Jewish State vs State Designed For The Protection Of Jews
Corey Gil-Shuster has an interesting YouTube channel which he uses to ask Israelis and Palestinians various questions. I'd like you to watch this video of a thoughtful young Israeli discussing the fact that Palestinians won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
I think part of the problem of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict stems from the fact that there is no commonly agreed upon definition of what it means to be a "Jewish State". Different people may interpret this Israeli demand in different ways, and a new formulation of this "demand" may clarify the situation and narrow the gap between what Israelis demand and what Palestinians would be willing to accept.
The problem is that the phrase "Jewish State" may be interpreted to mean that Israel must forevermore ensure that a majority of its population is Jewish. It may actually require more than maintaining a simple majority Jewish population for Jews to ensure that they remain in power. Some Israelis might be uncomfortable if the Palestinian population rose above 40 or 45%. Whatever the ultimate percentage figure is agreed upon as necessary to keep Jews in power, this formulation of Jewish Statehood is racist and leads to worries about every new Palestinian entering the country and, more importantly, every new Palestinian baby being born. This formulation will understandably be resisted by Palestinians--if I were a Palestinian and if I believed that this is what Jewish Statehood meant then I certainly wouldn't sign onto it.
But this formulation is unnecessary. Instead of demanding that Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish State", Israel should demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a state "designed for the protection of Jews." This would sidestep the problem that arises from the racist requirement that Israel be forevermore a Jewish majority state. Of course, in order for a state to be internally secure... in order for Jews to not feel threatened by their Palestinian neighbors, Israelis must ensure that its Palestinian citizens feel like they are truly equal citizens. That means a continuous forceful campaign against Price Tag terrorists. They need to be tracked down and jailed with as much vigor as Palestinians who commit terrorist attacks against Jews. It also means reform of Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinians or make them feel like second class citizens. A Palestinian must, for example, have the same right to buy and use state land as a Jew. And if a Palestinian who lives within the Green Line marries a Palestinian from Gaza or the West Bank, then his or her spouse should have the right to live within the Green Line pending a security clearance. The more Palestinians feel like equal and valued citizens, the less hostility they will have toward Jews and the more Israel can live fulfill its function of being a state designed for the protection of Jews.
I discuss the concept of "Jewish State" vs "State designed for the protection of Jews" in more detail here.