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The Hatikva Conundrum

Reader comment on item: Israeli Arabs in High Places

Submitted by Zivia (Israel), Jun 1, 2007 at 06:45

Raleb Majadele is right, Hatikva - Israel's national anthem - was written only for Jews. I can see how Israeli Arabs would not feel inclined to recite it. It certainly doesn't make them feel included as part of the country. All I ask is that a non-Jew stand (like Mr. Majadele does) out of respect when Hatikva is recited. As an Israeli and a Jew, I would not feel insulted if a non-Jew did not say the words. I do get insulted when non-Jews do not observe the minute of silence the entire Israeli country observes on Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is tantamount to a slap in the face. (According to a poll conducted by the University of Haifa, 28 percent of Israel's Arab citizens believe the Holocaust never happened.)

Hatikva is just one of the many conundrums we live with in Israel. How do you have a Jewish state and make it inclusive for non-Jews? Maybe this is not possible. The fact is, though, that countries all over the world (including Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia where Jews are not even allowed to live or visit except under very special circumstances) experience the same problem when it comes to their treatment of minority populations. It is not unique to Israel. Different rules apply to different populations in most of the world, especially regarding immigration laws.

Jews have lived as minority populations in foreign countries for thousands of years and been subject to many discriminatory laws and actions. We have not tried to change the host country's constitution, official language or religious holidays. We have not blown up cafes and buses because we felt we were treated unfairly. In fact, in the great majority of cases, Jews living in foreign lands have made incredible contributions to their host countries.

There are Israeli Arabs and organizations who would like to ban Hatikva, change our observance of Jewish holidays and the Hebrew language, and a host of other things that make this country Jewish. Arab citizens of Israel deserve equal treatment when it comes to housing, jobs, schooling, health care, etc., but they must not insist on changing the Jewish character of Israel.

There is ONLY one Jewish state in the entire world and it is here to stay. Jews live here because they don't want to live as a minority in another country. If non-Jews in Israel don't like living as a minority in this country, they should consider moving to one of the many Arab and/or Muslim countries that exist in the world. They have many more options than Jews do.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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