Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 

The Campaign Speech That We Didn’t Hear by Israel Zwick

The Campaign Speech That We Didn’t Hear
by Israel Zwick

The major candidates involved in Israel’s upcoming elections have been busy giving interviews to the media and making speeches. However, the speech below went unnoticed by the popular media. It is the speech that we really need to hear.

My Dear Friends:

Our beloved and beleaguered State of Israel is approaching a critical juncture in its brief, but turbulent history. Our Prime Minister continues to lie gravely ill, never again to return to public life. While his policies in public office have always been controversial, he has made significant contributions to the security and welfare of our state. He has risked and devoted his life to building a strong and secure state for the Jewish people. For this we owe him our respect, admiration, and gratitude. We extend our consolation to his family and pray that the final days allotted to him will be spent in peace and comfort.

In a short time, the citizens of Israel will be going to the polls to elect a new government and Prime Minister. We will be electing a new generation of leaders, raised after our country achieved its independence. The new leaders will have to learn to navigate the turbulent sea that our nation has entered. As we chart our course for the future, we cannot forget the lessons of the past, lest we are condemned to repeat the same mistakes.

In May, 1967, our tiny nation of only 22,000 sq. km. was threatened with annihilation by our much larger and more populous Arab neighbors. So in June, 1967, our military forces were compelled to launch a pre-emptive strike to ensure our survival. In the ensuing battles, we not only defeated our enemies, but we liberated our historic lands that were illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967. During that time, Jews were evicted from lands where they lived for thousands of years. Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and historic sites in Judea and Samaria were intentionally desecrated and destroyed by the Arab occupiers. Jews were denied access to our holiest sites in the environs of Jerusalem and Hebron. During that period, while Jewish rights were so blatantly violated, there was not one word of protest from the international organizations that today express so much concern for the rights of Arabs living in Judea and Samaria.

After our victory in June, 1967, we proclaimed liberty throughout the land for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The liberation of the land also gave us control over a population of about 2 million Arab Muslims and Christians. We gave the Christians and Muslims control of their respective houses of worship and holy sites. At the same time, people of all faiths were able to visit all the religious and historic sites found throughout Judea and Samaria. Outdoor concerts in Bethlehem were attended by large numbers of people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. In contrast to the oppressive occupation by Jordan and Egypt, the lands of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Sinai, were now open to tourism, settlement, and economic development to people of all faiths. Religious freedom for all was guaranteed and welcome.

Unfortunately, the halcyon days were short-lived. Though the Arab population in the territories received health, economic, and social benefits from their association with the State of Israel, they refused to live under the flag of Israel. They proclaimed that they were “victims of Israeli aggression’’ and perpetrated numerous, barbaric terrorist attacks against the Jewish population in the guise of “waging a battle of liberation from the harsh, Israeli military occupation.” The other Arab and Muslim countries supported their “struggle for liberation” and the international community refused to recognize Israeli control of the territories. Even our sovereignty in our capital city of Jerusalem was questioned. Despite all efforts by the State of Israel to live in peace with our Arab neighbors and accommodate their demands, they continued to wage a relentless war of virulent hatred and horrific terrorism against our people.

Today, as we approach elections in our free and democratic society, we again are facing an existential dilemma. We would like to maintain the identity and character of a small, Jewish state without controlling the lives of 3 million Arabs. It would be nice if we could separate from the Arab population, but that is not a viable option. It is impossible to effect a complete separation in such a small territory. Any land that we relinquish would be prohibited for Jewish settlement and would be used for hostile actions that would jeopardize our existence.

It should not be necessary to carve up our historic lands into inaccessible parcels in order to achieve peaceful coexistence with the Arab population. The State of Israel should maintain control of Judea and Samaria as well as regain control of Gaza. To the Arab population, we make the following offer: “We extend our hand to you and say ‘Sholem Aleichem.’ We invite you to share in the peace and prosperity of the State of Israel. Let us put down our weapons and combine our efforts to build a land of freedom, equality, security, and economic opportunities. We offer you a commonwealth government modeled after Puerto Rico, or some other form of non-sovereign governmental arrangement. We can build joint institutions of peace that would promote tourism, develop commercial enterprises, develop natural resources, explore alternative energy sources, and share health facilities. Together, we can build a free, and prosperous nation that would benefit all its inhabitants, of all faiths and ethnic identification.

However, if you still refuse to live under the blue and white flag of the State of Israel, we will still try to accommodate your nationalistic aspirations and preferences. That does not mean that we will tolerate your violence or allow you to threaten the existence of the Jewish state. Instead, we will assist you in your decision to live under another flag of your choice. We will provide your family with compensation for your property, transportation to a country of your choice, and a financial stipend to help your family get started in your new home in another country. Under no circumstances will we tolerate incitement and violence against the peaceful inhabitants of the State of Israel and its commonwealth territories.”

My dear friends, we will not achieve peace and security by abandoning, relinquishing, and retreating from our historic and religious homelands. Of what value is peace, if it costs us our pride? How can our hearts be at peace if our ancestral lands must become Judenrein, prohibited to Jews but open to people of other faiths? Of what value is security if it costs us our dignity? Security doesn’t mean traveling in bulletproof vehicles on special roads that are lined with tall concrete barriers. Security means that our children will be free to follow in the footsteps of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, without fear of reprisal.

So my friends, when you go the polls next week, don’t vote for the illusion of peace and security that will only lead to more violence and bloodshed. Vote instead for true peace with Jewish pride, and security with dignity. Cast your ballot for retaining the YESHA territories, establishing an Arab commonwealth government in the territories, and encouraging emigration of Arabs who refuse to accept peaceful coexistence.

Comments:
Very good, Israel.
 
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