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Tom Shillue


Why Should Israel Be a “Jewish State?”

With peace talks underway between Israel and the Palestinians, Fareed Zakaria of CNN asked an inane question of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. Why, he wanted to know, does Israel insist on recognition as a Jewish state? Ambassador Oren helpfully explained that the adjective “Jewish” is a national, not religious, designation and that Israel has no official state religion.

Among the 80% of Israelis who count as Jews, many are not at all religious. Moreover, if Palestinian Arabs insist on a new, first-ever “Palestinian” state why should that national designation that’s just 50 years old get more recognition than a Jewish nationality that goes back at least 3,000 years?

If Palestinians retain the classic anti-Semitic assumption that Jews count as the only people on earth with no right to their own homeland, then the peace talks will go nowhere.

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