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Archive photo Photo: Haim Tzach
Archive photo Photo: Haim Tzach
 
 

Rights and obligations

If Arab-Israelis refuse to assume national duties, they must be deprived of rights

Haim Misgav
Published: 11.01.07, 07:15 / Israel Opinion

The Arabs who hold Israeli ID cards don’t really want to be a part of the State of Israel. Their fathers, the ones who did not abandon their homes during our War of Independence, certainly made the right decision. Indeed, David Ben Gurion instated emergency laws that included military rule in Arab communities, but the passing years changed things. In the 1960s, all bans were lifted and today the Arabs enjoy all the pleasantries of the Jewish welfare state ,without being obligated to give anything in return.

 

Their ratio within the general population grew dramatically – and not just because of the high birthrates of Arab women. Games of “family reunification” more or less got the job done in this area as well. At the same time, the gates of the High Court of Justice opened up to them, or to pretend-not-profit-organizations who seemingly placed the protection of civil rights at the top of their agenda.

 

Their language was recognized as an official language of equal status to Hebrew, and their Knesset members enjoy all the freedoms customary in the modern world, including the right to lash out at the Jewish State’s official institutions, flag, national anthem, and anything that is dear to those who established the Jewish people’s national home here.

 

I do not reject, heaven forbid, the Arabs’ right to fight for what they believe in. They certainly do not feel part of the Jewish experience.
It’s possible that if I was Arab and faced their situation, which is not simple at all, I would act like them. However, I’m a Jew in a state that in its constitutive document declared that it is meant to serve as a national home for the Jewish people, and that this state was establish here of all places, where Jews have historic rights. It was not established in Uganda or Argentina, but rather, here, right where the prophets of Israel preached thousands of years ago in favor of the principles of justice, morality, and equality while most other nations were still climbing on trees. Neither Christians nor Muslims existed at the time.

 

It’s true that the Declaration of Independence talks about civil rights for all residents, regardless of religion, yet today nobody should allow those who wish to eliminate the Jewish State, either within it or outside of it, to succeed in their scheme.

 

We have no other place

We cannot expel anyone from their home, of course, even if they do not wish to take part in carrying the burden inherent in the existence of a modern state, be it via military service or in other ways. Yet we can certainly create a mechanism that would deprive citizenship or other rights, such as the right to be elected to parliament, from those who only wish to remain connected to the National Insurance Institute’s allowances, for example.

 

I’m sure that anyone who reads this will immediately raise the issue of the ultra-Orthodox or other population groups uninvolved in carrying the burden. To all of them I say this: Those who do not assume any burden must pay a social price for it, in order to maintain solidarity. It is impossible that only some citizens pay with their personal freedom, and in some cases with their lives, while others only enjoys the benefits.

 

Just like we’re willing to pay for the protection of an individual’s constitutional rights – for example, by annulling indictments or acquitting those harmed by law enforcement authorities – we should also come to the defense of the Jewish national home.

 

We, the Jews, have no other place. This is our only state. Because of it, Jews all over the world can feel safe. They know they will always have a place to run to if needed. Therefore, we must not be forgiving.

 

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