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  • Family and Society
  • Settling the Land of Israel

Religious Zionist position on Arabs


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Iyyar 13, 5773
I know that Religious Zionists typically oppose the division of the land of Israel into two states. What then should the State of Israel "do with" all of these people? I have heard right-wing suggestions from everything from granting them citizenship to murdering them. What are the halachic possibilities here?
Shalom Steve, I think the most practical and halachic religious-Zionist solution is as follows. To offer the Arabs living in the Land of Israel (first, within the green line, and if it works, to those in Judea and Samaria, as well), to vote and enjoy both the pleasures of democracy and the western standard of living which they wouldn’t have anywhere else (!) in the entire Middle East, but on condition that they fulfill the same obligations as every Jewish citizen. This would include giving three of the best years of their lives for national service, paying taxes and abiding by zoning laws, abiding by building restrictions and permits, issues which the vast majority of Arabs in Israel don’t fulfill. The present situation, where they enjoy most of the benefits without (!) most of the obligations, is illogical and undemocratic. The judicial and legislative systems, as well as the police, have been “turning a blind eye”, to keep the present status quo in order to keep the Arabs quiet, but that’s clearly unjust towards the Jewish majority who must fulfill all requirements. My educated guess is that for political and religious reasons, as well as social and international pressure (from Arabs abroad), and probably even physical threats from the Hamas, Fatah, and Jihad terrorist groups, the vast majority of them will opt to forego their Israeli citizenship rather than fulfilling these requirements, even though such refusal would be truly counterproductive for them. We could and should then treat them accordingly, as any western country treats a local who doesn’t fulfill his obligations to society and the law, with fines and sanctions, gradually suspending their benefits, and eventually, expelling them, if they continue their refusal. I imagine most will leave on their own accord, to join their Arab brethren abroad in their (futile) national pursuit of a western Arab democracy, where they will realize how comparatively good they had it in Israel. I have no doubt that the hypocritical United Nations, in their selective humanism, will complain, but they do anyway, no matter what we do! Also, the present option is clearly not optimal. In the name of democracy and equality, this is a very fair and logical solution, and difficult to contest. We just need the guts to take the initiative. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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