Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Independence 66

Today is Israeli Indepence Day. Happy 66th Israel!

In ten years people will look back and say that this is the year when things turned around, when the redemption wagon got back on track. What I mean to say that Israeli society and the region at large is in the middle of some major changes.

The Arab states in the region are in a state of turmoil, some on the brink of disintegration. The so called "Arab Spring" has not brought about the democratic revolution that many had hoped for. I think that it would be fair to say that these societies are just not ready for democracy. It seems that they are doomed to be ruled over by violent autocratic regimes for the near future.

It is becoming increasingly clear to an increasing amount of Israelis that giving up territory to Arabs will not bring peace. This was obvious to me, long before the failure of the Oslo Agreements, the "disengagement" and the latest Fatah-Hamas unity agreement. New ideas, such as Naftali Bennett's Stability Initiative, are seriously being considered:

Israel is becoming more religious:

More than half of Israelis define themselves as secular (53%), 26% as traditional and 21% as haredi or religious. Among young people aged up to 34, 30% define themselves as haredi or religious, while among adults over 50 only 15% define themselves as such. The high percentage of haredim and religious among those aged 34 and under is due to the greater number of children in religious and haredi families than in secular families.
Another important milestone will be the passing of a law defining Israel as a Jewish state:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced his intention to submit a new Basic Law to the Knesset, enshrining the State of Israel's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and attacking attempts to undermine the country's Jewish identity.

"The Declaration of Independence sets, as the cornerstone in the life of the state, the national Jewish identity of the State of Israel," the Prime Minister said.

However, he continued, "To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right. They seek to undermine the historic, moral and legal justification for the existence of the State of Israel as the national state of our people."

"One of my main missions as Prime Minister of Israel is to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the national state of our people. To this end, it is my intention to submit a basic law to the Knesset that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel's status as the national state of the Jewish people."

Mark my words: this year is a pivotal one.
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