Out of the rains in Portland come some of my thoughts concerning Israel, my other homeland. Sixty years of striving for peace while still being productive is a true miracle, but hard on its citizens.
Israel has it a lot rougher than other countries have had it. I note that other countries have a war and then make up and become best of friends. Look at the relationship the USA has had. We’ve had wars with Mexico, Germany and Japan. Now we are friends with all three. Going back even farther, we were at war with England, and they are now our best friend. England and Ireland are finally at peace. Germany was fighting all of Europe and now is a major player with them all. Japan and China fought each other. They’re not now.
However, Jews started fighting with Arabs in the days of Abraham. That was in the days of underpopulation, when it was important to have many children. The custom allowed for taking more than one wife in order to accomplish this goal. That spelled out trouble. Sarah, Abe’s first wife, decided that her handmaiden Hagar’s son was a rascal and was a bad influence on her newly born son, so insisted that Abraham send them both away, proabably back to Egypt. That caused Hagar and her son to almost be killed and resentment was the outcome that was never softened. Much later in the 6th century when Mohammed began his crusades, Jews wouldn’t convert, being happy with their own religion. Many suffered from the sword or avoided the death penalty by converting. Jews finally were allowed to live in Arab countries but as 2nd class citizens. A few managed to do well, but again; many didn’t. The original jealousy has been hanging over our heads ever since.
America is a Christian country. Jews are only 1% of the population. Muslims are probably a little less than that. Other religions may be here but are of very small percentages. In Israel, Muslims make up 20% of the population which was established to be the one Jewish state in the world. The Democatic country has managed to accomodate them, but already has three Muslim political parties attending the Knesset meetings. Any growth in this area and Israel will be in danger of losing its original purpose. Many Arabs are trying to push for a one state situation and allow all the descendants of Palestinians who fled the area in 1948 to return. It is a grand plan to drown Israel. Yet, a two state solution means annexing land from Israel to become Palestine. Here I am comparing Israel to the USA, and Israel is about as big as Rhode Island, or about 1/3 the size of Oregon. Neither solution is good, as far as I can see.
I am sunk into depression thinking of the huge piece of land next door called Jordan. They are so much bigger, already Muslim, and could hold the Palestinians so much easier than we could. Our land is so small compared to other places, yet our government with Rice in the lead wants to chop off part of it in order to appease the Palestinians.
Jordan became Jordan because a sheik knew enough to yell loudly that he wanted some of the action, and he was given the land about at the same time that Israel was created again. Why one shiek had so much influence on Britain is amazing to me, when Israel had to jump through hoops to get the decision through the UN that they were declared a state. Perhaps they thought of big oil reserves there.
Israel has no oil. We wanted the land worth nothing. Nobody had done anything with it. It was either an arid desert or a slimy swamp. It shouldn’t have had to have been fought over. Now that Israelis have worked it, and it is a garden of Eden again, Arabs want it.