After 60 Years, Arabs in Israel Are Outsiders

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As Israel toasts its 60th anniversary in the coming weeks, rejoicing in Jewish national rebirth and democratic values, the Arabs who make up 20 percent of its citizens will not be celebrating. Better off and better integrated than ever in their history, freer than a vast majority of other Arabs, Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens are still far less well off than Israeli Jews and feel increasingly unwanted.

On Thursday, which is Independence Day, thousands will gather in their former villages to protest what they have come to call the “nakba,” or catastrophe, meaning Israel’s birth. For most Israelis, Jewish identity is central to the nation, the reason they are proud to live here, the link they feel with history. But Israeli Arabs, including the most successfully integrated ones, say a new identity must be found for the country’s long-term survival.

“I am not a Jew,” protested Eman Kassem-Sliman, an Arab radio journalist with impeccable Hebrew, whose children attend a predominantly Jewish school in Jerusalem. “How can I belong to a Jewish state? If they define this as a Jewish state, they deny that I am here.”

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Randll Reese Besch - 5/9/2008

The Isreali's wish for a Jewish state is too much like the Germans want of an Aryan state last century. To do that it means that anyone else will automatically be second class. Even if nothing else occurs to them. It is a dangerous idea. Isreal must be careful about such thoughts for they are acting too much like the despised National Socialists that believed a similar doctrine and religious idea.
Isn't that the problem with Zionism is that it is much too similar in its implications and how it is carried out? The Palistinians are already in walled enclaves like ghettos and are reliant on someone else for all of their needs. They are entrapped in a large prison. It isn't right. Nor is the Palistinians response by violence but then the Isreali's don't seem to care.They are in the superior position and are following normal human conduct. We see the same conduct in prisons the world over. Except for Norway.