Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict

Judea, a second Jewish State

Jewish society is deeply split. On one hand, many Jews believe that preserving Eretz Israel within the boundaries of the Promised Land is the Jews' utmost obligation. That Jewish opinion is valid, since it is based on Torah, and some degree of adherence to the Torah is that which makes Jews Jews. Other Jews, mostly secular-minded but some deeply religious Jewish people as well, believe that no Israeli territory is worth the life of a single Jew, since the commandments were given the Jews for life, not for death.

Both kinds of Jews have many other valid arguments. While Jewish adherents of the Eretz Israel argue that only acquiring all the Promised Land fulfills the Jewish nation’s destiny, the opposing Jews just as reasonably point to the practical impossibility for Israel of attaining the goal of Eretz Israel in the foreseeable future after Israel transferred Sinai to the Egyptians. Israel conquering Jordan and Iraq to the Euphrates is a long way off. If Jews cannot fulfill the covenant promise now, why kill a lot of Jewish and Arab people and spend a lot of Jewish money for the Arab territories, which have no value in themselves and, except Sinai, lack significant defense value for Israel? Jewish opponents of the Eretz Israel-now goal believe that economic growth of Israel unhindered by Arab-Israeli war would be a better source of Jewish national pride, prevent emigration from Israel, and attract Diaspora Jews to Israel.

The Israeli government vacillates between those views on the future of Israel. One Israeli government builds a tremendously expensive Bar-Lev line to protect Israeli Sinai forever; another Israeli government gives up the land, biblically and strategically important for the Jews, for paper guarantees of Egyptian-Israeli peace. One Israeli government encourages and finances Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories; the next Israeli government dismantles the Jewish settlements. Such wild swings of Israeli policy indicate the relative balance between two Jewish visions of Israeli goals and the impossibility for Israel of bringing the two types of Jews together.

That is only natural, since anybody’s worldview is just a set of axioms. Some Jews believe that the size of the Land of Israel the Jews control is more important, while other Jews believe that preserving Jewish life and its quality take precedence. It is almost futile to argue about Jewish axioms, which are matters of conviction.

Israel, however, cannot have two mutually exclusive policies. Under pro-expansion Israeli governments, even the Jews who do not want more territory for the Jewish state have to fight and die for it, as well as suffer economically from Israeli taxes that finance Arab-Israeli war. Under conciliatory governments, Jewish biblical partisans watch helplessly as Israeli government gives the Eretz Israel away. In the long run, no Jews are happy with Israeli government. Everyone, both Israeli groups, want coherent Jewish leadership that shares their vision of Jewish destiny. That can be achieved.

In ancient times, two Jewish entities, Israel and later Galilee, formed an economically viable, cosmopolitan Jewish state. Judea, centered in the barren hills, was content with a subsistence economy, jealously guarded Jewish religion, and Jewish national consciousness. In our time, Jewish history repeats itself. Israeli zealots flock to kibbutzim and other Jewish settlements, where the priority is not economic development but preserving certain ideological goals and values—which many Jews do not share. Jews' military and fiscal obligations to Israel are also different. Everything is in place for a split of Israel into two Jewish States.

Judea would encompass the contested Palestinian territories, with the aim of eventual Jewish expansion into Sinai and all of Eretz Israel. Although Judea would not be economically self-sustaining in industry as Israel, Judea would get the lion’s share of material support that pours into Israel from Jewish people around the world. Jews of Judea could defend themselves against Arabs without great expense and depend on Israel and the West for last-resort protection against major Arab aggression.

Being a profoundly religious Jewish state offers Judea advantages in confrontation with Arabs which secular Israeli nation does not possess. Judea would be free to clear out Arab indigenous inhabitants. Following Jewish biblical guidelines, Judea could use military measures otherwise unacceptable in the modern world—though the nations that decry them were themselves established in fire and blood-and unavailable to Israel.

Judea can forget the notion of civil rights and obey Jewish religious law. Unlike Israel, Judea can afford to stop non-Jewish immigration, directly or through inter-marriage of Jews with gentiles, and limit non-Jewish Orthodox conversions and other Jewish Reform practices, which, though compatible with modern secular values, significantly water down the Jewish religious identity.

Judea could become a classic Jewish theocracy, organized along the lines of pre-kingdom Israel ruled by the judges, giving rabbis in Judea the judicial functions of the late Second Temple period onward. Judea could use Talmudic Jewish law, updated to accommodate present reality of Jewish life, instead of contemporary Israeli legislation. An influx of fresh Jewish ideas into the body of the Talmud would benefit the Jewish tradition and spark renewed interest of Jews in it. Judea’s official language would be the beautifully powerful biblical Hebrew, not the modern garbled Hebrew substitute spoken by Israeli Jews.

Israel could withdraw from the contested Palestinian territories, enjoy peace with Israel's Arab neighbors, and concentrate on rapid economic development of the Jewish state. That would win Jews some international respect. Israel could become the dominant Middle Eastern economy, replacing Switzerland, the United States, and Russia as the source of financial, technological, and military commodities and services to Muslims. Western powers will not compete with Israel for hegemony in a Middle East plunged in incessant wars between Arabs after Muslims lose the common Jewish enemy.

Relieving Israel of her war expenditures will let Israel work to recapture Jewish prominence in banking and trade, fundamental research and technology, and the arts.

Dividing Israel into two states, Israel and Judea, would not cause enmity among Jews, rather would eliminate the enmity currently brewing in Israel where whatever policy Israeli government chooses displeases about half the Jewish population. The division of Israel would let both Israel and Judea "specialize" and limit their liability. Israel would not be responsible for Judea’s expansionism, while Judea, financed by Israeli Jews, might disregard the economic consequences of its decisions.

Throughout history, anti-Semites have used the actions of a few Jews, from Zealots to tavern-keepers, to incriminate all Jews. Today all Jews are accused of maltreating Palestinians. Creating Judea would let Israelis shift the blame from the Jewish nation to a Jewish state which pays no attention to gentile opinion. Israel, which would have almost no problems with Palestinians, would become a good neighbor of Muslims.

With Judea siphoning off Jewish religious radicals, Israel could move away from Jewish theocracy. Jews who do not observe the whole of the Talmudic law may feel themselves not proper Jews, though keeping it precisely is virtually impossible under normal circumstances. Ignoring the Jewish rabbinical law identified with Jewishness pushes the Jews toward atheism and away from Israel. Israel could adopt Sadducean Judaism, which expects obedience only to the Torah’s explicit commandments to let Jews feel themselves fully Jewish.

Incompatible objectives of Jews