

Some researchers suggest that reductions in security  expenses (below 10% of GNP) would allow raising allocations to disadvantaged  groups (above 11% of GNP), but such an occurrence appear unlikely. Further,  trends in liberalization of the Israeli economy do not bode well for the  disadvantaged. Five families own 40% of the capital traded in the Tel Aviv  stock exchange! And while the income of Israeli managers is higher that their  colleagues in industrialized nations, the income of employees is lower and the  gap is increasing. Although most people living in poverty tend to be old people  or the unemployed, one third of the employee category are working poor. Thus  liberalization does not appear to bring much hope for the poor or the working  poor (Rosenhek and Shalev 2000; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.325-342).



As Taxation and employment do not seem to promise equal  access to citizenship, would education, health or housing services do?

Recent trends indicate that education, normally an  effective tool of mobility in industrialized societies, has not been effective  in reducing inequalities. Economic liberalization meant also privatization of  educational services and in other words less public allocations to education  and even less so to the disadvantaged. Thus, a process of differentiation  between the rich and poor has become more evident (some Israeli researchers  call it segregation, i.e., Swirski 1999). And in general, Israel educational  achievements regressed when compared to other industrialised nations (Swirski  1999; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.342-346).

Political affiliation determined access to health services before independence. As the labour movement had the largest combined  party and health membership (70%), it objected to nationalization of health  services. After independence, the state established complementary health  services (mostly to expecting mothers or mothers with young children as well as  to the mentally disabled) while subsidizing sectarian health services dominated  by the Labour movement. However, with the weakening of the Labour movement, the  nationalization of health services became possible (after 1973); but in  reality, a ‘nationalized privatization’ occurred, under which, existing  sectarian health organizations became ‘non-profit providers’ of health  services, financed partly by members and partly through taxes. In addition, new  legislation abolished employers’ contributions to health services, as part of  the liberalization process but did not oblige the state to cover the gap or any  deficits. Thus a divergence in health services occurred on the basis on the  ability to buy them. Citizens, who want services beyond the minimum provided by  the state through sectarian ‘non-profit providers’ of health services, must  purchase additional insurance. Further, a grey market has developed within the  ‘nationalized private’ health services in which citizens are obliged to pay  special fees to doctors to provide them with ‘private’ services within the  existing system. In other words, access to health services is subject to an  increasing process of privatization, which widens inequality in Israel  (Chernichovsky and Chinitz 1995; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.346-353).

Housing is another measure of equality in civil  societies. Housing ownership is one of the highest in the world (73%). The  state used it to tie newcomers to their new country, partly through subsidies  (i.e., conditional loans). The state also determined to a large extent access  to land and housing through ‘a policy of dispersion of the population.’ This  policy disadvantaged North Africans who were settled in the periphery (not only  in terms of property values but also in terms of limited opportunities in  education, employment and business).   However, in the course of the liberalization process, the state sought  to privatize land and housing by granting them to citizens who held them, but  not on an equitable or universal principle. Thus members of collectives and  cooperatives (i.e., kibbutz and moshav, mostly Europeans) stood to benefit  greatly from privatization but not so in the case of apartment holders in  development areas (mostly from North Africa and the Middle East). Objections  and protests did not seem to prevent the state from yet another display of  inequitable and differential allocation of resources. Consequently, rates of  ownership (80% among Europeans, 78% among Middle Easterners and 59% among North  Africans) as well as differences in the value of the properties held by the  same groups indicate as to differential access to social rights in Israel with  dire consequences for future generations. These conclusions apply even more so  to Israeli Palestinians whose access to subsidies is non-existent, in addition  to the fact that 70% of their land was nationalized (Lewin-Epstein, Elmelech  and Semyonov 1997; Kretzner 1990; Peled and Shafir, 2005: p.353-357).

To conclude, differential access to education, health  services and housing through liberalization processes reduced equality of  opportunity and thereby civil and social equity in Israel. Egalitarian social  objectives used in the discourse of the Labour movement can hardly be  acknowledged nowadays in Israel while universality of access to social and  civil rights has not been adopted in the process of liberalization.

The New Israelis – the Russians

About one million immigrants came to Israel from the former  Soviet Union, about 150,000 in the seventies and the rest in the nineties.  Israel made special efforts to absorb these immigrants. It agreed to re-settle  them within the 1967 borders as well as enter into peace negotiation with the  Palestinians. In exchange, United States limited the number of Jewish  immigrants it would accept (to redirect them to Israel) and gave a 10 billion  dollars loan guarantee to facilitated their absorption in Israel. Further,  Israel modified its definition of ‘Who is Jewish’ to include children and  grandchildren of Jews and well as their spouses to facilitate the absorption of  immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Israel within the framework of the  Law Of Return (although between 25% to 40% are not considered Jewish according  to orthodox rules). Moreover, Israel granted each family (up to 4) about  $10,000 on top of subsidized services which included Hebrew lessons, cheap  mortgages, employment grants and health insurance, among others benefits.

Immigrants from the former Soviet Union tend to have high  education as well as higher representation in professional categories such as  medicine and engineering. An effort was made to facilitate their absorption  within higher categories of employment in Israel, although it is estimated that  this group of immigrants lost about 10% in potential income due to employment  below their educational level.

This wave of immigration, like previous ones, was associated  with economic growth. It also coincided with a process of liberalization as  described earlier and in all likelihood contributed to it, i.e., widening the  definition of ‘Who is Jewish’ but also through increased competition in the  labour market and contribution to a decline of the average income of veteran  Israelis.

Until the arrival of immigrants from the former Soviet  Union, it was not considered acceptable for any Jewish ‘ethnic’ group to form a  distinct political party, so as to discourage divisiveness and foster national  cohesion. Yet, this group of immigrants managed to form ‘Russian’ parties and  win enough seat in the parliament to advance their interests as well as make a  difference in Israeli politics. It is now evident that previousefforts  to discourage ‘ethnic’ political formations, were not put to work in the case  of ‘Russian’ parties, mainly due preferential treatment of the latter. (It is  worthwhile to note here that orthodox parties of European Israelis were never  called ‘ethnic’ for the same reason. However, any party of immigrants of North  African or Middle Eastern origin was promptly labelled an ‘ethnic’ party, i.e.,  Shass, a religious party, which attracts many protest votes of non religious  voters, in all likelihood to de-legitimize them).

As might be expected,  widening the definition of ‘Who is Jewish’ and the absorption of a significant  number of immigrants of ‘doubtful’ Jewish origin revived divisions between  orthodox and non-orthodox Jews in Israel as to the characteristics of the  Jewish state. One may recall that Labour Zionists made concessions in this  regard to religious Jews in several ways (i.e., an orthodox definition of ‘Who  is a Jew,’ a sectarian education system, relief from army service and control  over marriage and divorce and burial services, among other related matters.)  However, as the dominance of the Labour movement weakened and as Israel engaged  in liberalization process, polarization between orthodox and non-orthodox  Israelis became increasingly evident. In this context, immigrants from the  former Soviet Union, added strength to the secular side and revived old  divisions and the need to address them as would be expected in a modern civil  society. Recent attempts to target Shass, an orthodox party whose voters tend  to be immigrants of North African or Middle Eastern origin, as the main culprit  behind objections to the inclusion of immigrants from the former Soviet Union  in ‘Jewish’ national registers (among other related matters), cannot be but  another illustration of differential treatment (by the state and the media). In  reality, orthodox and non-orthodox immigrants of North African or Middle  Eastern origin tend to be more accommodating than orthodox Jews of European  origin in matters of ‘Who is Jewish’ and related matters. They also tend to be  supportive of a peaceful settlement (i.e., rabbinical ruling stressing that  preservation of life precedes land sacredness). Thus, setting aside Shass and  immigrants of North African or Middle Eastern origin, immigrants from the  former Soviet Union only point to an underlying fault within the Jewish  international community at large in matters relating to ‘Who is Jewish.’  This matter needs a resolution within the  context of a modern civil society. So far, secular and reform Jews avoided a  rift within Judaism by making concessions to orthodox Jews (these concessions  were made before religious North African or Middle Eastern Jews became partners  to the Zionist enterprise). The question remains if Israelis and world Jewry  will be continue making concessions to appease the orthodox Jewry (Gitelman 1995;  Paltiel et al. 1997; Lustick 1999; Khanin 2000a; Peled and Shafir, 2005:  p.359-374).

The New Israelis – The Ethiopians


About 85,000 immigrants  from Ethiopia were brought to Israel in the Eighties and Nineties. They consist  of two groups: Beita Israel and Falashemura.   Beita Israel are considered ‘pre-rabbinic Jews’ as they practiced an  ancient form of Judaism based on the Torah. Falashemura are former Beita Israel  who adopted Christianity or intermarried with Christians. It should be noted  also that Ethiopian Christians have often voiced their association with  Judaism.  Contacts with Ethiopians of  Jewish origin have been established around the turn of the century but little  effort was made to encourage their immigration to Israel due to doubts about  their ‘Jewish-ness,’ dark skin and lack of resources (i.e., education). These  three characteristics proved a significant barrier to their integration in the  Israeli society.

Rabbinic authorities  demanded a symbolic conversion of Beita Israel and Falashemura members at first  but were forced to retreat due to strong resistance. As the Jewish-ness of  Ethiopian immigrants remains in doubt, it becomes a problem only when they wish  to inter-marry with other Jews who meet the orthodox definition of ‘ Who is a  Jew.’ At this intersection, rabbinic authorities refuse to offer marriage and  divorce services if there is no proof of conversion. Thus, Beita Israel and  Falashemura can marry within themselves or seek a non-rabbinic marriage but  face the problem of remaining outside of the orthodox definition of ‘Who is a  Jew’ for official registration purposes. In this sense, they face similar  problems that non-Jewish Russians face in Israel. But, in the case of the  Russian Jewry, state authorities did make exceptions to the orthodox definition  of ‘Who is a Jew’ by accepting children and grandchildren of Jews as well as  non-Jewish spouses of Jews for the application of the Law of Return. Immigrants  from Ethiopia did not benefit from this liberal treatment, (although an exception  may have been worked out in the course of 2006).

Beita Israel and  Falashemura still face other problems that set them aside and prevent their  integration in the Israeli society. Israelis fail to consider them for plain  labour jobs, even when they are needed to replace Palestinian or foreign  labourers (i.e., following the Intifada). State authorities are now making an  effort to convince Israelis to offer more employment to Beita Israel and  Falashemura members. As in dealing with immigrants from North Africa and the  Middle East, Israelis have yet to overcome tendencies to discriminate against  Beita Israel and Falashemura members not only due to doubts as to their  Jewish-ness but also due to their dark skin as well as fears that they may be  AIDS virus carriers!  (Kaplan and  Salamon 1988; Reiff 1997; Peled and Shafir, 2005:p.374-377).

The Other New Israelis –  Labour Migrants

Israeli employers relied  on cheap labour since the beginning of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine  under the Turks and the British and after independence too. Early settlers like  post independence Israeli employers preferred Arab labourers to Jews because  they were hard and disciplined workers who accepted lower pay. However, during  periods of increased immigration, efforts were made to substitute Arab  labourers with new Jewish immigrants. As Jewish employees tend to be more  protected by labour laws, Israeli employers necessarily preferr to substitute  them with other labourers who offer them more flexibility (i.e., seasonal  employment and dismissal with no legal complications…)

Importing foreign workers  before independence passed un-noticed, although there is no doubt that Jewish  settlers attracted Arab labourers from the neighbouring region during Turkish  and British rule. Labour Zionists made an effort to substitute Arab labourers  with Jewish employees and succeeded only when the latter was subsidized or when  Jewish settlers received an absorption package which included land and funds to  labour the land as well as housing, health and education services, in other  words a very elaborate subsidy package.

After independence, Israel  used military rule to limit access of Israeli Palestinian labourers to Israeli  labour markets until 1966. Israeli employers relied then on new Jewish  immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East to fulfill their needs. Labour  governments subsidized Jewish employers by offering them employment grants as  well as health insurance among other benefits. Similar policies were used to  encourage the employment of new immigrants from Russia.

However, Jewish labourers  tend to be more mobile. As soon as they adapt to the Israeli labour market and  acquire educational and occupational skills as well as economic resources, they  move to occupy better paying jobs or establish independent businesses and new  labourers are needed to replace them (always at the lower end of the employment  market). Thus Israelis relied on Israeli and non-Israeli Palestinians to  substitute Jewish immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East after 1967  and before restrictions were put on non-Israeli Palestinians due to their  uprising  (Intifada).   About 100,000 non-Israeli Palestinian  labourers worked in Israel in construction, farming, among other low paying  menial jobs. There must have been some illegal non-Israeli Palestinian  labourers too but it is difficult to estimate the exact number, as Palestinian  labourers often brought along relatives to work with them unofficially.

Following restrictions  imposed upon the employment of non-Israeli Palestinians, Israel became the  leading employer of foreign workers among industrialized nations. Estimates as  to the real numbers of labour migrants in Israel vary between 170000 to 330000.  Roughly speaking, for every legal migrant labourer, there is another illegal  one.   Labour migrants are  usually employed through agencies. They are employed in construction (East  Europeans, i.e., Romanians), farming (Orientals, i.e., Chinese and Thai) and  assistance to elderly in need of help (Orientals, i.e., Philippines).

Most of the jobs occupied  by Palestinians and migrants are subject to seasonality and are associated with  low pay (40% of the average salary paid to Israelis) and low status (i.e.,  labour that other Israelis won’t do!) Israeli employers have a strong economic  interest in keeping a steady supply of foreign workers but official authorities  seem reluctant to do so due to demographic and citizenship implications (i.e.,  weakening the Jewish majority).

While most Palestinian  labourers return (or returned) home following completion of employment, an  increasing number of foreign labour migrants opt to stay in Israel illegally  and thus present a residency and citizenship status problem that needs to be  addressed. Israel signed treaties that require fair treatment of migrant  workers but evidence as to abuses by employers are widespread and authorities  have hardly devoted any resources to curb them. Further, Israeli authorities  have not made a serious effort to provide health or educational services to  these groups intentionally in order to discourage long-term residency, although  they imposed a special tax (8%) on employers to cover such services. Meanwhile,  efforts to expel illegal foreign workers are increasing. However, foreign  workers have organized and are now working with Israeli civil rights  organizations to force Israel to legitimize their status and develop  integration policies. The question remains if existing liberalization processes  in Israel would be applied to foreign workers as expected by universal human  rights standards and international law   (Bartram 1998; Reiff  1997;Kemp et. al., 2000; Peled and Shafir, 2005:p.378-390).


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The Jews as Viewed by Others!

Some   people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact   that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable   race which has appeared in the world.  Winston   Churchill

“The   Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire,   and has illumined with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring,   and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs   and their religions.”  Leo   Tolstoy

“It was in vain that   we locked them up for several hundred years behind the walls of the Ghetto. No   sooner were their prison gates unbarred than they easily caught up with us, even   on those paths which we opened up without their aid.” A. A. Leroy   Beaulieu,    1842

“The   Jew gave us the Outside and the Inside – our outlook and our inner life. We can   hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream   Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact – new,   adventure, surprise, unique, individual, person, vocation, time, history,   future, freedom, progress, spirit, faith, hope, justice – are the gifts of the   Jews.” Thomas Cahill, Irish   Author

“One of the gifts of   the Jewish culture to Christianity is that it has taught Christians to think   like Jews, and any modern man who has not learned to think as though he were a   Jew can hardly be said to have learned to think at all.” William   Rees-Mogg, former Editor-in-Chief for The Times of London and a member of the House of   Lords

“It is certain that   in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar people, separated from the   other peoples of the world and this is called the Jewish people…                          This   people is not only of remarkable antiquity but has also lasted for a singular   long time… For whereas the people of Greece and Italy, of Sparta, Athens and   Rome and others who came so much later have perished so long ago, these still   exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful kings who have tried a hundred   times to wipe them out, as their historians testify, and as can easily be judged   by the natural order of things over such a long spell of years. They have always   been preserved, however, and their preservation was foretold… My encounter   with this people amazes me…”  Blaise Pascal, French   Mathematician

“The Jewish   vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both   divine and man made. The Jews, therefore, stand at the center of the perennial   attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose.” Paul Johnson,   American   Historian

“As   long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will   come to Israel for inspiration as to the people who had the sense for righteousness most   glowing and strongest.” Matthew Arnold, British poet and   critic

“Indeed  it is   difficult for all other nations of the world to live in the presence of the   Jews. It is irritating and most uncomfortable. The Jews embarrass the world as   they have done things which are beyond the imaginable. They have become moral   strangers since the day their forefather, Abraham, introduced the world to high   ethical standards and to the fear of Heaven. They brought the world the Ten   Commandments, which many nations prefer to defy. They violated the rules of   history by staying alive, totally at odds with common sense and historical   evidence. They outlived all their former enemies, including vast empires such as   the Romans and the Greeks.  They angered the world with their return to their   homeland after 2000 years of exile and after the murder of six million of their   brothers and sisters.
They aggravated mankind by building, in the wink   of an eye, a democratic State which others were not able to create in even   hundreds of years. They built living monuments such as the duty to be holy and   the privilege to serve one’s fellow men.                          They had their hands in every   human progressive endeavor, whether in science, medicine, psychology or any   other discipline, while totally out of proportion to their actual numbers. They   gave the world the Bible and even their “savior.”                          Jews taught the world   not to accept the world as it is, but to transform it, yet  only a few nations   wanted to listen. Moreover, the Jews introduced the world to one God, yet only a   minority wanted to draw the moral consequences. So the nations of the world   realize that they would have been lost without the   Jews…
And   while their subconscious  tries to remind them of how much of Western   civilization is framed in terms of concepts first articulated by the Jews, they   do  anything to suppress it.
They deny that Jews remind them of a higher   purpose of life and the need to be honorable, and do anything to escape its   consequences. It is simply too much to  handle for them, too embarrassing to   admit, and above all, too difficult to live by.                    So the nations of the   world decided once again to go out of ‘their’ way in order to find a stick to   hit the Jews. The goal: to prove that Jews are as immoral and guilty of massacre   and genocide as some of they themselves are.
All this in  order to hide   and justify their own failure to even protest when six million Jews were brought   to the slaughterhouses of Auschwitz and Dachau; so as to wipe out the moral   conscience of which the Jews remind them, and they found a   stick.                    Nothing could be more gratifying for them than to find the Jews   in a struggle with another people (who are completely terrorized by  their own   leaders) against whom the Jews, against their best wishes, have to defend   themselves in order to survive. With great satisfaction, the world allows and   initiates the rewriting of history so as to fuel the rage of yet another people   against the Jews. This in spite of the fact that the nations understand very   well that peace between the parties could have come a long time ago, if only the   Jews would have had a fair chance. Instead, they happily jumped on the wagon of   hate so as to justify their jealousy of the Jews and their incompetence to deal   with their own moral issues.
When Jews look at the bizarre play taking   place in The Hague, they can only smile as this artificial game once more proves   how the world paradoxically admits the Jews uniqueness. It is in their need to   undermine the Jews that they actually raise them.                    The study of history   of Europe during the past centuries teaches us one uniform lesson: That the   nations which received and in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew   have prospered; and that the nations that have tortured and oppressed them have   written out their own curse.” Olive Schreiner, South African novelist   and social   activist

“If there   is any honor in all the world that I should like, it would be to be an honorary   Jewish citizen.” A.L Rowse, authority on Shakespeare

A Brief History of the Jews

A Brief History of the Jews
Marc Eliany* (c) All Rights Reserved

Part 1: The Israelites

The Hebrews

The history of the Jews begins with Abraham the patriarch leaving Ur (at the time of Ur Nammu, the king and legislator, about 2000 BCE) to Haran, Canaan, Egypt, finally settling in Hebron, where he purchased a tract of land used as a burial place for him and his family (the Cave of Machpelah).

Hebron was a shrine for the descendents of Abraham for many years. King David was anointed there. But when Jerusalem fell, Edom, Greece, Rome, Arabs, Franks and Mamluks settled it, each leaving behind its mark, especially Heron the Great (a wall enclosure) and Saladin (a pulpit).

Abraham did not take Hebron by force. He acquired land rights for a price and contractual agreement with Ephron the Hittite. Abraham distinguished himself from his neighbors through association with an omnipotent God, mythical figures committed to do right on earth (i.e., Adam, Shem the priest and Noah, the righteous, who built an ark to save humanity from extinction) as well as a conception of right and wrong. Abraham stood out as a just man, concerned for his fellow men, like his ancestors. He was shy of war and hospitable to strangers but put in a historical context, Abraham was a leader of a cultivated tribe, one of many Habiru (Hebrew) tribes that migrated for economical reasons from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean, to earn a living as merchants or to work in the services of local kings. He was versed with contract making and his relation to God was contractual in nature: an exchange of land, fertility (offspring) and blessed universality (in thy seeds shall all the nations be blessed) for loyalty. Disobedience implies a loss of privileges even if God’s promise stands forever.

Jacob Israel

By the time of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, the Hebrew tribes acquired a sense of belonging to the land of Canaan and their identity crystallized around a common ancestry, with Jacob at its core. Jacob was the man who did right with God to re-name himself and his people – Israel. Around this time, Shechem (near ancient Vespasian Neapolis, 72 CE, nowadays Nablus) was already a capital city of the Hebrews and although some of the tribes lived in Egypt and wandered around Canaan, they clearly identified Canaan as an ancestral land they could return to, that is the Land of Israel.

Joseph and Moses

Hebrews lived in Egypt since the days of Abraham. They were foreign workers who occasionally reached leadership positions. One of the most distinguished Hebrews to achieve prominence in Egypt was Joseph, an able administrator and visionary, a model for generations of Jews in foreign lands thereafter. But alas, the fate of foreign workers has always been precarious and during the reign of Rameses II (1304-1237 BCE), oppression drove the Hebrews to emigration and even to revolt during the reign of Merneptah (1220 BCE). Moses, a spiritual man, lawmaker and judge, led the Exodus that marked the memory of the Hebrew tribes to such an extent that it transformed them into the nation of Israel. Moses did not only change the fate of the Israelites, he transformed the ancient world too, for according to ancient observers, he re-invented the concept of law, making it entirely novel and something for subsequent civilizations to adopt.

Moses’ Code regulates a definition of God as an infinite concept associated with ethical principles, equality before the law, the sanctity of human life and the human body (man created in the image of God), rest (Sabbath and holidays), sexual behavior (ban of irregular forms of sex, i.e., bestiality as well as consanguinity), hygiene (i.e., leprosy and circumcision) and dietary laws (consumption of ruminants and prohibition of animals harboring parasitic organisms).

Joshua, Judges, Kings and Prophets

Joshua took over the leadership from Moses and led the conquest of Canaan through reinforcement of existing Israelite settlements (i.e., Shechem), alliances and negotiated surrenders (i.e., Gibeon) but also forceful invasion (i.e., Kadesh, Jericho, Hazor). A full-scale conquest may have been delayed due to entrenched equality, tribal divisiveness and resistance to central authority. After Joshua’s death, the conquest of Canaan was led by judges through ad hoc military tribal coalitions and was consolidated only when all tribes united in one kingdom (1200-925 BCE).

Leadership at this time was set in a democratic theocracy and was earned through blessed merit and hard work (i.e., Ehud, Deborah, Jephthah, Samson, Saul, David,1005-966 BCE). Prophets, who emphasized ethical conduct rather than rituals and temporal power, admonished priests, military and political leaders, who, worked side-by-side during this period. The emphasis on ethical conduct created perennial tensions between heavenly and temporal powers, which remain till our days.

King David brought all the Israelites under central rule, making Jerusalem a national capital but tribal resistance persisted (i.e., we have no part in David… Every man to his tent, O Israel). David solidified Israel’s economy by controlling regional trade routes and contained the Philistines and Canaanites as well as established authority over other neighbors (i.e., Ammon, Edom, Moab, Aram). King Solomon consolidated his father’s gains but proved less sensitive to tribal pride and religious ethics. Solomon taxed the Israelites heavily to build a strong army to maintain Israel’s unity and regional status. He also intertwined diplomacy and trade to enrich Israel’s economy and to finance ambitious building projects (i.e., temples and palaces) but in the process, he sacrificed the old ethics that held the Israelites together. Solomon’s kingdom broke into Israel and Judea after his death (925 BCE), exposing both to dangers as empires rose (Babylon and Assyria).

Politics among the Israelites have been dominated by righteousness since the days of Abraham. Moses inscribed righteousness into law, prophets watched over its application, rebuking kings when deviating from it.

Israel benefited from the separation from Judea. The economy improved due to an alliance with sea trading Sidon, under Omri, Ahab and Jehu but the gap between rich and poor and paganism increased and prophets’ appeals for redress did not help (i.e., Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea). By 722 BCE, internal tensions and external Assyrian oppression brought upon Israel destruction, deportation and assimilation (i.e., the lost tribes of Israel).

Judaism survived in Judea for a while longer. Jerusalem reformed it-self (Jehoiada, Hezekiah, Josiah) and re-kindled hopes that repentance can re-establish social justice and even bring universal peace on earth (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch). Babylon rose to master the Middle East and capture Jerusalem (597 BCE). But destruction no longer mattered because Judaism was reformed to thrive in adversity, breaking through national barriers to spread a universal message to humanity.

Part 2: Judaism

After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews dispersed in the old world (597 BCE). Without state or government, law and history defined Jewish identity. Circumcision, rules of cleanliness, the Sabbath and the holidays (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacle, New Year and the Day of Atonement) defined their rituals. But Judaism was more than rituals and when scribes recorded its essence in legal terms, people learned it and adhered to it of their own free will.

With the rise of the Persian Empire, Babylonian Jews were given the opportunity to return to their homeland to rebuild Jerusalem but most stayed behind in the Diaspora. Life in the Persian Empire was comfortable; yet, some returned to Jerusalem (Shenazar, Zerubabel, Ezra and Nehemiah) to rebuild it (538-445 BCE), in spite of forceful objections by the local population (local inhabitants mixed with deportees brought in by Assyrians, i.e., Samaritans).

Ezra and Nehemiah re-edited the Mosaic Law and although most Jews remained in the Diaspora, scribal and educational practices preserved Judaism. The Jews were the first to create a substantive record of law, legends and history and attribute it to a divine power, although its main actors are human beings (albeit born the image of God). The Pentateuch or the Torah was canonized first around 622 BCE. The remaining books of the Bible were added gradually and sealed around 300 BCE. But there are also well known exclusions (Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Ben Sirah, the books of Daniel, Judith, Tobit, Baruch, the Maccabees and Josephus as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls). Subsequently, much has been written to explain, elaborate and adapt previous records to contemporary times but transcending them all, is the question of moral order to which human beings are to abide.

Alexander of Macedon cracked the Persian Empire to expose the Jews to Greek rule and culture (332-200 BCE). Purist, as usual, retreated to the desert to re-group before purging Judaism from Greek culture, but most Jews, especially in the Diaspora, adopted Hellenism and the affluence it brought. Jewish elites were quite willing to pay their dues and taxes to Greek rulers as long as they were given the freedom to practice their own religion. Some even attempted to reform Judaism to fit the Greek era (i.e., Jason 175 BCE and Menelaus 167 BCE). But when Antiochus, the Greek ruler and his reformist allies attempted to speed up the process of Hellenization, they met stiff resistance. Traditionalists (the Hassidim) led by a priesthood family (the Hasmoneans) assaulted reformists and launched a guerrilla war on the Greek occupiers (166 BCE), drove them out of Jerusalem (Hannukah, 164 BCE) and signed a treaty with Rome (161 BCE). By 152 BCE, when the Greeks realized they could not crush the revolt, they recognized Jonathan the Maccabee as high priest, conceding independence to Judea thereafter (142 BCE).

The Hasmoneans joined priesthood and government to rule 115 years. Their success was timed by the decline of the Greek Empire and the rise of Rome and their failure was characterized by a strict interpretation of the Mosaic Law (a Sadducean approach) and by their attempt to impose it on Jews and conquered neighbors alike. For Herod the Great (63-4 BCE), the son of an Idumean convert and powerful minister who married into the Hasmoneans, turned Judea into Roman client state. Judea (2.5 million inhabitants) thrived under Herod’s rule and the Jewish Diaspora (another 5.5 million) flourished in the Roman Empire. But, due to Herod’s paranoia and systematic killing of able successors, none of his heirs proved able to rule Judea after his death. Therefore governance reverted to Roman procurators. Thus Judea lost its autonomy till its resurrection in 1948 CE. From Herod’s death to the fall of Jerusalem (4 BCE- 70 CE), Roman governance of Judea failed miserably. Most procurators, tax collectors, civil servants and merchants were Greeks, who despised Jews (i.e., anti-Jewish literature thrived) and robbed them (i.e., raids on the Temple were common), pushing them into a rebellion.

The encounter with the Roman and Greek civilizations, exposed Judaism to internal as well as external pressures. The Hasmonean Sadducees, who like the Hellenist reformists before, combined priesthood and government, failed to sway the masses into their fold, partly because they were perceived as an oppressing elite associated with foreign oppressors, while, traditionalists (i.e., the Pharisees) although stripped of power, won the battle over the character of Judaism by anchoring it in a popular education system associated with synagogues in which Torah is learnt as interpreted by scribes and teachers. But, there were the sages (i.e., Hachamim) who sought to spread righteousness at large and marginal groups (i.e., Essenes), who lived in remote areas and yearned for change, i.e., the establishment of a free and just society. Yet most opted for peaceful existence even under the rule of foreign powers.

The Rise of Christianity

Jesus was only one of the sages who participated in the ongoing debate on the essence of Judaism; but unlike others, he challenged the priesthood, the Sanhedrin and conservative interpretations of the Mosaic Law and because he gathered an important following and became associated with a rebellion in the making, he was referred to Roman authorities and was crucified.

Jesus exposed the fault line of Judaism: a perennial struggle over its moral and universalistic character. Jesus disciples understood his message and spread it in the form of a New Covenant (i.e., Christianity). Stripped of circumcision, diet, cleanliness and holiday rules, the reformation of Judaism in Christianity became more appealing to Gentiles as well as to Diaspora Jews. This transformation was in all likelihood an attempt of Jews to dull differences between themselves and their neighbors but hostilities towards Jews did not diminish. Anti-Jewish literature thrived (i.e., Manetho through Tacitus).

In light of failure of the transformation of Judaism into Christianity to dull Greek and Roman hostilities towards Jews, it is entirely plausible that religious differences were not the primary cause of the rebellion and that economic reasons played an important role (i.e., economic oppression).

During the first century, Judaism spread in the Roman Empire (one or more of the Flavian Emperors courted with Judaism). It is clear that the Jewish establishment and most Jews knew they could not afford a rebellion against Rome and objected to it (i.e., handing rebels to Romans) but increasing abuses by Roman procurators and Greek cronies tipped the balance in favor of extremists (i.e., Zealots, 66-70 CE). Later, when Emperor Hadrian turned the ruins of Jerusalem into a Roman temple, the Jews rebelled again (Bar Kokhba 132-135 CE). The rebellion was crushed, Judea was laid to waste and its Jews were dispersed as slaves in the Roman Empire.

In the beginning, Christianity hardly differed from Judaism. Diaspora Jews were the principal Christian converts. But, when Christians insisted on the divine character of Jesus, the rift became final. Soon a war of words superimposed Christian argumentation with anti-Jewish literature, turning it into a potent engine of hatred.

The Rise of Rabbinical Judaism

Powerless and increasingly marginalized, Jews withdrew into an introspective mode to derive from their collective memory a system of ethics and self-regulation to endure centuries of hatred and oppression. Johanan Ben Zakay led the canonization of the Bible and learning became the criteria to merit community leadership (i.e., rabbinical accreditation). Successive generations of learned sages redefined Judaism in Palestine (Javneh, Usha, Bet Shearim, Caesarea, Tiberias and Lydda) as well as in the Diaspora (i.e., Sura and Pumbedita in Babylon) and elsewhere, documenting oral traditions, using interpretation (midrash), legal rulings (halakha) and legends (haggadah) to compose the Mishnah (Tannaim, second century), the Jerusalem Talmud (fourth century), the Babylonian Talmud (Amoraim, fifth century), commentaries (Geonim, 5th-11th century, rabbanim, 12th-15th centuries, Akharonim, 16th-18th century).

Jewish ethics stressed: the sanctity of life, equality among all men, freedom, the rule of majority, the acknowledgement of submissive dissidence, individual and social responsibility in paying taxes, making charity and respecting neighbors, law application to enhance justice but also to promote repentance, atonement, forgiveness, social harmony and peace. (Judaism renounced righteous violence since 135 CE (till the Holocaust revived it), because promoting peace is more importance than doing justice).

Part 3: The Rule of Scholarship

As Christianity spread in the Roman Empire (Emperor Constantine adopted it in 313 CE), Jewish persecution and forced conversion increased. As internal religious disputes weakened the Byzantine Empire, Persia conquered Jerusalem (611 CE), recaptured by Heraclius (629 CE) only to loose it to the rising Empire of Islam (640 CE).

Like Christianity, Islam diverged from Judaism to become a separate religion. Hebrews interacted with Arabs in early stages of Jewish religious development (Abraham through Jacob) and all through history till the conquest of Jerusalem by Moslem forces. Some Arab tribes practiced Judaism. When Mohammed created Islam, he had in mind the Jewish model. But using forced conversion, Islam spread by the beginning of the 8th century westward to Spain and eastward into Asia.

When Jerusalem fell (70 CE), an estimated 8 million Jews lived in the Roman Empire. But by the 10th century, the Jewish population collapsed to about one million. The decrease is partly attributed to economic and demographic constraints but mostly to assimilation. The remaining Jews scattered around the Mediterranean and in Europe as far north as Russia. They were literate, lived in small urban communities regulated by rabbinic laws, earned a living as craftsmen and merchants and in spite of their small representation in the general population as well as legal and religious constraints, they became instrumental to economic development due to their abilities to compute exchange rates, draw contracts and network around the world. But there lied their vulnerability too.

Jewish law forbids Jews to charge interest on loans given to other Jews to encourage mutual help and reduce internal dissention. Jews are encouraged to apply this practice to neighboring gentiles whenever possible but precedence is given to charity among Jews first. Discriminating regulation in Christian lands pushed Jews into occupations, which gave them economic advantages i.e., the hated money trading.

According to Islam, Jihad is a permanent state of war waged against non-Moslems till they submit. Many Jews were forced to convert to Islam but religious affinities as well as political and economic realities led Moslem leaders to accommodate autonomous Jewish life as ‘dhimma’ in exchange of special taxes. Thus, in spite of an inferior legal status and occasional abuses, it was easier to live and prosper in Moslem lands. Jews were craftsmen, traders and some even achieved court positions as doctors, ministers or bankers and they operated as far as India and China (8-12 centuries). Jewish learning centers thrived in Babylon, Kairouan and Cordoba too. But, when the wind of fundamentalism swept the Moslem world, tolerance vanished and Jews paid dearly in forced conversion and supplementary taxes (i.e., the Almohads in North Africa and Spain in the 12th century). On such occasions, Jews sought refuge in Christian, African and Asian lands that tolerated them (i.e., Maimonides wandering from Cordoba to Fes, Acres and Cairo 1135-1204 CE).

Even in the most difficult of circumstances, Jews valued scholarship as a necessary wisdom to guide men and inculcate in them righteousness. Although distinguished descent and wealth were useful in obtaining communal authority, scholarship was essential to make it stick because Jews had no power of enforcement, except for excommunication. Scholars performed communal functions as a social responsibility without compensation (i.e., Maimonides). They were expected to earn a living independently or through partnerships with wealthy merchants, who sustained some of them occasionally.

Scholarship was not applied solely to the Jewish community; it was extended to society at large in an effort to spread reason/righteousness in the world and make it a civilized (i.e., to complete the task of creation) (but also to prevent ill treatment of Jews, among other minorities, i.e., Philo). Of course, scholarship remained an ideal, pursued by an elite, for superstition and mysticism endured (i.e., Zohar), especially when persecution under both Christianity and Islam increased, but even in most difficult times, poor Jews invested in education, keeping irrational thinking in check while amazing envious persecutors.

Scholarship became the main tool of survival after the destruction of Judea, as rabbinical Judaism repudiated righteous use of force (until its resumption in 1948). Jews followed a variety of survival paths: professions that made them useful to host communities and made them mobile (i.e., medicine), family business, strong families based on contractual obligations, synagogue rituals, dietary laws, charity, a sense of criticism and historical perspective (i.e., the Bible), dispersion and mobility, integration in universities but also in reform movements (Renaissance and Reformation, making them subject to subversive accusations).

Regardless of the survival mode chosen, persecution persisted. Treatment of Jews under Islam varied in place and time but was always bad under Byzantine rule and bad in the remaining Christian lands when the Crusades started (1095 CE). Authorities under both Islam and Christianity valued Jews due to their skills and wealth, as well as, the ease to tax and plunder them and ecclesiastic powers legitimized their slander, abuse, killing, conversion and expulsion. Thus, anti-Semitism and its violent consequences spread over time and space, dehumanizing Jews, even after conversion (i.e., persecution of converts), bringing upon them both economic and population decline (i.e., Spain, 15th century), till it transformed into the Holocaust (i.e., Germany, 20th century).

Of an estimated 200,000 Jews in Spain and Portugal, hardly 50,000 found refuge (1492-1497). But although Jewish decline made them dispensable, Spanish and Portuguese Jews rehabilitated themselves under Moslem rule in North Africa and in the Turkish Empire as well as in Christian countries such as France, Italy, Holland and England. They also made a contribution to the discovery of the new world and immigrated there. It was time when expelling Jews was in vogue (Vienna and Linz 1421, Cologne 1424, Florence and Tuscany 1494 to name only a few). Jews could hardly make a living anywhere in Western Europe and had to wander Eastward to survive. But alas, the image of the de-humanized Jew became so established that walls had to be built to contain them (i.e., ghettos).

Part 5: Exclusion and De-humanization

Destitute, Jews wandered from place to place to earn a living while the lucky among them, were confined into ghettos to burden them with special taxes, inflated rents as well as limited competition (i.e., Venice). Apart, Jewish life thrived, giving rigorous rabbis more influence. But life went on and some flourished even under hardship (i.e., Abraham Colorni, 1540 CE, Mantua). Jewish traders did well in Italian ports (i.e., Ancona and Livorno) as well as under Turkish rule (i.e., Constantinople and Salonika), although their defenselessness exposed them to both Christian and Moslem pirates, who confiscated boats, merchandise and sold captive Jews as slaves as late as 1810.

The rise of Protestantism reduced the isolation of Judaism as a religious minority in Christian Europe but hopes for increased tolerance did not materialize as Reformation leaders enflamed anti-Semitism and initiated expulsions (i.e., Luther). Jews were blamed for the rise of heresy, thus justifying their containment behind walls in every state under papal influence (16th century) and secular authorities who normally perceived Jews and converts as wealth builders, turned against them too, blaming them for spreading subversive ideas.

While it may be true that Jews and converts may have diffused innovative ideas in both religious and economic realms, they did so partly due to their scholarship but also due to societal pressures that displaced them in space (i.e., expulsions) and marginalized them economically (i.e., ejection out of money trading when Christians adopted it). Under these circumstances, they confronted reality rationally, unraveling in the process innovative solutions ahead of others. Thus they moved into the New World with energy and did the same in Eastern Europe, bringing with them ideas that rendered them useful to their new communities. They demystified the use of money, treating it like any commodity, overcoming thereby religious constraints, to facilitate economic development that benefited them as well as their neighbors (i.e., 70% of all taxes raised went to secular authorities for protection). By the end of the 16th century, as the power of the church declined and as secular authorities gathered steam, European intellectuals observed that social tolerance (or national unity) is a necessary ingredient for prosperity. In this context, Jews and converts were welcomed on the basis of merit in Western Europe again (i.e., Amsterdam).

During the 17th century, when wars raged in Europe, Jews were summoned to finance supplies, paid in credit, protection and privileges, demonstrating yet again their vulnerability (i.e., Meisel under the Habsburgs), but as strange as it may be, Jews survived the Thirty Years War without maltreatment and proved as useful during the reconstruction that followed. They (i.e., Oppenheimer) rendered great service to Austria in its struggle against France (1673-9) and against Turkey (1682) but the Austrian treasury refused to pay back debts (and a mob was allowed to plunder Oppenheimer’s house). Further east, noble landowner demanded ever-rising rents from Jewish middlemen who transferred the increases to Polish and Ukrainian peasants till they rose against their oppressors. But here too, the nobles easily sacrificed the Jews and massacres followed (i.e., the Chmielnicki pogroms). Jews, however powerful or useful, were never safe.

The calamities swung the pendulum in Jewish communities from rationalism to mysticism, with Luria bridging between the two as well as between Sepharade and Ashkenaze in Safed (1534-1572 CE), spreading the belief that suffering must herald pending messianic deliverance. It was a time when exorcists (baal shem) and amulates gained powers potent enough (at least in theory) to save Jews from evil and exile (i.e., dybbuks, jnun as well as terrible neighbors) and as if miraculously, a messiah appeared (Shabbetai Zvi 1626-76) and almost all the Jewish world was taken in.

The messiah proved false but Jewish existence remained miserable and desperate yearning for salvation made the Shabbatean movement last through the 18th century, causing many disenchanted Jews to convert to Islam, Christianity as well as Frankism (i.e., an underground Shabbatean religion led by Jacob Leib known as Frank, 1726-1791).

As usual in Jewish history, destruction gives rise to reconstruction, for a Marrano scholar (Manasseh Ben Israel, 1604-1657) from Amsterdam combined with British fundamentalists (with sympathies for Jews) to convince Cromwell to allow Jewish immigration, making England the harbinger of Modern Jewish communities (1648-1732). When New Amsterdam fell into English hands (1664), the New World offered Jews equal rights and new opportunities from the very beginning. Here, Jews enjoyed the security to accumulate wealth and did not run the risk of pillage by mobs or governments like in the Old World. Hence, unlike in continental Europe, they contributed to economic development and stability: central banks (Bank of England, 1694), paper securities and stock exchanges (NYSE, 1792), advertising and economic information systems and in short, modern capitalism.

On another front, scholars struggled with aspects of Judaism that produced irrational tendencies (i.e., the Shabbatean movement), bringing to the for-front distinctions between rationalism (i.e., Spinoza) and faith (i.e., Hasidism) within Judaism. While rationalism permitted scholars to delve into far reaching intellectual notions of law and divinity, faith kept discussions as well as ordinary Jews within traditional bounds.

By middle of the 18th century, the Enlightenment debate began in Europe. Naturally, learned Jews were drawn into it (i.e., Moses Mendelsshon) not only to bring Enlightenment into Judaism but make it part of a larger and more tolerant European culture. This materialized in England and American but hardly so in Europe. By the beginning of the 19th century, Jews were still living in poverty and subjected to scorn due to residency limitations (i.e., ‘Pale of Settlement’ in Russia), religious constraints (i.e., forced conversion in Italy), expulsions (i.e., from Prague in1744), professional restrictions and imposed derogatory names (i.e., Austria, 1781-1787). Even the French Revolution, that granted them equal rights, hardly improved their lot. For French intellectuals (Voltaire, 1756 and Diderot, 1770) led other Europeans in a new and more virulent secular anti-Semitism, accusing Jews of obstructing progress as well as instigating anarchy. Soon thereafter, when Napoleon convened a Jewish Assembly to advise him on Jewish matters (1807), European fantasy was ripe enough to accuse ‘the Elders of Zion’ of secret plots and conspiracies.

Part 5: Emancipation
Emancipation started around the middle of the 17th century, gaining strength through the following century with occasional retreats. Napoleon (1812) granted Jews civil rights but restrictions remained in effect throughout Europe by the end of the 19th century, especially in Eastern Europe.

In previous centuries, conversion to Christianity, whether forced or voluntary, was intended to reduce persecution. Emancipation, at least in theory, was supposed to free Jews from the necessity to convert but in reality, it facilitated it. As ghetto barriers broke open, Jews responded to emancipation in different ways. Civil rights allowed integration in increasingly tolerant societies while keeping faith (i.e., Rothschild). But in spite of improved legal conditions, conversion remained a condition to integration in most parts of Europe and even in tolerant England (i.e., D’Israeli). In some cases, conversion was not enough and one had to turn against his own to prove to himself as well as others that emancipation from Judaism was real (i.e., Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine).

Emancipation changed the dynamic of the relationship between Jews and Christians in increasingly civil and secular societies but the change became most noticeable in Britain. Elsewhere, in spite of emancipation, acceptance of Jews remained fragile; for while British authorities welcomed Jews (converted or not), they had to intervene on their behalf all over Europe (Prague, 1745; Germany, 1814) as well as in Moslem lands (settlement in Jerusalem under the Turkish Empire, 1827). In light of widespread European lack of acceptance, some learned and enlightened Jews attempted to bring Judaism closer to secular culture (i.e., Jost and Zunz or Haskalah /Wissenschaft movement) with limited success, since conversion remained a necessary passport even to increasingly enlightened societies (i.e., Gans in Germany). In these circumstances, some learned Jews developed a nationalist view of Judaism (i.e., Graetz), although some tried to reform it, to make it more harmonious with modernity (Wolf, Geiger, the Reform movement). But, as usual, in Jewish history, when acceptance of Jews into their host societies did not materialize, withdrawal into orthodoxy offered some comfort, even when secular knowledge was embraced (i.e., Hirsch).

To sum up, emancipation brought into Judaism much controversy, if not confusion; and the bewilderment was compounded by a debate over the role of Hebrew, Yiddish and local languages in the process of Enlightenment. It was a time when different streams emerged within Judaism but none had clear leadership. In this context, intellectuals broke beyond traditional rabbinical learning centers, demonstrating remarkable abilities in secular domains. But here too, Jewish talent was denied (i.e., the poetry of Heinrich Heine in Germany) for Jews, even when converted, were suspect of both attempting to dominate established societies as well as destroy them (i.e., Karl Marx). European Christian intellectuals expressed their anti-Semitism with fervor (i.e., Goethe and the German Idealists as well as Fourier and the French socialists) and self-hating Jewish intellectuals, transformed it into class warfare or hostility towards capitalists as well as their own parents (i.e., Karl Marx). But as revolutionary as it may appear, Marxist theory was but a makeover of old prophetic criticism of societal injustice and need for redress, an element that made it so appealing to emancipating Jews yearning to break free into increasingly modern and secular societies (i.e., Lasalle in Germany).

In spite of persisting discrimination, Emancipation gave Jews hope. Improving hygiene, urbanization and industrialization allowed Jewish population growth to over 13 millions by 1914 in Europe. Most Jews lived in urban settings, able to read and write and a high percentage of well-educated and secular intellectuals who were no longer ready to submit to antiquated religious or racial discrimination. Thus Jewish organizations sprung, calling for redress (i.e., Alliance Israelite Universelle, 1860).

Most European autocracies preserved an ambivalent attitude towards Jews, vacillating from protection through exploitation and persecution but the worst treatment was in Russia, where anti-Semitism remained an official policy. Jews were confined to ‘a Pale of Settlements,’ subject to arbitrary rules, extortion, expulsions (1881), pogroms (1871, 1881, 1903-1911), forced conscription, occupational and educational exclusions, impoverishment, re-education and conversion and the cumulative effect aimed to reduce the Jewish population, led to panic emigration (2.5 million immigrants between 1881-1914) in scales not known since the expulsion of the Jews of Spain (1492). About 2 million Jewish emigrants found refuge in America but the remaining converted and non-converted Jews in Eastern Europe (5.5 millions in Russia and 2.5 millions in the Austrian Empire) proved resourceful enough to survive and even contribute to the revolutionary movement in their pursuit of justice.

In America, Jews worked hard and felt confident enough to call upon European relatives to join them as well as campaign to acquire denied rights. American Jewry became liberal, patriotic and respectable. Soon Jews emerged on the American scene in leading positions (i.e., Seligman, 1820-80, as a banker and head of treasury) as well as in the needle trades, labor movement, philanthropy, community organization (i.e., Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1873) and struggle for righteousness in modern society alongside other people of good will (i.e., Emma Lazarus). By 1920, American Jewry grew to 4.5 million, making New York the largest Jewish city in the world (1.6 million), forming the American Jewish Committee (1906) to care for Jews in distress around the world.

The events of 1881-1914 that pushed Jews out of Eastern Europe to America, led them to Zion too. Since the Babylonian exile, Jews yearned for Zion. In every generation, religious Jews went to Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed, among other places in Zion. Some bought land to settle the Land of Israel (Kalischer with the help of the Rothschilds, 1836; Alkalai, 1840). But emancipation turned many Jews into secular beings in search of personal-redemption. As the Dreyfus affair (1895) broke into European consciousness, emancipated Jews realized that integration in European societies remained an illusion. Jews had the highest emancipation expectations in France but the French disappointed them with multi-layered anti-Semitism built on pseudo-racial theories, envy and Catholic revivalism. Jews also came under attack from aristocrats, academics, artists, industrialists and populists and anti-Semitism became part of political platforms (i.e., Germany and Austria). Some even called to solve the ‘Jewish question’ by ‘killing’ (Durhing). In fact, as emancipated Jews became more prominent in European culture, their rejection increased. Even converts could not vanish in a European crowd. In this context, even most emancipated Jews became convinced that Jews needed a refuge where they could govern themselves, free of persecution (i.e., Herzel and Pinsker).

It was a time when the old Turkish Empire was crumbling and with the combined good will of British sympathizers (Palmerston, Disraeli, George Eliot), Jewish capitalists (Rothschilds) and visionaries (Herzel, Nordau,1895), it became possible to establish a corner stone for a Jewish homestead. Most Jews of influence feared the idea. Many thought Jews would lose everything before they would get a state of their own (Rothschild, Hirsch). But the poor who had nothing left to loose, assembled from 16 countries to for the first Zionist Congress (Bazel,1897).

Soon Herzel focused on high-level diplomacy to secure support even from anti-Semite European leaders who would have been more than happy to get rid of Jews but Turkey objected to offer land in Palestine. Only Britain demonstrated resolute support, suggesting homesteads in El Arish and Uganda but by the Seventh Zionist Congress (1905), only old Zion proved acceptable. By then Zionism became a practical solution to the Jewish problem and although some religious (Kook) and secular Jews saw it as a step to rehabilitate world Jewry and humanity, most did not. For in spite of anti-Semitism, the emancipation of the European Jews and their emergence into European mainstream could hardly be denied, especially in Germany (multiple Nobel Prizes and over 31,500 Crosses of distinction in WWI). Jews contributed to Europe (and humanity at large), the power of insight into human nature (i.e., Freud) and nature itself (i.e., Einstein); but alas, they were denied the right to be part of the societies they cherished (i.e., Mahler’s and Einstein’s move to America; Herzel’s and Weitzman’s drive for a Jewish homeland).

Part 6: The Holocaust

WWI broke the old empires into national homes based on linguistic, ethnic and racial principles. Britain secured Palestine from Turkish hands with the intention to make it a Jewish homestead (Balfour Declaration, Versaille Treaty and San Remo Conference). Arabs who fought on the Allied side expected a great Arab state but they got French rule in Lebanon and Syria and British control in Palestine, instead. Soon, France exploited Arab disappointment to direct rising Arab nationalism (i.e., Al Fatah) against Britain and Zionism. Arabs (500,000) who lived in Palestine then began to express objection to Jewish settlements (100,000).

Before WWI, there were religious communities in Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias, as well as, agricultural and industrial settlements financed by Montefiore and Rothschild scattered all over Palestine. But the pogroms of 1881 and 1904 in Russia generated two significant waves of immigration (known as first and second Alyia in Zionist accounts), which changed the nature of the Jewish community in Palestine. Initially, Arabs benefited from the economic development generated by Jewish immigrants. Arab landowners sold sand and marshlands for high prices while laborers came from neighboring Arab countries to work for Jews. But while early settlers relied on Arab labor, newly arrived immigrants established self-sustaining collective settlements (i.e., kibbutz, moshav as well as cooperative/collective labor groups). There was awareness that an understanding with the Arabs was necessary (i.e., Weitzman, Herbert Samuel, Arad Ha’am, Einstein), but the Zionists, overwhelmed by the task of absorbing Jewish refugees, did not enhance it.

After WWI (1920), an influx of Jewish refugees from Egypt and Russia turned the Arabs increasingly hostile, making Jewish self-defense necessary (i.e., Jabotinsky). Palestinian leaders (i.e., Amin Al Husaini) adopted terror to silence moderate Arabs, along with a policy of non-negotiation and objection to Jewish immigration and statehood. Thus the Israeli-Arab conflict became institutionalized and co-existence became more difficult.

It was a time when Arabs had many states but the Jews had none and a pledge was implied in international treaties (Versaille and San Remo) that Jewish statehood would be granted if a Jewish majority were achieved (George Lloyd and Churchill). Zionists aimed to fulfill their nationhood dream in different ways: building economic and institutional infrastructures (Weitzman), organizations and settlements based on socialism, along with Hebrew revival (Ben Gurion), while some gave priority to massive immigration (Jabotinsky). But between 1920 and 1929, as pogroms subsided and civil rights were granted (Versailles treaties) and prosperity increased in Europe, few Jews exploited immigration opportunities to establish their homestead in Palestine. There lies the tragedy, because in the following decade, when anti-Semitism rose again in Europe to reach Holocaust dimensions and Jews rushed to Palestine for refuge, the British restricted Jewish immigration and land ownership (White Papers, 1930, 1939) due to Arabs resistance (Arab pogroms, 1929 and Arab revolt, 1937) and oil interests.

It was a time when exclusion from European societies pushed some highly educated and intelligent Jews to join revolutionary ranks to a point of self-denial (Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky). Socialism became a fashionable mean (among non-Jewish Jews especially), to free Jews and humanity from injustice (Bela Kun in Hungry, Kurt Eisner in Bavaria, Isaac Babel in the Soviet Union). As a consequence, Jews were identified with Bolshevism and became a target of increasingly vicious attacks all over Europe, although few identified with communism and most suffered disproportionately in its hands (i.e., under Lenin and Stalin). Even tolerant Britain and United States went through a phase of Bolshevism related anti-Semitism (i.e., Jewish immigration to USA was reduced to a trickle).

By 1939, when Jews were in dire need for a refuge in light of a universally hostile world and a pending Holocaust, they could no longer afford seeking consent from anyone, a Jewish state had to be established in spite of British and Arabs objections (Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion), since even USA applied strict quotas on immigration.

Lucky Jewish immigrants arrived to America before the Holocaust. They started as simple laborers in sweatshops, building a textile industry, along with big surface retail, with entertainment to go with it, in theatres (Hammerstein), concert halls (Gershwin and Bernstein) and cinemas (Fox, Mayer, Warner), neglecting not professions (Brandeis). Surely, they contributed to petty and high crime (Buchhalter and Lanski) but these did not enjoy communal sanction and proved to be a temporary deviation. But here too, Jews, even when assimilated, however influential, were pushed back into line (i.e., Bernard Baruch and Lippmann) and polls indicated that anti-Semitism spread widely (Elmo Roper).

In the heart of Europe, Germany emerged as the strongest economic and cultural power. It even seemed as the best-educated nation in the world, gathering more Nobel prizes than any other country. Jews made a significant contribution to Germany and tied their fate to it but remained far from dominating it. Yet, Germans turned on them. Some suggest that Germany’s defeat in WWI induced violence, transforming underlying anti-Semitism into aggression. Germans needed a scapegoat to atone their loss and when Hitler offered Jewish victims, anti-Semitism turned into a national political platform, in which Jews, became the ultimate imaginary threat to German existence (politically and biologically) and Germans, intellectual elite included, assisted its spread (media and campuses), till it became justified to sacrifice Jews to preserve German sanctity as if it were a religious imperative. Some suggest also that the Great Depression hit Germany so hard, that scores of unemployed were compelled to vote for the Nazis as a protest but Hitler consolidated his grip on power quickly and few dared stand up to him, even when Germans at large were asked to take part in a planned slaughter (the final solution).

Some Jews fled Germany in time. Some who believed whole-heartedly in the feasibility of living as non-Jewish Jews in Germany committed suicide (i.e., Walter Benjamin). But most Jews were systematically victimized by ordinary Germans: bureaucrats, medical professionals and priests issued identification certificates, bankers dispossessed them, industrialists worked them to death and neighbors and transport clerks (1,200,000) facilitated their concentration and transportation into camps where they were exterminated. It was suggested that in spite of widespread anti-Semitism, crude violence against Jews was not acceptable to Germans and that Hitler used the veil of war to justify and co-opt them in taking part in the extermination (i.e., starvation, work to death and murder).

As German military forces moved eastward, mobile killing battalions (Einsatzgruppen) did most of the killing (shooting in ditches, dynamite, mobile and fixed gas units) but the military and local cooperators made contributions of their own. There were 1634 death camps, in addition to their satellites as well as 900 labor camps. Chelmno, Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdanek and Belzec were established to process mass slaughter on an industrial scale. While Hitler-Himmler-Heydrich formed the top chain of command, Goring coordinated the state bureaucracies, Eichmann led the administration and the SS (900,000) did the killing, the whole nation, its army and industry took part in the killing machine that annihilated 5,933,900 Jews, often with gruesome cruelty.

Germans knew of the atrocities but developed euphemisms to minimize brooding on their actions and related benefits, rather than protest or assist Jews to escape (although factories tried to keep Jewish laborers who made themselves indispensable). Austrians contributed to the Holocaust beyond the proportion to their numbers (one third of the Einsatzgruppen). Romanians outdid the SS by their cruelty (burnt between 20 and 30 thousands alive). The French did not carry out the ‘Final solution’ themselves but the Vichy regime implemented anti-Semitic laws and ordinary French citizens surrendered most of the French Jews to be killed or deported (i.e., 3-5 million denunciation letters). Italians proved much less cooperative. They hid Jews and gave them advance warnings of German rounding up activities. Most Greek and Hungarian Jews were murdered. Belgium and Holland showed some resistance but most Jews perished in their territories. Finland and Denmark spared their Jews.

Russia did not show the slightest desire to save Jews. The British and Americans did not use air power to stop the killing. They also showed no interest in absorbing Jewish refugees. Britain even restricted immigration to Palestine not to alienate the Arabs. Americans resisted accepting the facts of the Holocaust and were amenable to accept anti-Jewish laws. Under these circumstances, even the American Jewry gave priority to defeating Hitler rather than bombing death camps.

Jews themselves produced little resistance (i.e., Warsaw Ghetto rebellion and scattered partisan activities) because Jews resolved after the destruction of Judea and their dispersion as slaves in the Roman Empire, not to raise arms again and faith as well as two thousand years of persecution conditioned them to submit, no matter the cost, to save the ‘remnant.’ For some Jews who kept faith, there was redemption in suffering. Little did they know that Hitler intended to exploit these characteristics to deceive them, reduce their resistance and even make them active participants in the annihilation plan.

After WWII, when the dimensions of the calamity became known, some people expected expressions of outrage or at least pity but survivors faced repugnance (even from General Patton) and more killing (i.e., those repatriated to Poland) and a hatred that transferred from Europe to the Middle East. Nevertheless, the international community agreed on some measures of punishment (Nuremberg trials) and restitution (Germany paid symbolic compensation while Austria and Eastern Bloc countries avoided it). Further, only in 1965, did the Catholic Church make a declaration with an intent to clear Jews of the death of Jesus in an attempt to stamp church based anti-Semitism. One can hardly say that justice was done.

Part 7: Israel

The fall of the old empires which followed WWI and the rise of nation states, set in motion the principle which justified the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Europe’s failure to absorb a remarkably productive group of people, assimilated or not, and its vicious persecution during WWII, led the victims, secular as well as religious Jews, to conclude that a refuge had to be established against all odds. Two thousand years of persecution, which reached gruesome levels with the Holocaust, taught Jews that even the civilized world could no longer be trusted. It became imperative to establish a sovereign refuge where Jews could safeguard their own safety.

In spite of the Holocaust, Britain enforced strict immigration policies, which prevented Jewish refugees from settling in Palestine (boats loaded with refugees were re-directed to camps in Cyprus, mainland Europe or drowned). Reluctantly, with determination and under great risk, Jews felt compelled to raise arms again after 2000 years of self imposed restaint, to launch a terror campaign to weaken Britain’s will to hold on to Palestine (Begin’s Irgun, Shamir’s Stern group and Ben Gurion’s Haganah).

Once Britain renounced its mandate in Palestine, the United Nations resolved to establish an Arab state along a Jewish one, with Jerusalem as an international zone (November, 1947). Strangely enough, the Soviet Union, which oppressed Jews in its midst, played a key role in passing the resolution in a bid to weaken the British hold on the Middle East, and hoping that Israel would become a socialist ally, even armed it to withstand an Arab onslaught with success. It was a rare and transient window of opportunity, because the Soviets (Stalin) reverted to anti-Jewish policies shortly thereafter and without their support, Israel would not have come into being, because both Britain and the USA were not about to jeopardize their oil interests in the Middle East.

The Arab League launched ‘a war of extermination’ as soon as the State of Israel was declared (May 14, 1948) but the Israelis won the war and extended their borders beyond the partition limits. About 500,000 Arabs fled Israel to the West Bank and Gaza while another 150,000 went to neighboring countries but mostly to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. They fled to avoid injury in response to Arab calls as well as due to fear of Jews (i.e., Dir Yassin) but also because of the breakdown of the British administration. Between 1947 and 1967, about 567,654 Jewish refugees fled Arab countries to settle in Israel. Jewish refugees rehabilitated themselves in Israel while Arab governments rejected UN resettlement plans and Israeli compensation offers to keep Arab refugees in camps pending the re-conquest of Palestine, till this day.

For two thousand years, Jews lived as an oppressed minority, used to negotiations rather than use of force. They habitually paid heavy prices to live in peace even in underprivileged conditions. Since the Versailles and San Remo international conferences (1920), they used negotiations to achieve self-government. Even when some Jews had a territory in mind, they defined its borders in practical terms. They accepted the Peel (1937) and UN (1947) partitions, which offered them only 20 and 50 per cent of Palestine, respectively. They were even willing to settle lands shunned by Arabs (i.e., coastal sands and malaria infected land) to prevent conflicts.

Arabs, however, perceived Jews as dhimmis, with whom a truce was acceptable only on an interim basis, pending the re-conquest of Palestine. They could have had a Palestinian state, based on partition, without negotiation or use of force, but they opted for the use of force, with the intent to revert the Jews to second-citizens status. There lies the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict till this day and that is why Israelis felt obliged to put up perimeter fences to guard against Arab intruders (i.e., terrorists) as well as adopt a defense strategy to counter multiple Arab states assault at once.

The Sinai War

After the War of Independence (1947), cease-fire lines were drawn. Israel attempted to negotiate an agreement and permanent frontiers to no avail. The Arabs used terror and economic boycotts. Egypt, which denied Israel passage through the Suez Canal, contrary to international conventions, blocked the Gulf of Aqaba (1956) and formed a unified military Arab command to destroy Israel. Israel launched a pre-emptive attack in which it conquered Gaza and the Sinai desert, while Britain and France took over the Suez Canal. Israel withdrew from all the territories conquered when UN forces formed a buffer zone and Egypt undertook not to re-militarize the area. The Arabs continued to refuse negotiations with Israel.

The Six Days War By June 1967, Egypt ordered the UN forces out of the buffer zone, blocked the Gulf of Aqaba again and moved 100,000 troops into the Sinai in battle position, while Syria, Jordan and Iraq did the same. Israel launched a pre-emptive strike again, taking over Jerusalem and the West Bank of Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria and the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egypt. Israel’s offers to trade occupied territories for peace were rejected again.

The War of Atonement By October 1973, while Israelis prayed solemnly for atonement, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack, destroying much of the Israeli army, tacking back the Suez Canal as well as the Golan Heights. Israel prepared to evacuate the Galilee, facing a real threat of a second holocaust. But audacity in light pending destruction and an emergency airlift of advanced weapons from America allowed the Israelis to cut off the advancing Arab forces and even re-gain the Golan Heights.

Trading peace for territories The Arabs could afford four attempts to destroy Israel and refuse to negotiate peace but the real threat of a catastrophe in 1973, demonstrated that Israel could not afford even one loss. But Israeli victories could not win peace either, unless Arabs demonstrated a will to negotiate.

When Egypt recognized Israel’s right to exist as well as its southern border, Israel handed over Sinai and undertook to make similar concessions to other Arab states willing to negotiate (1978). The agreement cost President Sadat his life.

Oil, ($3 in the Seventies, close to $40 in 2004), gave Arabs extra-ordinary diplomatic leverage (to a point that UN bodies passed resolutions equating Zionism to racism in 1972), the power to re-arm at will, as well as, the resources to finance terrorism. Thus Arabs continued to shun negotiations, believing that time and demography are on their side.

But Israel established itself as a modern democratic society based on high ethics, advanced education and high technology. It absorbed Jewish immigrants in distress, in daring as well as covert operations, offering them shelter, education and productive sources of living, while forging them into a nation determined to withstand external threats.

The Israeli Society

Israel inherited many British constitutional and legal institutions but its underlying structures were socialist (Soviet). Party rule dominates allocation of resources and appointments in the army, civil service and economy. Political affinity determined military and administrative careers as well as subsequent integration in political structures (i.e., the choice of Rabin as chief of staff and later prime minister and Peres as defense ministry official and prime minister, thereafter). Civil service positions were distributed according to electoral strength.

The multi-party system preserved democracy but proportional elections gave power to ruling parties, encouraging shifting ad-hoc coalitions in a struggle to acquire appointments and resources. Coalition formed to enhance a combination of ideological agendas and interests since the British mandate era (i.e., allocation of land and even immigrants).

Both Weizman and Ben Gurion tried to divorce the state and public interest from the system party grip. Weizman failed to give the presidency executive power along American line. Ben Gurion managed to free the army and schools from party control, only partially. For when he withdrew from politics, disgusted, he still wished Israel to live up to higher ethics.

Until the early Seventies, politics were dominated by the labor movement, which derived its roots from East European socialism, manned by a quasi-urban middle class, whose symbolic membership in collective settlements was but a cover for weekend retreats and who thought it knew better than average citizens what was good them, especially if they came from Oriental countries. But Labor grip on Israel declined under each successive government, till Liberals (under Begin) took over in 1977, to open Israel’s economy to more competitive forces, subject to discrepancies due to proportional elections, party politics dominance and related distortions in socio-economic mobility and allocation of resources.

Israel remains far from the idealistic model orthodox Jews wish for in a Messianic era. It is a secular political and military response to persisting anti-Semitism geared to enhance survival and pursuit of justice for Jews. It shares the characteristics of past Jewish states, which failed to establish an equitable social order based on the rule of Law. Many Jews, Orthodox and Reform alike, remain uncommitted to Zionism, sometime hostile to it and under certain circumstances, perceive it as ‘the beginning of Redemption.’ Some even believe the Jewish state may end in a catastrophe for not abiding by divine law or pursuit of justice.

Interestingly, issues relating to the application of Jewish Law provoked coalition breakdown often. Debates remain fervent on Shabbat, kosher food, education, conscription of women and religious men into the army and marriage, to name only a few. Religion remains the core of Jewish identity and thus it still arouses debates on its centrality in a state created by Jews who are not necessarily observant. Further, although ritual observance is not as important for secular Jews as pursuit of justice, Israel, for all its shortcomings may be seen as a temple to Jewish pursuit of justice, that is bare bone Judaism.

Most worlds’ Jewry resides outside Israel (75%). It has been so since the Babylonian exile. Yet Israel symbolizes Jewish redemption from persecution on a scale equal to the liberation from Egyptian slavery and has become an open refuge for Jews in distress.

In spite of Israel’s vigor, the development of American Jewry is as significant as the creation of Israel itself. Jews, although a minority (about 6 million), pre-dominantly urban, became a core element of American society. In the context of an open and democratic American society made of immigrants, they are no longer a minority struggling to acquire rights but part of an increasingly privileged majority of Americans and as such, they seek to extend similar benefits to the less fortunate (i.e., voting for democrats), in congruence with a long-standing tradition, which aims to expand righteousness everywhere.

In Russia, however, changes from Tsarist autocracy to communist dictatorship, did not change the living conditions of Jews. Authorities used Jews until non-Jews were proficient enough to replace them and efforts were made to contain them in all spheres (i.e., universities, professions and politics). Anti-Semitism fed Marxist-Leninist theories and as well as the identification of Zionism with colonialism and miscellaneous worldwide conspiracies in Russian/Soviet high circles and media (when Israel did not follow Stalinism). The peak of the anti-Semitic propaganda was reached when Zionism became identified with Nazism and when the Holocaust was transformed into a Jewish-Nazi conspiracy to rid Europe of poor Jews and force them into Zion (Pravda, January 17, 1984)!

Russian/Soviet anti-Semitism was rivaled only by Arab crude propaganda, in which the Protocol of Zion and blood libels featured prominently. More recently, Arab comparisons of the Israeli Army with the SS and Zionism with Nazism spread in Europe, even among well-educated people, following the Six Days War (1967), the War of Atonement (1973), Lebanon War (1982) and the Intifada.

Repeated slander did de-humanize Jews to a point that it legitimized their persecution and killing. Contemporary slur has already generated violence against Jews. Repeated wars by Arab nations, as well as, terror by Palestinians (PLO policy, 1968) did and do not distinguish between Israelis and Jews and others Arab sympathizers hardly do (i.e., Baader Meinhof, 1976 and Russia/Soviet Union). Yet, when Israelis exercise their right for self-defense, they are harshly criticized. (Even Jews, obsessed with high morals and sanctity of life, often subject themselves to self-scolding.) This one-sided criticism of Israel, even in circumstances of self-defense, appears to be yet another transformation of anti-Semitism. Israel must guard itself against it, for the sake of Jews as well as a better world; for Judaism, in spite of anti-Semitism, remains a proponent of a universal morality, whereby all are equal before the law, as well as, a voice of reason in matters of unknown domains of divinity (and perhaps their rationalization). Further, as history suggests that rigorous minorities tend to become triumphant majorities with both constructive and destructive consequences, Israel (and Jews) must guard itself against its own demons and make every effort to live up to its high standards, not to fall victim to its own underlying fundamentalists or destructors within.

*Acknowledgement The summary above is based on multiple sources:

Paul Johnson, 1987, History of the Jews. Phoenix Press, which I strongly recommend. H.H. Ben Sasson (ed.) 1976, A History of the Jewish People (Harvard translation). Barnavi Eli (ed.) 2002 A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People, Schoken Books, New York Max I. Dimont, 1962, Jews God and History. Signet Schiendlin R.P. 1996 The Chronicles of the Jewish People, Friedman and Fairfax Publishers

*Waiver Some of the observations made in the summary above are my own and do not necessarily reflect the analysis of the recommended authors. This summary was prepared for a historical fiction I am working on and was adapted especially for European friends who amazed by their ignorance of Jewish history and their one-sided views of the Israeli/Arab conflict.