Home > Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Authority, West Bank, Yosef Rabin > Jewish college students should stress Jewish right to Israel in debates with Palestinians

Jewish college students should stress Jewish right to Israel in debates with Palestinians

 An Open letter to embattled Jewish college students:

 By Yosef Rabin

 I made Aliyah almost a year ago after having graduated from North Eastern Illinois University this past summer. After high school I was privileged to study in Israel for a couple of years and then went on to serve as a combat soldier in the IDF Netzach Yehuda 97th Battalion. I think it is safe to say that I have learned a thing or two in regard to defending the Jewish People and our inherent right to the Land of Israel.

When I was in university I watched as the pro-Israel group on campus was helpless against the onslaught of vile incitement and hate aimed at the Jewish State. I have seen a similar trend in universities across the US and I would like to suggest as to why this is. Pro-Israel groups talk about a lot of great things: Israel’s democratic values, the IDF’s unparalleled morality in battle, her right to self defense, Israel’s hi-tech and so many other wonderful aspects of the State of Israel. However, this is exactly the problem. The Arab sympathizers talk about one thing and one thing only, justice! They want the world to believe that they stand in the field of justice, while the Jewish People stand in the wrong. In a sense they are completely right; if we Jews came in and usurped their land, we would have no right to continue to be here. We would have no right to defend what is not ours to defend! However, if we Jews returned to our ancestral homeland and our bond to her stems from the deepest historical and religious grounds, then it is we who stand in the field of justice and they who stand in the wrong. You cannot mix apples and oranges and expect to win the debate; it does not work that way. Let me tell you: the audience will not buy it. They talk about justice, so you must talk about justice!

During my last spring semester in NEIU, a Jewish professor wrote a terrible anti-Israel/Jewish piece, which was published prominently in the university newspaper online and in print. He even went as far to write that Israel was “the greatest mistake of the past century” and that “in Judaism, land has never been holy.” Needless to say, the Jew haters rejoiced, and Jewish students were too stunned to speak. It was obvious that hitting back with the same old “Israel is such a wonderful democracy” was not going to work. That was not the issue at hand; the issue at hand was our intrinsic right to the land. I wrote back a very strong letter to the editor, which was published in both the print and online additions of the university newspapers.

In my letter I focused on one issue and one issue only, our right to the land through mainly history and through the word of our Torah. Considering that the two intertwine, I put strong emphasis on what the Torah has to say about our connection with the land, because you cannot argue against it. No one dares to tell the Christians how to run their affairs in Vatican City nor would anyone dare tell the Muslims what to do in Mecca, because it is sacred to them. There is no point in arguing about it, neither the Muslims nor Christians will give in regarding their sacred lands. After my letter was published, one of the leaders of the anti-Israel movement came to me with a confession. He said, “We gathered to talk about your letter and no one knew what to say…we were speechless. You were so adamant and passionate about your religious and historical connection to the land, what could we have said.” My friends, this is the key!

You must be unrelenting and declare without fear that the Land of Israel belongs solely to the Jewish Nation and that we arecommitted to the greatest act of justice by returning to our land! My friends, YOU MUST SPEAK WORDS OF JUSTICE! They may not agree with you, but they will respect you for it. It will change the nature of the debate and swing things in our favor. Jews must walk with their heads held high and not be apologetic in any way in calling for our return to our homeland. We have nothing to apologize about for building in Jerusalem, Chevron or Beit Lechem. Do NOT talk about the peace process; leave this to the politicians. Focus on one thing and one thing only, making sure everyone understands where you stand. IT IS OUR LAND AND WE HAVE RETURNED BY HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS VIRTUE. Please do not get me wrong – I am not telling you to demonize them, to stoop to their level – but I am asking you to stand up for what is yours.

For example, if the Arabs and their supporters have a demonstration about how Israel wants to harm the Dome of the Rock, which stands on our holy Temple Mount, you must respond! Respond not by calling for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, but, rather, rally for Jewish Rights on the Temple Mount! Speak about our connection to the place. Sadly, as a nation, we have completely forfeited our right to the Temple Mount. Think of this logically: if a Jew has no right to walk and pray at the site of his 3,000 year old holy Temple, what right can he possibly have in Tel Aviv, which just turned 100? In my humble opinion, this issue needs to be addressed quickly and unrelentingly – it must be front and center. We must restore Jewish Pride in the Land of Israel and we must begin with its foundation stone, which is the Temple Mount! I would like to start a worldwide campaign on this issue. I am certain that once Jewish students understand the religious, cultural and historical importance of the Temple Mount, they will passionately push it.

The Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel!

Letter to the Editor: A Jewish Voice Against Zionism
Issue date: 3/10/09 

Letter to the Editor (My response)
Issue date: 3/31/09 Read More

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Preceding was provided by the author

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  1. Anonymous
    July 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I have a question:

    I understand how important the land of Israel is to Jews, but what I don’t understand is why do they need a state in order to “claim the land”? For example, many times zionists and supporters of Israel will claim Israel has the right to annex a good portion of the West Bank (which, by the way, has been ruled to belong to the Palestinians by the International Court of Justice) citing how “holy” areas such as Hebron and Bethlehem are. But do they NEED to be under the control of the Israeli state? If they were under the flag of Palestine as opposed to the flag of Israel would it be such a horrible thing?

    You have to take issues of coercion into account. Would the coercion of Jews having to cross a line in the sand (state border) to get to their holy and historical sites worse than the coercion the Palestinians face having their lands lost to Israeli colonization (or eventually kicked off their lands in order to preserve a Jewish majority in the West Bank lands that would become a part of Israel)? I would think not.

    I don’t think the argument holds weight for one reason: it is absolutely ridiculous to promote the myth that a certain group of people have a special “right” to a land, especially if that group of people was not a majority on that land for centuries. Historically speaking, ethnic groups have moved around from time to time, intermarry with people outside their ethnic group, absorb and mingle with other cultures (why is it that Eastern European Jews eat potatoes while Moroccan Jews eat rice?), have their languages mixed with local languages (example: Yiddish = Hebrew + Aramaic + German + Slavic languages), and such. So the argument that a certain group of people have more of a “right” to a chunk of land than the people who live on that land now is almost a laughable notion. And even if those people do have a special connection to that land or those cities or whatnot, why does that group have to take up nationalist tendencies (in this case, zionism) and create their own little state? The State is not a refuge from oppression; it is a refuge FOR oppression. A group of people can live in a land just fine without creating a state from it. And if those people fall victim to oppression they should fight for their civil rights.

    From, a visitor who is very active in Palestinian rights. I like to check out zionist blogs and ask a lot of questions, for the record.

    • July 10, 2010 at 12:43 am

      > I understand how important the land of Israel is to Jews, but what I don’t understand is why do they
      > need a state in order to “claim the land”?
      They don’t and they never claimed any land. What they rightly claim is the age-old link that has existed from the time the Jewish people appeared over 3,000 years ago in the area where they flourished and defined themselves. There always were Jews living in the Holy Land in a continuous fashion since then. This continuous presence gives them the right to claim a deep link to the land. In modern times (turn of the century, what they did was to buy lands from Arab landowners and with the approval of Ottoman authorities. Despite these legitimate titles, the Arabs never accepted the presence of Jews in what they regard as Muslim land (never mind that the entire region belonged to the Byzantine Empire up until the 7th sentury when Muslim hordes conquered the whole region south and east of the Mediterranean Sea: that made them aggressors, invaders and occupiers, but who’s counting?…). When the UN decided to end the British Mandate over Palestine in 1948, it divided the land (most of it public land inherited from the Ottoman Empire) between the Jews and the Arabs. The Jews didn’t “claim” for more. The Arabs did. Actually, they claimed ALL of it and tried to kick the Jews out of their legitimate land holdings. So who’s the thief? In the process, the Arabs of course both made a huge mistake and gave Israel a fantastic gift at its birth: all the territory that could have been theirs was lost in the war of aggression that they waged, which Israel was therefore fully entitled to keep as the aggrieved party. Thank you, Arab world! Since then, they’ve tried to do the same thing several times and have lost even more land each time. Some people are a little slow sometimes. The fact that they were the aggressors each time means that they’re entitled to nothing. They attacked. They lost. It’s over.
      > For example, many times zionists and supporters of Israel will claim Israel has the right to annex a
      > good portion of the West Bank (which, by the way, has been ruled to belong to the Palestinians by
      > the International Court of Justice) citing how “holy” areas such as Hebron and Bethlehem are. But
      > do they NEED to be under the control of the Israeli state?
      Wow, wow, wow… You’re mixing up everything. First off, Israel has never annexed the West Bank. It annexed East Jerusalem and to a lesser degree the Golan, but not the West Bank. Secondly, it’s tried to give it back, but each time the Palestinians rejected the offer. What is Israel to do with partners who are both incapable and unwilling to make peace? As for the International Court of Justice, it has never said that the West Bank “belongs” to the Palestinians for the simple reason that there is no Palestinian State that it can belong to. The Court deals in international law. International law applies between Nation States. Israel is a Nation State. “Palestine” is not. It’s the Palestinians who keep repeating without any sense of shame that the land is “theirs”. It isn’t and never has been so far because there is no State of Palestine that it can be attached to. They can only make claims but as long as they don’t get their act together, make peace with Israel and start building their country, the West Bank cannot be attached to any country (except maybe Jordan, who doesn’t want to hear of it: they tried from 1948 to 1967 and they learned their lesson: let Israel handle that one, choukran very much). As to the Holy Sites of Hebron and Bethlehem, you’re mixing apples and oranges. Hebron is one of the oldest and holiest Jewish site. The reason it has to remain under the control of Israel is that if it reverted back to Arab (as it was under Jordan) or Palestinian control, there would be no freedom of worship any more for the Jews. Worse yet, the Palestinians have proven incapable of showing the minimum of respect for the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, going as far as desecrating and destroying parts of it whenever they had a chance. In other words, the Palestinians are too immature to be given the custody of Jewish Holy sites. As for Bethlehem, it used to be inhabited by a population that was 85% Palestinian Christian. Ever since it became part of the territories ceded by Israel to Palestinian Authority control (you didn’t know that? yes, a good chunk of the West Bank is actually under PA control), Muslim harassment and persecution has reduced that number to 15%. So much for Muslim tolerance and ability to let others live their faith freely, even among fellow Palestinians.

      > If they were under the flag of Palestine as opposed to the flag of Israel would it be such a horrible
      > thing?
      It wouldn’t be such a horrible thing at all, and Israel has tried several times to give the West Bank back to the Palestinians, as mentioned above, (especially in 2000 and 2008), but each time they turned down the Israeli offer because it wasn’t enough. 97% of the West Bank plus East Jerusalem was not enough! Well then, too bad. Their choice. The offer is off the table now. They should have taken it while it was being offered.

      > You have to take issues of coercion into account. Would the coercion of Jews having to cross a line in
      > the sand (state border) to get to their holy and historical sites worse than the coercion the
      > Palestinians face having their lands lost to Israeli colonization (or eventually kicked off their lands in
      > order to preserve a Jewish majority in the West Bank lands that would become a part of Israel)? I
      > would think not.
      I read this three times and still can’t figure out what you’ve been trying to say here. It makes no sense. There is no Israeli colonization, for one thing. The entire Middle East is the result of both the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and then the decolonization by European powers. If Israel is a colony, then so are Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, all created by the colonial powers without asking the opinion of the locals. There is no “coercion” (whatever you mean by that) on the part of Israel. Israel wants peace and has made unbelievable concessions to obtain it, to no avail. It has no other choice but to protect itself from Arab and Palestinian attacks. When Palestinian terrorism stops and when they stop their culture of hate (both explicitly banned in the Oslo Accords and the Road Map), the “coercion” will have no reason to be any more and will disappear.

      > I don’t think the argument holds weight for one reason: it is absolutely ridiculous to promote the
      > myth that a certain group of people have a special “right” to a land, especially if that group of people
      > was not a majority on that land for centuries.
      You’re right. So let’s be fair. We need to tell that to us Americans who “stole” the land from the Indians. We also stole much of it from the Mexicans, who had stolen it from the Spaniards, who had stolen it from the Indians themselves. Or maybe we should ask the Allawite minority in Syria to remove themselves from power. And what about the Chinese in Tibet? And the Moroccans in Western Sahara? Or the Turks in Armenia and Kurdistan? Need more? My point is: your argument is valid as long as you apply it uniformly and equally to all countries. If you don’t and choose only to harp on Israel, you’re practicing discrimination, not to mention racism and antisemitism. Congratulations.

      > Historically speaking, ethnic groups have moved around from time to time, intermarry with people
      > outside their ethnic group, absorb and mingle with other cultures (why is it that Eastern European
      > Jews eat potatoes while Moroccan Jews eat rice?),
      Beats me. Why is it that the Irish eat potatoes and the Italians eat pasta? Both are Catholic nations. It’s a mystery…

      > have their languages mixed with local languages (example: Yiddish = Hebrew + Aramaic + German > + Slavic languages), and such. So the argument that a certain group of people have more of a “right”
      > to a chunk of land than the people who live on that land now is almost a laughable notion.
      What is laughable is that you don’t get it: the Jews never meant to claim the whole land for themselves: they wanted nothing more than to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. Had said Arab neighbors accepted to do that, there would be peace and an incredible prosperity all over the Middle East by now. But because of their racist rejection of the Jews in their midst and their denial of the Jews’ right to maintain links with the land of their ancestors, they ended up forcing the Jews to fight them off, and in the process they lost. They have only themselves to blame. It’s about time they start taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions rather than blame everybody else, and preferably Israel, for all their failures.

      > And even if those people do have a special connection to that land or those cities or whatnot, why
      > does that group have to take up nationalist tendencies (in this case, zionism) and create their own
      > little state?
      You answered your own question (without realizing it, of course): zionism is nothing more than the national liberation ideology of the Jews, just like any other state on the planet developed its own liberation ideology (starting with most European countries and all third world countries). Why should Israel be the only one not allowed to have its own national liberation ideology? Again, I smell a double standard here…

      > The State is not a refuge from oppression; it is a refuge FOR oppression. A group of people can live
      > in a land just fine without creating a state from it. And if those people fall victim to oppression they
      > should fight for their civil rights.
      Great idea. You go tell that to the Kurds, the Armenians, the Tibetans, the Saharaouis, the Darfuris, the Bahais, and scores of other oppressed populations in the world (and I mean really oppressed, not the kind of measured occupation practiced by the Israelis: talk to some Darfuris, Saharaouis or Tibetans and ask them. I can guarantee you that they’d move in the West Bank to be under Israeli occupation in a flash if they could!).

      > From a visitor who is very active in Palestinian rights. I like to check out zionist blogs and ask a lot
      > of questions, for the record.
      That’s nice. How about Jewish and Israeli rights as well? They deserve the same rights as the ones you want for the Palestinians.

  2. greg
    July 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    i will take your advise and stand up publically for israel’s right to all their land.

  3. SueC
    July 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Excellent article!
    Hopefully your message will be spread. It is the one and ONLY message that can possibly stand against the anti-semitic and anti-Zionistic views that are rampant in this world.

  4. Linda Rivera
    July 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Arabs first started calling themselves “Palestinians” in 1967. Global terrorist, Egyptian Arafat was the first leader of this new people. Partner with Arafat for over 40 years; immorally respected by the US/EU-Holocaust denier, Abbas, financed the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games.

    Before 1948, Jews were known as the Palestinians.
    The Jewish newspaper, the Jerusalem Post was called the Palestine Post. The Jewish-founded electric company was Palestine Electric. The Palestinian Symphony Orchestra was all Jewish. During World War II, the British army had a Palestinian Brigade made up entirely of Jewish volunteers.

    After Jews migrated to Palestine in significant numbers in the late 1800s and miraculously transformed desert and swamps into rich, agricultural land, Arabs came in large numbers from Arab countries for jobs from Jews.

    The fact that the overwhelming majority of Arabs resided only briefly in Palestine is attested to by a one-time special UN decree: that any Arab who had resided in Palestine for only two years before 1948, and then left, would be considered a refugee and so would his descendants!

    Throughout history, people were never regarded as refugees if they had resided in a country for only two years because they were clearly citizens of other countries!

  5. Louise M. Smith
    July 2, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Double Amen!!! “Be strong and very courageous, for you shall apportion to this people the land that I swore to their fathers to assign to them.” Joshua 1:4 “So you, gird up your loins, Arise and speak to them All that I command you Do not break down before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 The prophet Ezekiel said that all Jews will return to Israel in the last day: “They shall know that I the Lord am their God when, having exiled them among the nations, I gather them back into their land and LEAVE NONE of them behind.” Ezekiel 39:28 The Lord will send “hunters” and “fishers” to seek out His people and draw them back to Israel. Jeremiah 16:15-16

  6. Larry
    July 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Genesis 15:18

    On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying:
    “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates –
    Do you believe that Israel is entitled to take all of Greater Israel? If not, why not?
    Look at a map of that area. Do you expect American support for this?

  7. JaimeInTexas
    July 2, 2010 at 8:46 am

    From the New Testament perspective, from a Chrisitan theological point of view, Vatican City is a non-issue. It exists, as a political entity.

    To be clear, I do support Israel’s right to exist just as I support a people’s right to self-determination including the Palestinians and, even, the North American indigenous peoples, etc. I do pray for the peace of Israel. For Palestinians to argue the Jews have no historical connection to that piece of lands is not just dumb, it is stupid, and does not help their cause.

    These are honest questions that I would like to pose to observant Jews:

    1) The Law of Moses and the Prophets makes it clear that possession of the land is contingent on the descendants of Jacob/Israel observing The Law. Do y’all consider that Israel since 1948, has been faithful to The Law?

    2) When the Elders of Israel opted to have a king, as God had given such an option, is Israel in rebellion by not having a king?

    I have other questions but these 2 will suffice.

  8. RICHARD PLUTH
    July 2, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Amen and amen- as a Christian I cannot agree more!! G-d has deeded the land to the apple of His eye and let NO ONE take it away!! Stand fast in the truth and don’t back down. G-d bless you and keep speaking truth to power. Shalom!

  9. Fivish
    July 2, 2010 at 3:30 am

    The writer is correct. Its a pitty the politicians dont understand. International Law and Treaty as well as the Bible and Koran all testify to the Jewish right to ‘Palestine’.
    Politicians have very badly let down the Jews in their attempt to appease evil.
    They have learnt nothing from a century of duplicity and anti-semitism.
    Perhaps there is hope with people speaking up with the truth.

  10. July 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Missing Links have been restored to article

  11. shlomo
    July 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    where can that article be seen?

  12. Cheryl
    July 1, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Great article – keep it going you are doing what we should all be doing; making our voices heard the right way! Todah shalom

  13. July 1, 2010 at 1:45 am

    bs”d

    “Zion BaMishpat Tipadeh Veshaveha Betzdaka.” Zion will be redeemed with Justice and those who return to her with Righteousness.

    Yosef Rabin has hit it on the nose. This is not a matter of politics. Let us talk about Allah (G-d). Who owns the Land? G-d does! Let us talk about who has entitlement to the Land (Covenant between G-d and our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to their seed). Let us talk about Jewish obligations on the Land (Mitzvoth) that will bring peace and prosperity to mankind and raise the level of sanctity to the world. Let us talk about the dangers to those that trespass on what is not rightfully theirs. Kohanim, Jewish Priests must safeguard their space. Levites the same. No one is permitted to trespass under penalty and fear of their lives. Palestinians have nothing to gain and everything to lose if they take illegal possession that which is not meant for them. They suffer and the world suffers. Thank you Yosef for your excellent points in this open letter. I just hope that it becomes widely read!!

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