right to work denied to non-jews...
[Editor.s Note: This article by Israel Shahak is definitely an eye-opener for readers outside of Israel who have been heavily influenced by the Zionist media in North America and Europe into believing that the Israeli state is the only real .democracy. in the Middle East. The situation there is precisely the opposite and a definite foreshadowing of what America and Canada will evolve into if we don.t put a stop to the Zionist agenda for our nations.]
Defining the Jewish State
from Chapter 1, A Closed Utopia?
Extracted from Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
by Israel Shahak
In a free state every man can think what he wants and say what he thinks. (Spinoza)
Israel Shakah is an Israeli Jew, born in Poland in 1933. He was incarcerated in Belsen and in 1945 moved to Israel. He is a retired Professor of Organic Chemistry and a life-long human rights activist, writing on aspects of Judaism in both Hebrew and English. Drawing on his study of the Talmud and rabbinical laws, Shahak argues that the roots of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism must be understood before it is too late.
Without a discussion of the prevalent Jewish attitudes to non-Jews, even the concept of Israel as .a Jewish state., as Israel formally defines itself, cannot be understood. The widespread misconception that Israel, even without considering its regime in the Occupied Territories, is a true democracy arises from the refusal to confront the significance of the term .a Jewish state. for non-Jews. In my view, Israel as a Jewish state constitutes a danger not only to itself and its inhabitants, but to all Jews and to all other peoples and states in the Middle East and beyond. I also consider that other Middle Eastern states or entities which define themselves as .Arab. or .Muslim., like the Israeli self-definition as being .Jewish., likewise constitute a danger. However, while the danger is widely discussed, the danger inherent in the Jewish character of the State of Israel is not.
The principle of Israel as .a Jewish state. was supremely important to Israeli politicians from the inception of the state and was inculcated into the Jewish population by all conceivable ways. When, in the early 1980s, a tiny minority of Israeli Jews emerged which opposed this concept, a Constitutional Law (that is, a law overriding provisions of other laws, which cannot be revoked except by a special procedure) was passed in 1985 by an enormous majority of the Knesset. By this law no party whose programme openly opposes the principle of .a Jewish state. or proposes to change it by democratic means, is allowed to participate in the elections to the Knesset. I myself strongly oppose this constitutional principle. The legal consequence for me is that I cannot belong, in the state of which I am a citizen, to a party having principles with which I would agree and which is allowed to participate in Knesset elections. Even this example shows that the State of Israel is not a democracy due to the application of a Jewish ideology directed against all non-Jews and those Jews who oppose this ideology. But the danger which this dominant ideology represents is not limited to domestic affairs. It also influences Israeli foreign policies. This danger will continue to grow, as long as two currently operating developments are being strengthened; the increase in its power, particularly in nuclear power. Another ominous factor is that Israeli influence in the USA political establishment is also increasing. Hence accurate information about Judaism, and especially about the treatment of non-Jews by Israel, is not not only important, but politically vital as well.
Let me begin with the official Israeli definition of the term .Jewish. illustrating the crucial difference between Israel as .a Jewish state. and the majority of other states. By this official definition, Israel .belongs. to persons who are defined by the Israeli authorities as .Jewish., irrespective of where they live, and to them alone. On the other hand, Israel doesn.t officially .belong. to its non-Jewish citizens, whose status is considered even officially as inferior. This means in practice that if members of a Peruvian tribe are converted to Judaism, and thus regarded as Jewish, they are entitled at once to become Israeli citizens and benefit from the approximately 70 per cent of the West Bank land (and the 92 per cent of the area of Israel proper), officially designated only for the benefit of Jews. All non-Jews, (not only Palestinians) are prohibited from benefiting from those lands. (The prohibition applies even to Israeli Arabs who served in the Israeli army and reached a high rank.) The case involving Peruvian converts to Judaism actually occurred a few years ago. The newly-created Jews were settled in the West Bank, near Nablus, on land from which non-Jews are officially excluded. All Israeli governments are taking enormous political risks, including the risk of war, so that such settlements, composed exclusively of persons who are defined as .Jewish. (and not .Israeli. as most of the media mendaciously claims) would be subject to only .Jewish. authority.
I suspect that the Jews of the USA or of Britain would regard it as antisemitic if Christians would propose that the USA or the United Kingdom should become a .Christian state., belonging only to citizens officially defined as .Christians.. The consequence of such doctrine is that Jews converting to Christianity would become full citizens because of their conversion. It should be be recalled that the benefits of conversions are well known to Jews from their own history. When the Christians and the Islamic states used to discriminate against all persons not belonging to the religion of the state, including the Jews, the discrimination against Jews was at once removed by their conversion. But a non-Jew discriminated against by the State of Israel will cease to be so treated the moment he or she converts to Judaism. This simply shows that the same kind of exclusivity that is regarded by the majority of the diaspora Jews as antisemitic is regarded by the majority of all Jews as Jewish. To oppose both antisemitism and Jewish chauvinism is widely regarded among Jews as a .self-hatred., a concept which I regard as nonsensical.
The meaning of the term .Jewish. and its cognates, including .Judaism., thus becomes in the context of Israeli politics as important as the meaning of .Islamic. when officially used by Iran or .communist. when it was officially used by the USSR. However, the meaning of the term .Jewish. as it is popularly used is not clear, either in Hebrew or when translated into other languages, and so the term had to defined officially.
According to Israeli law a person is considered .Jewish. if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person was converted to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion, in which case Israel ceases to regard them as .Jewish.. Of the three conditions, the first represents the Talmudic definition of .who is a Jew., a definition followed by Jewish Orthodoxy. The Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinic law also recognize the conversion of a non-Jew to Judaism (as well as the purchase of a non-Jewish slave by a Jew followed by a different kind of conversion) as a method of becoming Jewish, provided that the conversion is performed by authorized rabbis in a proper manner. This .proper manner. entails, for females, their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a .bath of purification., a ritual which, although notorious to all readers of the Hebrew press, is not often mentioned by the English media in spite of its undoubted interest for certain readers. I hope that this book will be the beginning of a process which will rectify this discrepancy.
But there is another urgent necessity for an official definition of who is, and who is not .Jewish.. The State of Israel officially discriminates in favour of Jews and against non-Jews in many domains of life, of which I regard three as being most important: residency rights, the right to work and the right to equality before the law. Discrimination in residency is based on the fact that about 92 per cent of Israel.s land is the property of the state and is administered by the Israel Land Authority according to regulations issued by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an affiliate of the World Zionist Organization. In its regulations the JNF denies the right to reside, to open a business, and often also to work, to anyone who is not Jewish, only because he is is not Jewish. At the same time, Jews are not prohibited from taking residence or opening businesses anywhere in Israel. If applied in another state against the Jews, such discriminatory practice would instantly and justifiably be labeled antisemitism and would no doubt spark massive public protests. When applied by Israel as a part of its .Jewish ideology., they are usually studiously ignored or excused when rarely mentioned.
The denial of the right to work means that non-Jews are prohibited officially from working on land administered by the Israel Land Authority according to the JNF regulations. No doubt these regulations are not always, or even often, enforced but they do exist. From time to time Israel attempts to enforcement campaigns by state authorities, as, for example, when the Agriculture Ministry acts against .the pestilence of letting fruit orchards belonging to Jews and situated on National Land [i.e., land belonging to the State of Israel] be harvested by Arab labourers., even if the labourers in question are citizens of Israel. Israel also strictly prohibits Jews settled on .National Land. to sub-rent even a part of their land to Arabs, even for a short time; and those who do so are punished, usually by heavy fines. There is no prohibition on non-Jews renting their land to Jews. This means, in my own case, that by virtue of being a Jew I have the right to lease an orchard for harvesting its produce from another Jew, but a non-Jew, whether a citizen of Israel or a resident alien, does not have this right.
Non-Jewish citizens of Israel do not have the right to equality before the law. This discrimination is expressed in many Israeli laws in which, presumably in order to avoid embarrassment, the terms .Jewish. and .non-Jewish. are usually not explicitly stated, as they are in the crucial Law of Return. According to that law only persons officially recognized as .Jewish. have an automatic right of entry to Israel and of settling in it. They automatically receive an .immigration certificate. which provides them on arrival with .citizenship by virtue of having returned to the Jewish homeland., and with the right to many financial benefits, which vary somewhat according to the country from which they emigrated. The Jews who emigrate from the states of the former USSR receive .an absorption grant. of more than $20,000 per family. All Jews immigrating to Israel according to this law immediately acquire the right to vote in elections and to be elected to the Knesset . even if they do not speak a word of Hebrew.
Other Israeli laws substitute the more obtuse expressions .anyone who can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return. and .anyone who is not entitled to immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return.. Depending on the law in question, benefits are then granted to the first category and systematically denied to the second. The routine means for enforcing discrimination in everyday life is the ID card, which everyone is obliged to carry at all times. ID card list the official .nationality. of a person, which can be .Jewish., .Arab., .Druze. and the like, with the significant exception of .Israeli.. Attempts to force the Interior Ministry to allow Israelis wishing to be officially described as .Israeli., or even as .Israeli-Jew. in their ID cards have failed. Those who have attempted to do so have received a letter from the Ministry of the Interior stating that .it was decided not to recognize an Israeli nationality.. The letter does not specify who made the decision or when.
There are so many laws and regulations in Israel which discriminate in favour of the persons defined as those .who can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return. that the subject demands separate treatment. We can look here at one example, seemingly trivial in comparison with residence restrictions, but nevertheless important since it reveals the real intentions of the Israeli legislator. Israeli citizens who left the country for a time but who are defined as those who .can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return. are eligible on their return to generous customs benefits, to receive subsidy for their children.s high school education, and to receive either a grant or a loan on easy terms for the purchase of an apartment, as well as other benefits. Citizens who cannot be so defined, in other words, the non-Jewish citizens of Israel, get none of these benefits. The obvious intention of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel, in order to make Israel a more .Jewish. state.