What is the Meaning of the "Jewish State?" by Israel Shahak

What is the Meaning of the "Jewish State?"

written by

Israel Shahak

first published in

American Report


republished in

The Non-Jew in the Jewish State: A Collection of Documents

edited and prepared by Israel Shahak
pages 126-127

The real situation in Isreal is really very simple: Israel is not an "Israeli" state, or a state of its citizens but it is a "Jewish state."

In practical terms what it means for those of its unfortunate inhabitants officially described as "non-Jews?" What it means to be a non-Jew in Jerusalem for example? Again the answer is quite simple. The state of Israel builds huge building projects in Jerusalem. But for whom? Not just for "Israeli citizens;" only for Jews. An inhabitant of Jerusalem can never be eligible for a flat in those building projects if he for example happens believe in Jesus Christ or in the Prophet Mohammad and acts on this belief, i.e. is a member of any Christian or Muslim religion. If he is an atheist, his right for obtaining a flat in most of the newly built housing projects in Jerusalem belonging to the State of Israel, depends strictly on his race. If he can bring proof that his mother, grandmother, great grandmother and the grandmother of the grandmother were all Jewesses, he is regarded as a Jew and can obtain a place to live in. If one of the links is weak he can not.

This situation is the same in most areas of Israel. More than 90% of the inhabited areas of the State of Israel are under the rule of the Jewish National Fund regulations, under which non-Jews cannot rent or buy a house or flat, open a business, in short cannot live. This land is called in Hebrew "the saved" land. The land which belongs to non-Jews is called unsaved not national (the term "national" in Israel does not mean "Israeli" but "Jewish") and by buying or confiscating it from a non-Jew by a Jew, the land is supposed to be "saved."

This is of course only the beginning. A Jew by the mere fact that he is a Jew, will obtain a host of other privileges, over the non-Jew, some of them worth a lot of money, some honorary. A Jew obtains not only the right to live on most of Israeli land, he also obtains a loan and a mortgage to help him. When a new Jewish settlement is being established (on the land was "saved"—confiscated from non-Jews and made Jewish) all the Jewish inhabitants enter into prepared houses, with water and electricity. Many of the old non-Jewish villages have still no water or electricity now and are some cases in which the electricity line newly built to serve the new Jewish settlement passes the old Arab (in official parlance non-Jewish) village which is still forbidden to use it and sits in the evening in darkness watching the shining Jewish settlement. A building project for the newly-married applies only for the Jewish newly-married and so on. To be a Jew in a Jewish state is to be both a privileged being, and to be able to receive a lot of "easy" money a non-Jew can not ever get.

This is the reason for the furore raised on the question of "who is a Jew." It is not theology they are so concerned about it is money and status. Imagine that a non-Jew would be able "to pass" merely by obtaining a certificate from somebody in U.S.A. that he is a Jew! Horrible things would then happen: Non-Jews will be able to live in Ramat-Eshkol. Palestinians from the Old Nazareth will be able to obtain flats in Upper Nazareth, which so far is a completely Apartheid city closed completely to non-Jews. And so on and so on. But no danger of that: The gate is strongly watched and only "real" Jews will be subsidized flats in the Jewish state.

The whole subject shows how easily is to deceive the public—especially the American public—by the incorrect use of terms helped of course by some lying and cheating. Let us take the terms "Americans" versus "Jews." After all by employing the Israeli practices and disregarding the U.S. constitution, it is very easy to do the American Jews exactly the same thing that they are helping to do to Israeli Palestinians: To degrade them to the level of non-humans and to do it very democratically too. For example it would be very easy to decide that the term "American" does not apply to them in practice—or perhaps to abolish it and to use "Christian " in its place, and then just to make sure that the right to live in the building projects of the city of New York is dependent on belief in Jesus Christ. It would be even easier to set a Christian National Fund in the U.S.A. which will begin to "save" Jewish places of business by buying or confiscating them and renting them to non-Jews only. And after all not so long ago it was proposed by many.

What is more: it is my considered opinion that it may be proposed again using the laws and customs of the Jewish state as an example of how to treat Jews in other states which by definition will be non-Jewish, sliding easily to anti-Jewish. After all why not? The principles of justice are the same everywhere, the world is more united than ever before and one can not really hope to deceive everybody for long. In those circumstances one can safely follow Abraham Lincoln and analogously to predict that either Israel will become a state which treats all its citizens equally, as free human beings, and does not discriminate against those who either are born of non-Jewish mothers, or believe in other religions; or the same or even worse type of discrimination will prevail against Jews too in "non-Jewish" countries. The present system of deception in which some people are against discrimination in New York and for much worse discrimination in Jerusalem will not prevail, for as the same Lincoln said, you can not deceive all the people all the time. Although they tried to do it for too long, the time is now ending.

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This document has been edited slightly to conform to American stylistic, punctuation and hypertext conventions. Awkwardness of style has been addressed in just a few places. These changes are minimal and in no way distort the original intention of the author.

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