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Book: Jews

Chapter: 15. Can Israel be a Jewish State - and, if so, for How Long?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.35996


For the Palestinians, the concept of Israel as a
Jewish state is anathema. Such a stance is based
on the determination to ensure that Palestinians
would, like Jews, have the same right of return.
In support of his opposition to recognizing Israel
as a Jewish state, the President of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, stated in January
The Palestinians won’t recognize the Jewishness of the
State of Israel and won’t accept it. The Israelis say that
if we don’t recognize the Jewishness of Israel there will
be no solution. And we say that we won’t recognize
or accept the Jewishness of Israel and we have many
reasons for this rejection.
The Israeli government, however, is determined
that Israel should be a Jewish state, fearing
that the Palestinian Authority seeks to establish a Palestinian state next to Israel while at the
same time flooding Israel with millions of refugees.
From its nineteenth-century beginnings,
the Zionist movement was determined to create a
Jewish state in the ancient homeland. After centuries
of persecution, the Zionists were convinced
that Jewish survival could only be assured if the
Jewish people had a country of their own. That
conviction remains a fundamental principle of

Chapter Contributors

  • Peter Cave ( - pcave) 'The Open University and New York University (London)'
  • Dan Cohn-Sherbok ( - dcohn-sherbok) 'University of Wales (Emeritus Professor) and Rabbi'