By Tuvia Brodie
This week’s news from Israel revealed that Israel President Shimon Peres has been arguing in private against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, Peres’ private comments have found their way into the public domain: his conflict with Netanyahu is now public.
First, a news report claimed that Peres believes Israel doesn’t have to be ‘Jewish’ to sign a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) (“Peres: PA Recognition of Jewish State 'Unnecessary'”,Arutz Sheva, January 22, 2014). He is reported to have felt this way for some time.
Then a follow-up report appeared to intensify Peres’ criticism of Netanyahu. It re-formulated Peres’ comments as saying that “Netanyahu was ‘stubbornly’ making ‘unnecessary’ demands that were impeding the peace process” (“Likud Ministers: Peres 'Shooting His Mouth Off Again'”, Arutz Sheva, January 23, 2014).
Mr Netanyahu, meanwhile, has said that he will sign no peace deal unless the PA accepts Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state. As if to explain Netanyahu’s position, Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz (Likud) has said that “all negotiations for peace begin with mutual recognition (ibid)”.
Steinitz makes an interesting point: the PA demands emphatically that Israel recognize the PA as an independent Arab state; Israel cannot therefore demand to be recognized as a. Jewish state?
The PA rejects this recognition. Yes, it demands recognition for itself. But it refuses Israel its recognition.
This is not the behaviour of a ‘peace partner’. It is the behaviour of an unrepentant enemy.
Peres is wrong to suggest that demanding recognition for a ‘Jewish’ Israel is bad for peace. In fact, such recognition is crucial if Israel is to survive as the world’s home for Jews.
Look at recent Arab announcements and declarations. As you’ll see in a moment, if Israel does not demand a ‘Jewish’ recognition, then all that Jews cherish in Israel will disappear. That’s not peace. It’s surrender. Actually, it’s defeat.
We learn all of this from a single headline, one that reveals the Arab aim for our Israel. This headline appeared the day before Peres was quoted as saying Israel’s being Jewish was unnecessary. The headline read, “Islamic Waqf Revises History: 'Temple Mount, Kotel are Muslim'”, Arutz Sheva, January 21, 2014). The story behind the headline told us exactly how the Waqf—the Muslim administrator of the Temple Mount—sees Israel, Jews and Judaism. It also explained why ‘Jewish’ is necessary for Israel to survive.
As you may know, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site. The Jordanians (who officially control the Waqf) have signed a Peace Treaty (1993) with Israel to guarantee access and freedom of worship to all holy sites in Israel, to all religions. The Waqf rejects this commitment. The Waqf works actively to undermine all Jewish connection to the Temple Mount—and to other Jewish religious sites in Israel.
The Arutz Sheva article above reported that the Waqf has been distributing a pamphlet to visitors on the Temple Mount. The pamphlet denies that the Jewish King Solomon built a Jewish Temple on the Mount. Instead, the pamphlet calls Solomon, ‘another prophet of Islam’—even though the Jewish Solomon lived more than 1,600 years before Islam began.
The claim that Solomon was Muslim is repeated in the pamphlet.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has stated repeatedly that the Kotel (the Western Wall) is not Jewish and has never been Jewish (see “Palestinian Authority Denies Jewish Right to Western Wall,Arutz Sheva, August, 8, 2013). Jordan and the Waqf, meanwhile, have repeatedly sought to deny Jews access to the Temple Mount (see “Report: Jordan vetoes Israeli request to allow Jewish prayer on Temple Mount”, Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2013; “Islamic Movement Leader: Temple Mount for Muslims Only”, Arutz Sheva, December 8, 2013).
Muslims have also worked aggressively to deny Jerusalem is Jewish (see “Mufti: Jerusalem is 'Islamic”, Arutz Sheva, November 12, 2013).
In addition, the Waqf has been caught repeatedly trying to destroy Jewish archaeological sites on the Mount (a crime in Israel). The Waqf has been also been caught doing illegal construction on the Mount (changing a Holy site without specific, written permission is illegal in Israel—see, for example, “Exposed: Waqf Illegally Drilling on Temple Mount”, Arutz Sheva, January 8, 2014).
The Arab war against Jerusalem and Israel’s Holy sites is aggressive and on-going. Peres ignores these efforts to erase all that is Jewish in Israel. His suggestion gives the Arab the opening he needs to deny all that is Jewish. His suggestion has nothing to do with peace—but everything to do with destroying Jewish Israel.
The Arab waits for us to put aside our identity as a Jewish State. So far as the Arab is concerned, the moment we agree that Israel does not have to be recognized as ‘Jewish’ is the moment that the Islamicization of Israel begins. Why in the world would we want to facilitate that?
Peres may not feel very Jewish himself. He is entitled to feel that way. But he is still the President of the Jewish State. He should put aside his personal feelings. His should put aside his personal agenda.
Mr Peres, you represent the State of Israel. When your sworn enemy tries to erase all that is Jewish from your nation, you shouldn’t go around saying that ‘Jewish’ isn’t necessary.
Mr Peres, you are President of our Jewish State. If you do not stand up to fight for Israel to be Jewish, the Arab will make sure we become Muslim.
Mr Peres, if your conscience tells you that you cannot stand up to fight for the Jewish State to be Jewish, then you are obviously no longer qualified to be President of the Jewish State of Israel.