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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some Perspective on Israel

In 1948, after after six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, the United Nations created the country of Israel. The land that Israel occupies was a territory though not a country at the time Israel was created. The Palestinians, those that occupied then what is now Israel, were the proverbial red headed step children of the Middle East. They were treated as second class citizens wherever they migrated to. Often, the host country kicked the Palestinians out. It wasn't but a year before the new country of Israel faced its first war. It would become one of many. Israel has faced a war with nearly each of its "neighbors", and it continues to be under constant threat of annhilation each and every day.
Israel is a country the size of Rhode Island. The Middle East is an area three times the size of the United States. Despite its infinitesimal place in the overall area of the Middle East, most of its neighbors seem to think that is far too much. What has Israel done to deserve the venom of its neighbors? Despite having far fewer natural resources than most in the Middle East, tt is by far the most bustling economy in the Middle East. It is the only true Democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it is Israel that offers the most rights and freedoms of any nation in the Middle East to both Arabs and Muslims. In fact, Palestinians themselves enjoy far more rights and freedoms in Israel than in any other nation, including the territory of Palestine. Despite having about 8 million folks living there, Israel maintains one of the world's five best military forces. It is the only place in the Middle East with a truly free press, free thought, free religious expression, and free speech.
Israel's parliamentary style government has four different political parties all with enough clout to be able to contribute to holding power. Israel long ago elected a female as its leader. (Golda Meier)
It is for all of this that Israel has become the scourge of the rest of the Middle East. A place full of despots, tyranny, and where civil rights are routinely violated, has made this one beacon of Democracy the scourge. It seems to the intolerable zealots that occupy far too much of mainstream thought in Middle Eastern Muslim thought, even a place the size of Rhode Island where Judaism can flourish, is a place too large to exist.

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