Read carefully and you may realize that the word ‘occupation’ is being misused in leftist circles.
Most people consider the Arab occupation of parts of Israel simply an issue of national pride and not terribly significant. While it would be nice to liberate the Jewish lands under foreign control, it’s not essential. Let foreigners control the Temple Mount, Gaza, Shechem, Beit Lehem and other Jewish areas.
Who cares if Jews are too afraid to walk around inside their own country in places like Um El Fachem, Rahat and dozens of other Arab settlements. Who cares if we can’t visit the Mount of Olives, the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, unless we have a police escort? We don’t need to go to those places. It’s enough if we stay within the confines of Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, and other majority Jewish areas.
Just because Arabs feel comfortable going anywhere within Israel, doesn’t mean Jews have to feel the same way.
But I believe that when we soberly add up the high costs we are paying every day we live under foreign occupation, we will realize that the price is untenable and that so-called national pride is not a “luxury”, but a basic necessity. Here then is list of just some of the costs we pay.
There is arguably no greater surrender of Israeli sovereignty in the modern age than the Oslo Accords which yielded Gaza and much of Judea and Samaria to Arab control. In 2014 Manhigut Yehudit did a survey of what the Oslo Accords cost the State of Israel. It took into account the extra security costs required to defend against the onslaught of rocket attacks from Hamas controlled Gaza, the sharp decline in tourism and sharp increase in guards resulting from the explosion in terrorism, the huge spike in car thefts and more. The final tally? Almost one trillion shekels.
1. Transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority: NIS 88 billion
2. Extra cost to Israel’s security apparatus (ISA): NIS 37 billion
3. Extra costs to IDF: NIS 300 billion
4. Extra costs to the police and the damages from car theft: NIS 112 billion.
5. Added civilian security guards throughout Israel: NIS 220 billion
6. Construction of Separation Fence around territory transferred to Arabs NIS 4.7 billion
7. The cost to the economy of the wounded and murdered by terrorists: NIS 12 billion
8. The decline in tourism during the peak years of terror: NIS 150 billion
9. The cost of the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif: NIS 9.5 billion
Money is of course the smallest price we have paid for our subjugation. Since the founding of the state, Arab settlers have murdered 3,671 Israelis and injured 14,704. These figures include 222 children killed and 240 injured. On average, 52 Israelis are murdered every year and 210 are injured – many seriously.
This may be hard for Israelis to believe, but in all of North America, a land mass 1000 times the State of Israel, there is practically no area a Jew is afraid to visit just because he or she is Jewish. So why do Israelis have to feel frightened travelling in half of the Land of Israel?
Should the Arabs return to the countries they came from? Not necessarily. In my opinion, any Arab who truly recognizes Israeli sovereignty should be allowed to live in the Jewish State – just as Jews lived for centuries in Arab countries. Arabs who live in Israel should enjoy full rights and should not be treated like second class citizens (dhimmis) as the Jews were treated in Arab lands.
The Price of Shame
Even a lack of basic national pride has real world consequences. When the surrounding Arab states see that we allow local Arabs to occupy parts of our land, it gives them hope that they will on day (G-d forbid) be able to conquer the entire country. It can therefore be argued that all the wars against Israel, since the founding of the State, have been fueled by the Arab occupation. These wars have cost Israel over 23,000 lives and hundreds of thousands of injured.
A “Free” People in Our Land?
While today this may seem like a fantasy – imagine what it would be like if Israelis could walk around their land securely and worry free, just like a Japanese person feels like in Japan, a Swiss citizen in Switzerland or a Canadian in Canada. Imagine if we could travel to the North, South, East and West of the Land of Israel without being afraid of being stoned, knifed or shot? Don’t Jews have the right to feel free and secure in their own country, just like the citizens of the rest of the world?
As the saying goes – “it’s harder to take the Exile out of the Jews than the Jews out of the Exile.” After 2000 years of living as second and third class citizens in foreign lands, it is understandable that Jews find it hard to stand up for their rights in their own land. But as long as we grovel before the foreign encroachers, as long as we allow them to scare and control us, we will never be truly free.