When Israel’s 64

David Horovitz wrote an op-ed for the Times of Israel today that is very much worth reading. He asked based upon Paul McCartney’s song essentially this question, “Now that we’re 64, what now?” Horovitz noted two domestic issues that Israel must address that are very relevant to We Are For Israel‘s mission and to most of our supporters personally.

The first is that the relationship between the Israeli government and Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism cannot be maintained:

The Orthodox – increasingly ultra-Orthodox – stranglehold on life-cycle events cannot hold. And the ad hoc arrangements that have produced, for the first time in Jewish history, an entire demographic sector that has abandoned the religious requirement to join the productive workforce, cannot be sustained. It is as untenable for the willfully ill-educated, impoverished members of the ultra-Orthodox community as it is for the rest of the society that is resentfully supporting them.

We Are For Israel and its supporters, overwhelmingly Reform and Conservative Jews, are certainly in agreement with David Horovitz on this. For Israel’s future and for the future of the Jewish people, Israel must become a place where all Jews are free to practice their faith as they see fit in peace and security.

The second issue that David Horovitz raised was that of borders. Horovitz stated that:

We can no longer afford to stave off the search for consensus on our physical dimensions…The refusal of most of our enemies to acknowledge our sovereign legitimacy and adopt policies for a viable reconciliation does not free us of our need to determine our territorial requirements, and to allocate resources accordingly…We need to encourage our people to live where their presence is vital, and tell them honestly where it is counterproductive.

Israel can no longer expect real negotiations to take place. The Palestinian Authority is in no position to enter real negotiations. Therefore, the argument that more isolated settlements and outposts are being allowed to grow unmolested by the Israeli government so that they may be used as bargaining chips in negotiations, as concessions by Israel, is becoming increasingly untenable. These settlements are each a battleground between those who wish to create a two state solution and those who believe it unworthy to try to achieve one. The government of Israel cannot continue to allow those who do not support its commitment to a peaceful two state solution designed to preserve and promote the Jewish nature of Israel from sabotaging that effort out of a fanatical idealism.

Does this mean that Israel should abandon most of the West Bank and concede? No, it means that Israel should determine what it believes its borders should be, or at least what it would like them to be, in a two state solution and then plan the settlement of that territory accordingly without expending huge amounts of resources on areas that not only may not be part of the state in the future, but may be a present strategic and/or diplomatic liability.

With growing concerns about the Egyptian-Israeli peace, the terrible situation in Syria, and certainly about the prospects of Iranian nuclear weapons, Israel has the ability to simply look away from the domestic issues. There are vitally important foreign policy issues. But at 64, Israel does not have the luxury of focusing solely upon foreign policy. In the words of Hatikvah:

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

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