Accordingly, because a homeland is not only territory but a primal element of personal and national identity, the division of the Land of Israel into two states is not only the sole political solution, it is also a moral imperative. Those who nibble at the territory of the Palestinians, as the State of Israel is doing now in the territories, are obliged to know that they are plundering and infringing the very essence of the inhabitants’ identity – and who better than we know, from Jewish history, how precious the national and religious identity was to the Jews and how much they were willing to sacrifice for its sake.( A.B. Yehoshua )
How can we get along without war? Its a supreme question. After all, fighting has been the most natural mode of human expression since the inception of recorded history, the oral tradition. And the improvement of the weapon our principal occupation. But, its easy to be dismissive of war and armed struggle as a total evil. After all, Christendom survived its darkest hour in the fury of the Battle of Tours. We can’t regard the way of war as good, but its been our way. To this point, war has simply been our only means of final arbitration despite the waste and folly of this eternal contest.
A.B. Yehoshua:There is no more problematic concept in regard to Jewish identity than that of homeland (moledet ). Yet, a primal and natural connection to a homeland is a cornerstone on which every national identity is constructed. The connection to territory overrides in importance both shared national language, shared religion and, certainly, a shared historical context. Without a primal connection to a homeland – which is often compared to the primal maternal bond – national identity is shaky and hollow….
…But Jewish national identity both amazed and disturbed the world by its lengthy survival, despite a fundamental and core weakness of the concept of homeland which it bears; the more so, because the complex Jewish attitude toward homeland continues, to some degree, to nourish anti-Semitic enmity…. Read More:http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/dividing-the-land-of-israel-into-two-states-is-a-moral-imperative-1.388861
We see today that insoluble quarrels are rending people’s once united by territorial purpose. Insoluble conflicts splitting nations once allied by a common dream. How can we get along without wars and weapons and not slide into anarchic conditions and bandit societies? Have we within our human resource the capacity to discover new dreams, new dynamisms or are we irreparably burdened by illusions and pathetic rationalizations of the human condition that we can acknowledge no destiny other that blind blundering towards an inexorable end? Still, despite the unpromising portrait we have achieved many wonders in a relatively short time regarding civilization so were are not creatures bereft of promise.
…Hence, the Jewish people was not forged in its homeland, nor was the Torah received in the homeland but in the desert, an interim region between the diaspora and the designated homeland. This is exceptional: there are very few nations whose physical and spiritual identity was not forged in their homeland. After the destruction of the First Temple, the exiles in Babylon sang with intense emotion, “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.” However, when after only 40 years the king of Persia called on them to return to their land and rebuild the devastated Temple, only some of them agreed to return to the Land of Israel, and before returning hurled angry words at their brethren who remained voluntarily in exile….
But, civilization is a compensatory consequence of our killing imperative; the one could not exist without the other. It is at best a jerry-built structure, highly unattractive. Yet, however humiliating this path may be, humanity, beset by anarchy, banditry, chaos, and extinction must in last resort turn to that chamber of dull horrors, human enlightenment. There is nowhere else to turn. If we are to survive without war or conflict, this structure must be seen as the court of last appeal.
…During the 600 years of the Second Temple period, more than half the Jewish people started to wander across the ancient world, enfeebling the element of the physical connection to the Land of Israel. Although the Jewish national identity and religion did not forgo the element of a homeland, it rendered the concrete homeland virtual. Hence, the Jews also played down the value and importance of the homeland element in other nations, whose countries looked to them like a chain of inns and hotels, in which the Jews, polite guests, passed from one to the other, whether by volition or by coercion. …
But the choice is not ours. So it seems. Never to be forgotten, to be neglected, to be derided, is the inconspicuous figure in the quiet back room; sitting with head bent, silent, waiting, listening to the commotion in the streets below; the keeper of the kinds. Who is this figure? We do not know. Nor shall we ever. A presence. That is all. But a presence evident in the last reaches of infinite space beyond our probing eye. A presence asserted in all things that ever were, and in all things that will ever be. And the command is unanswerable, the identity unknowable but the ancient concern is with order.
…Through the doctrine of Yavneh and its sages, the virtual homeland increasingly took root in the Jewish identity. The halakha, or Jewish religious law, which made do with only ten Jews for a prayer quorum, made possible the most astonishing national dispersal in human history. It was not only a historical dispersal but active and dynamic, and remains so to this day – from Afghanistan, Iran, Bukhara and Uzbekistan through Romania, Turkey, Iraq and as far as Yemen and North Africa, the entire Mediterranean Basin, to Russia with its peoples and satellites, Eastern Europe and westward. And, of course, upon the discovery of the American continent, the Jews, too, hurried to cross the Atlantic and dispersed across the New World, north and south, as far as the Land of Fire. Nor were remote South Africa, Australia and New Zealand left out by the Jews….
Where a child is born, or a man lies dead; where life must go on, though tragedy deny it; where a farmer replants fields again, despoiled by flood or drought; where people rebuild cities that have been destroyed; where tides must ebb as tides have flowed; there one can discern the footprints. The figure does not care about you, or me, or humanity for that matter. The figure cares only for order, but whatever the directive is, we should follow through. The figure is rising now, in civilization’s quiet back room, and is looking out the window.
…The “virtual homeland,” in the cultivation of which Jews have excelled throughout their history, generally was looked at askance, to put it mildly, by the other nations. After all, it is understandable that people do not like to have their home considered a permanent guest house for strangers, even if they are polite and peace loving, and highly efficient and productive, as the communities of Jews generally were in all the lands of their dispersal in the past and present. Accordingly, when the secular nationalist identity of these nations grew stronger, and the sense of homeland became a critical element in them, in many places the theological reservations of the past turned into concrete hatred. The “loyalists of the virtual homeland” were compelled to try to transform their countries of residence into true homelands in terms of their identity, whether by assimilation of one kind or another, or – if there was no other choice – by making the virtual homeland a concrete homeland….
…However, the Land of Israel was already then the homeland of the Arab inhabitants, and it makes no difference whether at the inception of Zionism the Palestinians defined themselves as a separate nation or as part of the larger Arab nation. The marshes and wastes of Palestine were part of the identity of its inhabitants, just as the desolate Negev is part of the identity of the Israelis, who will not give up a single boulder-strewn hill there. Could the Jews have retained, by remote control, a historic right to the Land of Israel during the hundreds of years when they were absent from it? Is that even possible? The only moral right to transform the virtual Jewish homeland into a concrete homeland in the Land of Israel stemmed solely from the distress of a nation which had been condemned to death. Indeed, in practice this old-new homeland saved hundreds of thousands of European Jews who arrived in it after the Balfour Declaration, in a period in which the gates of America and other countries were closed to them. …( a.b. yehoshua )