Just a normal democracy

Here is a news item from Israel, which is, we are assured in the West by many politicians, commentators, and lobbyists, a regular democracy, if not a multicultural paradise.

Nazareth Illit, which has recently come under threat of an Arab demographic takeover, now is headed to be the religious-Zionist capital of the lower Galilee…

The article goes on to describe various initiatives intended to boost the city’s Jewish population, as a response to an increase in the number of Palestinian citizens who have moved in, keen for a better standard of living. The projects, overseen by the town’s mayor Shimon Gapso, include the renovation of “an old school building to house 15 young families from the former Gush Katif yeshiva of Torat HaChaim” – in other words, former residents of a Gaza Strip colony.

Apparently, one of the other figures involved in these efforts is MK Uri Ariel, who in 2008 “called on the government to encourage Israeli Arabs to “willingly emigrate” from Israel and from large cities within it”. Another personality is Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who spent years living in the Hebron area settlements.

The piece concludes by reprinting a message from Mayor Gapso that appears on Nazareth Illit’s website:

“It is time to call a spade a spade. Just as Ben-Gurion and Peres said in the 1950’s that the Galilee must be Jewish, we say the same about Nazareth Illit: It must retain its Jewish character. Our goal is to bring 3,000 families within five years… We have been in contact with various ideological groups, and we are definitely considering building a hareidi-religious neighborhood as well. The primary goal is to put the brakes on the demographic deterioration…”

Continue reading “Just a normal democracy”

National mission

Commenting on the proposed building of a “Jews-only” building in Jaffa, the head of the development company in question was reported as saying: “We will continue to build throughout the Land of Israel. The national mission today is to bring rabbis and educators to every city in Israel, in order to strengthen Jewish identity in Israel.”

The phrase ‘national mission’ felt familiar – here are just a few other examples of this kind of language.

In the Negev

“After the cornerstone laying ceremony, in which Joseph Hess of JNF America participated, Mr. David Raisch, the local CEO, said that he was very excited to see the guests from the USA: “When we were evacuated from Gush Katif, we insisted on staying together as a community. We asked the government for a national mission, we told them we wanted a place no one else wanted to live in, and that’s how we ended up in Shomeria. It’s exciting for me to see you here today, because it makes me realize that building the eastern Negev is not just our personal goal, you are our partners to this task…””

“The significance of the Disengagement Plan is not only the evacuation of the Gaza Strip – it is also an increased effort to develop the Negev, the Galilee and greater Jerusalem. The Government of Israel, which I head, considers developing the Negev, the Galilee and greater Jerusalem a primary national mission – and views settlement as the number-one tool for doing so.” [PM Ariel Sharon] Continue reading “National mission”