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A Jewish and Democratic Solution to the Arab Problem

By. Prof. Paul Eidelberg April 17, 2002 - Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, Jerusalem

Let us state at the outset that no Government of Israel is going to expel the country's one million Arabs who reject Israel's existence as a Jewish state. Even if the Government were so inclined-which can hardly be contemplated-no Arab state will accept these Arabs. (This also applies to the Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.) So, what should be done to save the Jewish state from a burgeoning and hostile Arab population?

The only way to solve Israel's "Arab problem" is to make the State of Israel increasingly Jewish and proud on the one hand, and authentically democratic on the other! This will result in a steady emigration of Arabs and, at the same time, erode the nationalist ambitions of their party leaders. The question is: How can this be accomplished? Most commentators will say: "Increase the Jewish content of public education." Of course, but no less important, indeed, utterly essential, is the radical reform of Israel's political and judicial institutions. Here, in brief, is my proposal that has been adopted by Yamin Israel.

First, democratize Israel's parliamentary electoral system so as to increase the impact of Jewish convictions on those who make the laws and policies of the State. The only way to do this is to make legislators individually accountable to the voters in multi-district elections - the practice of 74 democracies. Understand this well: The current system makes the entire country a single electoral district in which parties compete on the basis of proportional representation. This makes every vote count in apportioning Knesset seats. As a consequence, virtually every Jewish party seeks the support of Arab voters, which can only be purchased by compromising Jewish national interests. (Oslo is the result of the Labor Party's dependence on the Arab vote.)

Second, reduce the number of parties in the cabinet by raising the parliamentary electoral threshold to 4%. This will enable the Government to pursue more coherent and resolute national policies. (Even better, replace multi-party cabinet government with a presidential system.)

Third, democratize the method of appointing the Supreme Court, which has become a self-perpetuating oligarchy whose decisions diminish the Jewish character of the state. Yamin Israel proposes presidential nomination of judges with confirmation by the legislature.

Fourth, enforce the Foundations of Law Act 1980, which was intended to make Jewish civil and criminal law "first among equals" vis-a-vis the foreign systems of jurisprudence used by the Supreme Court.

Fifth, enforce Basic Law: The Knesset, which prohibits any party that negates the Jewish character of the State. (Overbearing Arabs would be humbled while unassertive Jews would be heartened if Arab parties were expelled for violating this law!) Also, enforce the 1952 Citizenship Law, which empowers the Minister of Interior to nullify the citizenship of any Israel national that commits "an act of disloyalty to the State." (Yamin Israel would amend this law by clarifying the term "act" in such a way as to protect freedom of speech and press.)

Sixth, rescind large-family allowances, with the understanding that the Jewish Agency will assume the function of providing such allowances to Jewish families, while Arab philanthropic agencies may do the same for Arab families.

Seventh, rescind the "grandfather clause" of the Law of Return, which has enabled hundreds of thousands of gentiles to enter Israel.

Eighth, enfranchise Israelis living abroad.

Ninth, expose on national and international forums, any Arab state or entity that publishes anti-Jewish propaganda. Similarly, castigate CNN and BBC, whose "moral equivalence" in reporting the Israel-Arab conflict is but a fa?ade for Jew-hatred. This will not only uphold Jewish national honor but elevate the sinking moral standards of contemporary democracy.

Tenth, phase out U.S. military assistance to Israel (now less than 2% of the country's GDP), as well as American participation in Israel-Arab affairs. Both undermine Israel's material interests as well as Jewish national pride.

Add MK Michael Kleiner's proposal that Arabic cease to be an official language of the State. This will counter the anti-Zionist idea that Israel is a bi-national state or that it should be a "state of its citizens."

The above solution to the "Arab problem," which I have abbreviated, avoids two simplistic and unrealistic alternatives. As already indicated, the expulsion of Israel's Arab population is politically impossible. On the other hand, no sensible policy can be based on the remote possibility that Arabs will soon forsake their 1,300-year autocratic tradition and become liberal democrats. The problem is not to change the Arabs but to change Israel, whose laws and institutions should be made more democratic, more Jewish, hence more conducive to Jewish national pride.