May 3, 2012
The Israel of the future needs to be forged today
Tzipi Livni quit the Knesset this week and offered parting words of warning that Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state is in danger. Having lost the March elections for leadership of the Kadima Party, the former peace negotiator and opposition leader who had served in Ariel Sharon’s government, opted to leave rather than remain a deposed giant.
The warning she offered though, rings with a deeper meaning than mere sour grapes. Livni is a long time advocate who was once one of the country's most popular leaders. She founded the centrist Kadima Party with the hawk Sharon, and was foreign minister for three years, when she also served as Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians. This is not the resume of someone who would wantonly take a mean jab at the country she loves. The warning means a lot more and anyone who cares for Israel must understand just what Livni meant and heed the message which might be an inevitable product of the circumstances the young Jewish state exists with.
Can Israel survive as a Jewish state? That is certainly the plan, and the desired destiny for Jews around the world who care and advocate for it, and especially for those living in the land. Yet, with no prospects for an end to the violence and constant barrage of attacks on all fronts, physically, politically and verbally, Israel faces an existence of unyielding war and attrition, which eats away, not only at the resources of the country, but the collective psyche of those who just want to live “normal” lives. That, with the fast pace of Palestinian births outnumbering that of most Israelis, Israel can find itself being closed in by a Moslem population that already has exhibited low tolerance for Jewish neighbors.
If Israel does not find an end to the unstable backdrop it is surrounded by, then time, fatigue, and sheer numbers can just as well close ranks on the lonely state, and it will cease to be a Jewish state.