Israel is still a young country with many social problems. For many Israelis it is a day of barbecues, plastic and inflatable hammers, foam sprays, vandalism and pollution of public parks with garbage, accompanied by high decibel Oriental Music (Israeli "Arse" Music) bursting one's ears. This year it will be the same pollution and vandalism, which is so much part of the celebrations of Independence Day. It is also a living hell for many household pets who run away from the various firework displays. Who knows how many pets will be abandoned during this time?
The other side of the coin is Al Naqba (The Catastrophe) observed by Palestinians in the occupied territories. It is also observed passively by the Israeli Arab community.
The streets of Israeli cities, towns and settlements are bedecked with Israeli flags as well as blue and white streamers. In contrast to this, in the Israeli Arab towns and villages it is business as usual with no Israeli flags visible anywhere.
The question that should come to one's mind is: Where have we failed to create a feeling of a common patriotism for Israel so Independence Day can be part of the Israeli heritage for all its citizens irrespective of race, colour or creed?
Al Naqba should be viewed as part of the history of Israel's establishment alongside the Zionist narrative. Symbols of Israel's people should be part of a common patriotism which could unite both Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. It would create more tolerance and understanding among all Israel's citizens. Lately there have been vandal attacks on mosques and churches by various extremist right wing religious Jewish groups. The most notorious being Price Tag (Tag Machir). All this is caused by lack of education and tolerance towards those who are not Jewish. Racism in Israel is on the increase.
Before the actual Independence Day celebrations, it would be positive for Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel to sit down and discuss each other's history. Ways of creating a common loyalty so that both the Zionist and Arab narrative of 1947/48 should be aired in a feeling of openness between the two peoples. The South African model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as was carried out under the patronage of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, be adapted for all Israelis to create healing process, would go a long way to establish a common patriotism.
The next step would be finding symbols that would give Israeli Arab citizens a feeling of identity with Israel. It could be an olive branch or a symbol representing the three monotheistic faiths. These are symbols that recognize the diversity of Israel's people and at the same time create a sense of patriotism common to all.
Celebration of Israel's Independence Day is very partisan when 20 % of Israel's citizens do not identify with Israel.
A common patriotism must begin on the first day at school. Education should be the same for all pupils. Arabs and Jews should be encouraged to go to the same schools. The only time justifying separation is when it comes to religious classes. This is the case in schools overseas where Jewish children learn Tanach, Christian children-the New Testament, Muslims-the Koran. The amount of time devoted for religious studies should be decided by the school committee composed of members of all faiths. Citizenship studies should be the same for all groups.
The biggest problem to initiate a common feeling of patriotism is how it should be done. This would involve total re-education of teachers to guide the transition towards a common patriotism. Programmes for teacher training to receive the tools on how to achieve this would go a long way in reaching this goal. It cannot be done overnight, as the wounds of the conflict and its history runs very deep, and as mentioned earlier in this article, a process of healing based on a truth and reconciliation programme would be a good start.
In many western countries (of which Israel claims to be part), schoolchildren of all faiths pledge allegiance to their countries of birth. This sense of allegiance irrespective of race, color or creed is part of a common patriotism for all citizens.
It could be achieved here in Israel. The advantages are great. One positive aspect would be a total negation of the claim that Israel is an apartheid state which would improve Israel's standing in the world. This would also bring much needed peace closer between Israel and the Palestinians as all Israel's citizens will be united in the desire to end the occupation and reach a just peace with security for all.
When the feeling of a common patriotism is achieved, we will see Israeli flags in Arab villages alongside bunting symbolizing all Israel's citizens' unity imbued with a common pride for the country of their birth.
When it comes to Iran trying to procure nuclear weapons, the Persian Gulf emirates are just as nervous about that as Israel is. The Wikileaks showed the Persian Gulf emirates encouraging Washington, D.C. to make a preemptive strike on Iran. Iran having nuclear tipped missiles could hit those areas faster, then they could Israel. For Saudi Arabia just arrested an Iranian spy ring operating within the country. Also, Iran broke off diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan, a Shiite Muslim nation that has close diplomatic ties with Israel. I have seen text books in the West Bank and Gaza, and they are not saying "go and kill a Jew," also they are expanding the teaching of Hebrew in Gaza schools. I do not think for telling an Israeli "you are dead," but could be for Hamas to see into the future, when Gazans and Israelis will be interacting on a business level. They already did, when Gazans farmers were at the Eshkol Agricultural Expo in Israel. So this doomsday prophecy could sound great for building up anti-Arab/Muslim hatred. But that hatred got Pamela Geller banned for speaking at a Long Island synagogue. If Mahmoud Abbas had such a hatred for Jews, he would have never shook hands with Benyamin Netanyahu. We want Israel to be strong, but not strong to the point, that is says the only good Arab is a dead Arab. Because no one regardless deserves to die.
Sussan - I dont see why you say that. It exists because of Israeli determination, intelligence and its powerful army and of course Arab incompitance.
Israel is a Jewish Zionist country for all its citizens. The holidays celebrated are the Jewish ones, the traditions kept are Jewish but all citizen have equal rights. The creation of the State of Israel is nothing less then the fulfillment of the Zionist dream of 2000. The Arabs never recognized Israels connection to the land and still do not. The Nakba calls this beautiful event a catastrophy and negates the Zionist dream and the underpinnings of the country, it has no place in the public education system. Unfortunately, the Israeli Arabs have done little to contribute to the growth of on eof the strongest, most prosperous liberal democracies in the world. If they were to change their attitude and try to be part of the state they would have real reason to celebrate.
About Israeli-Azerbaijani relations:
Tim - not sure why you insist on added irrelevant historical facts to a conversation, do you think it makes you seem smarter... You constantly bring in irrelevant information taht just makes these conversations less focused and more bloated, why?
Was it irrelevant to say that Iran is an Arab country?
Actually very relevant. That is my point, if a mistake liek taht was made and is important for you to correct because it changes what I said then please do. Where did I make this mistake though? Tell me and I will gladly appologize, because it is relevant.
You are getting yourself too overly worked up.
Not an issue of worked up, just trying to steer the conversation in a more focused manner, it feels a little condescending and frustrating to keep getting history lessons on random topics in the middle of a debate. I am just asking you please stick on topic. Its really not important to most people here how well read you are, just want your opinions on the issues.
Opinions are formulated by facts, and those facts come from many sources, including history. If we allow ourselves to get too emotional, it can close our minds. People who were removed from this website, allowed themselves to do just that, i.e., too emotional to start closing their minds. This topic can allow us to get emotional, but we have to watch ourselves with how emotional we get.
If frustration is an emotion then yes I am emotional. I am not talking about your opinions or beliefs just the irrelevant information you seem to constantly add. Just ask yourself before you post something if it is really relevant to the conversation. Thats it.
Dear friends, I have been reading the replies to the discussion on my article about a common patriotism, I was referring to Israel's Arab citizens who do not feel an integral part of Israel. I was thinking how this could be achieved in order to remedy the situation which would also strengthen Israel's resolve to make peace with her Arab neighbors. It would create a united front against those who wish to destroy Israel by going a long way to eliminate any underground activity against Israel which includes terrorism. At the same time it would weaken any Islamist extremism that is bent on Israel's destruction. Negotiations for peace would be between all Israel's citizens and its neighbours. As it is today there is a deep schism between Israel's Arab citizens and the Palestinians who view the former as collaborators with Israel because they did not flee Israel in 1948 and chose to remain in Israel and receive Israeli citizenship. These minorities do have a problem of being integrated into Israel even though they have Israeli citizenship. My article was about how to create a common all embracing patriotism which includes non-Jewish minorities who are Israeli citizens.