But can it really last? The Palestinian population throughout the country is growing rapidly, soon enough it will constitute the majority. The idealists who embrace this as the "One-state Solution" believe that the Apartheid State will slowly turn into a "state of all its citizens".
If, after decades of oppression, civil war, atrocities and other plagues this really came into being, it would quickly turn into a Palestinian state, with a Jewish minority, like the Whites in present South Africa. It would be a negation of the whole Zionist enterprise, whose core purpose was to have one place in the world where Jews would be a majority. Most Jewish Israelis would probably emigrate.
For an Israeli, this would mean national suicide. Yet it is the inevitable outcome if the state continues on its present course.
IF A person wants to kill himself, as is his right, he has many ways to do so: poisoning, shooting, hanging, jumping from the roof etc. As a state, Israel also has several options.
Apart from the external ticking bomb (the "One-state Solution"), Israel also has an internal ticking bomb, which may be even more dangerous. Like the first option, the second one is already well on its way. If the first option depends at least partly on outside factors, the second is entirely self-made.
When Israel came into being, Orthodox Jews were a small minority. Since Ben-Gurion needed them for his coalition, he gave them some privileges which looked cheap to him. The Orthodox got their own education system, financed by the state, and were exempted from army service.
Some 60 years later, these privileges have grown to gigantic dimensions. To compensate for the lives lost in the Holocaust, and to increase the Jewish population, the Israeli government has encouraged natural increase by generous children's subsidies. Since the religious of all shades have reproduced much more than any other Israelis (except Muslim Arabs), their part in the population has grown by leaps and bounds.
Orthodox families generally have 8-10 children. All these go to religious schools, where they study exclusively religious texts and don't acquire any skills useful for working in a modern society. They don't need them, since they do not work at all, devoting their entire lives to the study of the Talmud. They don't need to interrupt their studying of the dead texts, because they don't serve in the army.
If these were marginal phenomena in the early days of the state, they are now rapidly leading to a national emergency. Right from the beginning, almost all government coalitions have relied on the religious parties, because no party has ever won an overall majority in the Knesset. Almost all governing parties had to bribe their religious partners with ever increasing subsidies for children and adults, thus encouraging the growth of a population which neither serves in the army nor does any work.
The absence of the Orthodox from the labor force has severe effects on the economy, attested to by world financial institutions. Their absence from the army -- as well as the absence of the Arab citizens, who are not drafted for obvious reasons -- means that soon almost half the male population will not serve. This compels all the others to serve three full years, and then to do reserve duty for many more years.
Also, very soon, half the first grade pupils in Israel will be religious children, destined for a life without work, without paying taxes or serving in the army -- all this paid for by the taxes of the diminishing number of the non-Orthodox.
Recently, after deepening unrest between religious and non-religious in Bet Shemesh, 25 km west of Jerusalem, the secularists demanded that the town be divided into two, one half Orthodox and the other secular. The Interior Minister, himself a leader of an Orthodox party, rejected this outright. As he candidly explained. since the Orthodox do not work and cannot pay municipal taxes, they cannot sustain a town of their own. They need the secular to work and pay.
This grotesque situation exists throughout the state. One can calculate when the whole edifice will come crashing down. International financial institutions as well as Israeli experts foretell disaster. Yet our political system does not make any change possible. The hold of the religious parties is as strong as ever.
Another method of suicide.
A THIRD method is less dramatic. Israel is rapidly becoming a state in which normal people just may not want to live.
In his monumental opus on the Crusades, the late British historian Steven Runciman maintained that the Crusader state did not collapse because of its military defeat, but because too many of its inhabitants just packed up and went back to Europe. Though many of them belonged to the 4th and even 8th generation of crusaders, the Crusader state had lost its attraction for them. The state of perpetual war and inner stagnation drove them out. The state collapsed when many more went away than came to join.
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