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This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.


Israel FAQ

These answers are my personal answers and not necessarily the most informed ones.

How and why was the state of Israel created?

Short answer: Israel was a more practical option than America for a large number of Jews. They had a small amount of political assistance to get the country started, but mostly Jews occupied Israel based on flat-out hubris and balls of steel.

Long, but not long enough, answer: The development of racial theories in the late 19th century made answering the "Jewish question" more urgent throughout Europe. Early settlers, who seem to have been issued from the emerging Jewish middle class, went to Israel with the explicit intention of creating a Jewish state, as explained in a letter one wrote:

We have made it a rule not to say too much, except to those ... we trust ... the goal is to revive our nation on its land ... if only we succeed in increasing our numbers here until we are the majority .... There are now only five hundred [thousand] Arabs, who are not very strong, and from whom we shall easily take away the country if only we do it through stratagems [and] without drawing upon us their hostility before we become the strong and populous ones.
—Letter from Ben-Yehuda and Yehiel Michael Pines to Rashi Pin, October 1882. (Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001. Vintage Books, 2001, p49.)

As you can see, there was no legal basis for their settlement. It was simply something they thought they could achieve, and indeed did achieve, through a combination of cunning and strength. If you think this is evil, I guess that's your choice, but it doesn't change the reality of what they accomplished. Spoilers: The United States grew to its current size in the same way.

Jews were simply overstaying their visas for the first 40 years of experimental Zionism. They tried their best to strike a deal with the Ottomans who ruled Palestine, but none could be made. During World War I, though, wealthy Jews on both the British and German sides, while assisting the war effort financially, worked to extract the promise of a Jewish homeland in Palestine from the great powers. The successful promise on the British side was made to the Rothschild family.

So much for the machinations of the early Zionists. How did the movement become so popular when non-Zionist settlement was available in America?

Well, some Jews did make it here somehow. But for many, America wasn't an option. The United States did not want to accept Jewish refugees in the first half of the 20th century. Even during the 1930s Nazi regime, the US was trying to preserve the balance of power. Even after the Holocaust, in 1945-47, countries were unwilling to accept Jewish survivors which led to a mass illegal flight to Israel. Israel was thus the most available option for millions of Jews from about 1900-1945.

How did Israelis acquire the land they hold now?

Why are crazy ultra-Zionists building new settlements today?

The Zionist narrative of taking back Israel has not changed. Read the letter at the top of this page. Or listen to the settlers their own words:

The complex relationship between Skali's Farm residents and neighboring Palestinians involves a serious ideological rivalry between two Kibbutz Movement leaders - Yoel Marshak, whose father, Benny Marshak, was a prominent ideologue of the Palmach pre-state army; and Ahuvia Tabenkin, son of Yitzhak Tabenkin, a founder of the United Kibbutz Movement and a labor movement leader. Yoel Marshak has spent months helping Palestinians work the land, which they say belongs to the village residents. Ahuvia Tabenkin, from Kibbutz Ein Harod, is helping the outpost residents protect the produce they have been growing.
Skali said Marshak asked him once why his group could not be more realistic and less idealistic.
"I replied," said Skali, "that the Jews transcend reality, that the Jews don't just give in to reality, but rather shape it. That today's seeming agreements with the Palestinians are agreements of despair, and that the 3,500-year-old Bible was and remains relevant. That the Jews, on the threshold of the furnaces, shouted, 'Next year in Jerusalem.' That Judaism has succeeded precisely because it was not realistic; after all, one of the most seemingly delusional things is to live in the Diaspora and think all the time about Jerusalem."

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