By Ron Jager
Last week, we sadly witnessed rioting and violence yet again in eastern Jerusalem. Local Arab residents used lethal weapons against Jewish neighborhoods, Jewish motorists, and police and military forces. Jerusalem’s Arab residents are trying to destroy any semblance of co-existence in Israel’s capital city. We are dealing with a minority that is positioning itself to supersede the Palestinian Arabs in a complete rejection of Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Israel must acknowledge that a large minority of more than 280,000 Arab residents in Jerusalem are fighting from within Israel’s borders against Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. Even if a negotiated settlement is agreed upon in the conflict with the Arab world and with the Palestinian Arabs, this will be the next major conflict used by the global coalition of delegitimization to attack Israel. East Jerusalem’s Arab citizens are not interested in “the ’67 borders with land swaps”—they are seeking no less than transforming all of Jerusalem into a Muslim city.
East Jerusalem’s Arabs are demanding a recognized status of their Palestinian Arab identity and are rejecting their status as Israeli citizens. Their goal is to erode the biblical and historical role in Jewish history in the context of Jerusalem, aiming to annul any Jewish connection to the city. The Jewish nation-state is illegitimate in the eyes of the main camp within East Jerusalem’s Arabs, even if a Palestinian Arab state is established alongside Israel.
Their strategy is to attack the Jewish presence in Jerusalem from the inside, using all democratic means of the state and of society, in the name of democracy, pluralism, and human rights. Their use of universal messages such as “a state of all its citizens” hides a wholly different purpose: an attempt to establish a bi-national state on the ruins of the Jewish state, which will gradually change its demographic balance by rejecting the Law of Return (for Jews) and adopting the right of return (for Arabs), starting with Jerusalem.
Despite their growing integration into Israel’s society and economy and the ensuing prosperity unprecedented anywhere in all of the Middle East, East Jerusalem’s Arabs are committed to undermining Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem in its current format and rejecting her status as the eternal capital of the Jewish nation.
Yet, in all honesty, we should ask ourselves: Does the conduct of East Jerusalem’s Arabs seem any different from that of other minorities worldwide? Actually, it seems that East Jerusalem’s Arabs are a special case. We are not dealing with just a majority and a minority, but rather a minority with the mentality of a majority vis-à-vis a Jewish majority with the mentality of a minority. East Jerusalem’s Arabs are not holding on to their Israeli citizenship based on a desire to form a joint Israeli identity. For them, the joint identity’s objective is to water down the state’s Jewish democratic identity. The determination not to lose their citizenship stems from the realization that no Arab regime will grant them the high standard of living and free lifestyle that they can maintain in Jerusalem.
This doctrine is especially prevalent among the younger and more educated Jerusalem Arabs, who have adopted the belief that their struggle against the Jewish nation-state and Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem is part of their collective Palestinian Arab identity. They see nothing contradictory in benefiting from the fruits of the land of milk and honey while working towards Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state.
East Jerusalem’s Arabs are increasingly electing radical representatives, and their elites are committed to the more radical version of the struggle against the Jewish state. In the political arena, the radicals are almost the only ones who are given public expression, held in high esteem as role models. The Israeli public, for the most part, is fed media-generated messages by Israel’s left, brainwashing us to reconcile ourselves to this outcome. A major result is that Israel affords more freedom to sympathize with the enemy than what is granted to any minority in any democratic state in the world. With rioting and violence reaching the very heart of many Jewish neighborhoods located adjacent to East Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods, this must come to an end.
We must recognize that this is the reality Israel is facing and not let the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs or with ISIS distract us from this ever-increasing threat to Israel as the home of the Jewish nation with Jerusalem its eternal capital. We must thwart their aim to transform Jerusalem into a Muslim city. Yet we should not delude ourselves about the nature of their struggle. As Israel prepares for the new challenges posed by the radical Islamic forces, whether in Gaza, Lebanon, or opposite the Ramat HaGolan, we must make it more difficult, if not impossible, for East Jerusalem’s Arabs to transform themselves into in-house agents of the Palestinian Arab struggle against Israel. v
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic adviser to the chief foreign envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.ronjager.com.