When It Comes to Territorial Compromise, Israel Doesn’t Have a Choice

According to the widespread conventional wisdom on both the left and the right in Israel as well as among Israel’s allies and detractors internationally, the Jewish state faces a difficult choice: either cede territory and the security it brings in order to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, or risk the continued conflict, terror, and international opprobrium that come with holding on to the West Bank. Max Singer, however, argues that there is no choice at all:

While there are undoubtedly peace-seeking Palestinians, as a community the Palestinians have not even begun to discuss the possibility of making a peace that accepts Israel and ends the Palestinian effort to gain all the land “from the river to the sea.” Nor have they begun public discussion of the possibility of most of the “refugees” settling outside Israel. Without debate among Palestinians, there is no way they can give up their determination to destroy Israel and make a genuine peace. . . .

A true two-state solution would finally defeat Palestinian and Arab efforts of a century, and they are not yet ready to accept defeat. Whatever disagreement there is among Israelis about how much land, if any, Israel should give up in order to bring peace, that disagreement is not what is standing in the way of peace. . . .

Many Israelis argue that we have to find a solution for our conflict with the Palestinians, and some insist that the problem is urgent (“Peace Now.”) But the experience of Israel’s first 60 years should teach us that patience is an advantage and perhaps even a necessity. What entitles us to have a solution available?

This is not to argue that the status quo does not have dangers. Israel is not safe. We are strong but also vulnerable, and quite capable of making decisive mistakes. But eagerness to settle our conflict with the Palestinians will not make us safe. . . . Keeping our home here requires that we accept dangers and human costs of all kinds.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Peace Process, Two-State Solution

Why Haredi Jews Are Enlisting in the IDF

Unless it can get an extension from the Supreme Court, the Israeli government has until the end of March to formulate a law requiring more haredi Jews to serve in the military. This always contentious issue has become more contentious still with the IDF’s recently announced plan to extend the term of service for male conscripts from 32 to 36 months and to require reservists to spend more time in uniform. All this in addition to the unprecedented demands placed on reservists since the war began and the greater dangers to which troops are being exposed.

At the same time, the war has changed haredi attitudes toward the IDF and the Jewish state, leading some 2,000 young haredi men to volunteer. Cole Aronson interviewed several of them, and describes the attitudes he discovered:

Nobody I spoke to described enlisting as rebellion. These men are proud to serve and proud to be haredi. It is doubtful that their community’s leaders share this dual pride.

They do not care for the Z-word, but the new haredi soldiers I’ve spoken to sound remarkably like pre-state Zionists. Meir of Bnei Brak says he enlisted for the sake of “unity, responsibility, and re’ut.” The Hebrew means “friendship,” but “solidarity” may be more apt in context. However much Jews disagree about their spiritual destiny, they share a physical fate so long as they share a physical home. Of his recent decision to enlist, Meir Edelman of Beit Shemesh says that “this isn’t Zionism, it’s survival,” citing the main justification for the ideology in opposition to the ideology itself.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Haredim, IDF, Israeli society