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Lebanon is not Israel

Reader comment on item: "Greater Syria" in the News
in response to reader comment: The reason for Lebanon's creation

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jan 27, 2015 at 07:17

Daniel Pipes replies:

Le petit Liban had that overwhelming Christian population but the local Christians agitated for Le grand Liban and fell immediately into a minority. That's the danger of wanting land regardless of who lives on it - a warning to Israel as well.

That is interesting, Daniel. Of course, the big difference between Lebanon and Israel, is that Israel's boundaries were dictated by God; Lebanon's are arbitrary. There was considerable debate within the Zionist movement in its early years, between those who wanted the homeland to be in "Palestine" vs. those who would settle for having it somewhere else, such as Uganda. As far as I know, it was Ze'ev Jabotinsky who held the minority opinion favoring Israel's current location. I don't know many details on this matter; but I believe Jabotinsky's reasoning was that if the Jewish homeland were not in the "Promised Land", religious Jews would never settle there. If that was his thinking, he was probably right. Today, the Jews most adamant about settling the whole land are the religious Modern Orthodox. Since aliyah is still a major contributor to the increase of Israel's Jewish majority, perhaps there is practical wisdom yet in this thinking. Half the world's Jews still live outside Israel; and because their situation is probably more precarious than they imagine, it may be a good idea to have the extra land just for that reason -- besides the obvious reason of the need for strategic depth.

My (Conservative) rabbi, in the days that I was studying conversion, expressed concern that if all the Jews lived in Israel, they would all be wiped out if there were a nuclear attack. That is a genuine concern. On the other hand, the majority of Jews outside of Israel died in the Holocaust; and if it weren't for horror at the Shoah coupled with the renewed interest in Judaism caused by the establishment of Medinat Israel, most American Jews today might already have assimilated.

It's worth remembering, also, just how Israel acquired all the lands the world want to rid them of: They were repeatedly attacked by all their neighbors, and won the lands as a prize. It was only after repeated defeats (and loss of land), that the Egyptians and Jordanians decided to make peace.

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