Looking at a World Without Israel
So you think that Israel should be replaced by a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea? That Israel should cease to exist as the world’s only Jewish nation-state — and the only democracy in the Middle East — and be replaced by a country with a Palestinian majority? Have you thought about what would happen if Israel disappeared? You center your debate on whether Israel has a right to exist. Perhaps we should instead imagine the hypothetical replacement of Israel with a Palestinian-majority state, and answer some obvious questions:
What would happen to the six million Jews who live in present-day Israel? Can they count on a Palestinian-led government to protect them? Will they feel safe? Will they be safe? And if they don’t feel safe and need to flee, where will they go? Arab countries expelled them, and surely won’t allow them back in; Europe tried to annihilate them and remains a hostile environment for Jews. Perhaps Jews could flee to North America or other places that are not as hostile, but it’s quite a lot to demand of a people to give up their homeland.
What will happen to gay people who live in Israel — both Jewish and Arab? Israel has a thriving gay community, as one of the most liberal countries in the world. LGBT people have full legal rights in Israel. Yet Palestinian and other Arab governments have at best ostracized gays, and at worst imprisoned and killed them, and have been known to throw gay people off rooftops.
What will happen to women? Women in Israel have full and equal rights. Women in Arab countries are treated as chattel and second class citizens, often punished severely for daring to exercise rights that Muslim men take for granted.
What will happen to minority groups? In Israel, non-Jewish minorities have full legal rights. They can vote, are members of the Knesset, and sit on the Israeli Supreme Court. In Arab countries, non-Muslims (and Muslims of the wrong sect) are not full citizens, and never treated as equals. They have no voting rights, no right for governmental representation, and restricted rights in many other aspects of life.
Who will take over as leading the way in providing disaster aid to the rest of the world? Israel has a long, valuable, and proven track record of helping countries in disaster situations. Arab countries have no record of helping. In fact, they often don’t honor the rare pledges of money or help that they do make.
How will the government of the new country be formed? Despite opportunities, Palestinians have never formed anything but a kleptocracy fueled by foreign aid and terror. Elections haven’t been held in the West Bank in over a decade, and the government in the Gaza Strip obtained power through a violent takeover. Will Jews have any role in the new government? How will Palestinians and Jews work together with such a long history of animosity?
What kind of government will be formed in the new country? Will it be a democracy, as Israel is? Almost no Arab state is a democracy. Will it be a dictatorship? Will it be a military-run government? Will it be a theocracy? Will there be any place in the government for non-Arabs or non-Muslims?
What will happen to Jews who don’t live in Israel, and live as minorities in their host countries? Will Jews return to times like World War II, where they had no place to go in desperate situations? Will Jews once again be weak, downtrodden, and vulnerable in their host countries? Will the new country help Jews living elsewhere in any way?
What will happen to the tremendous first-world economy that has been developed in Israel? Israel is a major incubator of cutting edge technology that helps the world immeasurably. Arab countries have little or no record of helping the world with any kind of product invented by them. No Arab economy is thriving, and many in the Arab world live in squalor.
It’s not enough to argue about what may or may not have happened in Israel 70 years ago, 100 years ago, or 10 years ago. Certainly, Jews can argue their rights to the land on many levels. But those advocating the replacement of Israel by a Palestinian state need to consider the above.
There is room for compromise, but replacing Israel should not be an option. To replace Israel with yet another oppressive dictatorship with few or no human rights or protections for minority rights would be a catastrophe. It would not be good for anybody — not Jews, not Arabs living in Israel, and not the rest of world.
Eric Margules is a real estate investor and Founder/President of Margules Properties, Inc.