Israel: Separating State And Religion

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 24, 2014 in News & Opinion |

There is a great deal of discussion in Germany at the moment, over how to handle to present crisis in Israel and the Gaza Strip. On the one hand the level of retribution being handed out by Israeli forces at the behest of the government for the murder of three young men, coupled with the continued shelling by Hamas of Israeli territory has earned some considerable criticism. The apparent targeting of civilians, including children playing on a beach and at least one hospital, suggests that there is considerably more to the political and military aims of the Israeli government than mere protection. On the other hand the level of support for the Jewish people is being reiterated.

Is it possible to condemn the level of violence, of rising death tolls in Israel and Gaza without bringing religion into the game? In Germany it would appear not. Many politicians, whilst regretting the level of violence on both sides, are forced to side with the Israeli government – and that despite a call from the United Nations for investigations into possible war crimes – because of German history. They are forced into this position because the Israeli State is a Jewish one, and it is illegal – in many cases – to make comments or statements which might be construed as being anti-Semitic.

And yet it is clear that Israel is protecting not so much the Jewish faith as their own homeland, or the land that was given back to them by the British. Is the Jewish religion being attacked, or the Israeli nation? Why must the two be brought into one pot as if they are exactly the same?

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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1 Comment

  • Chris says:

    It’s a very tricky business indeed. Remember that there are extremists on both sides, who in spite of what they may say, do not want a permanent peace with each other at all. Sadly the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, however, would be perfectly happy with peaceful co-existence.

    As long as there are Israelis, who say more or less that all the land in the Middle East that we want is ours by God-given right anyway and we will build where we like. Anyone who criticises us is anti-semitic and probably a Nazi, so all you democratic governments should arrest him.

    And as long as there are members of Hamas, who say all we want is to destroy Israel and while there is a woman’s skirt to hide behind, or a group of children to shield us, we will continue to fire our rockets at Israel, there is only one way to reach a peaceful conclusion:

    The Palestinians themselves would have to deal with Hamas and the Israelis themselves with their Zionists, or other extremists. Then, of course, both extremist groups would scream that they are defending their particular religions and that makes the murder of civilians perfectly legitimate.

    Sorry, if the above is a trifle confused.

    By the way, it was the General Assembly of the U.N. who recommended the partition of Palestine in 1947. Britain had the mandate over Palestine an carried the partitioning out.

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