Israel

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I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. ~ John Adams
I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. ~ John Adams

Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a parliamentary republic in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. Israel is defined as a Jewish and Democratic State in its Basic Laws and is the world's only Jewish-majority state.

Quotes[edit]

  • I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.
  • We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country we bought lands from the Arabs. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahalul, Gevat — in the place of Jibta, Sarid — in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua — in the place of Tell Shaman. There is no one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.
  • WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel".
    • Israeli Declaration of Independence (1948).
  • THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
    • Israeli Declaration of Independence (1948).
  • This life as a simple citizen and laborer has its benefits not only for the person himself but perhaps also for his country. After all, there is room for only one Prime Minister, but for those who make the desert bloom there is room for hundreds, thousands and even millions. And the destiny of the state is in the hands of the many rather than of a single individual. There are times when an individual feels he should do those things which only can and should be done by the many.
    • David Ben-Gurion, "Why I Retired to the Desert", The New York Times Magazine (March 28, 1954), p. 47.
  • For I do not want you to be unaware of this sacred secret, brothers, so that you do not become wise in your own eyes: A partial dulling of senses has come upon Israel until the full number of people of the nations has come in, and in this manner all Israel will be saved. Just as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion and turn away ungodly practices from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take their sins away.” True, with respect to the good news, they are enemies for your sakes; but with respect to God’s choosing, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are not things he will regret. For just as you were once disobedient to God but have now been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so also these now have been disobedient with mercy resulting to you, so that they themselves may also now be shown mercy. For God has confined all of them together in disobedience so that he might show all of them mercy.
  • On May 14 I was informed that the Provisional Government of Israel was planning to proclaim a Jewish state at midnight that day, Palestine time, which was when the British mandate came to an end…. I decided to move at once and give American recognition to the new nation. I instructed a member of my staff to communicate my decision to the State Department and prepare it for transmission to Ambassador Austin at the United Nations in New York. About thirty minutes later, exactly eleven minutes after Israel had been proclaimed a state, Charlie Ross, my press secretary, handed the press the announcement of the de facto recognition by the United States of the provisional government of Israel.
  • Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal?
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, radio and television broadcast on the situation in the Middle East following the Suez Crisis, Washington, D.C., February 20, 1957. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957, p. 151.
  • Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.
  • We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative. The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that we might as well fight.
    • Golda Meir, as quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32.
  • Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
    • Golda Meir, at a dinner honoring West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, as reported in The New York Times (10 June 1973).
  • In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.
    • David Ben-Gurion, interview on CBS (5 October 1956), as quoted in Israel: Years of Crisis Years of Hope (1973) by Roman Frister, p. 45.
  • Ramallah is not Auschwitz. Israel is not the Third Reich. We have no death camps and we haven't massacred one third of the Palestinian population in gas chambers. Therefore, everything we do is quite all right. We may fill the occupied territories with tear gas and blood, we may kill and injure and torture and blackmail and dispossess, we may surround millions by electric fences and tanks in tiny enclaves, we may hold them under siege and daily bombing, we may make pregnant women walk to hospitals, and we shoot ambulances too, don't we. But as long as we fall even an inch short of the atrocities of Nazi Germany, it's all fine and good, and don't you dare make the comparison.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, there is one Western country that has been forced to fight the forces of jihad for its values since the very first day of its existence, and that is the state of Israel ... I love Israel. However, in Europe being pro-America and being pro-Israel makes you almost an endangered species. But Israel, ladies and gentlemen, is a beacon of light in an area – the Middle East – that is pitch black everywhere else. Israel is a Western democracy ... The so-called 'Middle East conflict' is not about land at all. It is not a territorial conflict. It's a conflict about ideologies; it's a battle between Islam and freedom. It's not about some land in Gaza or in Judea and Samaria. ... To Islam the whole of Israel is occupied territory. They see Jerusalem and Haifa as settlements too. ... Islam forces Israel to fight, and Israel is not just fighting for itself. Israel is fighting for all of us. We all are Israel. Israel fights for the entire West.
  • Of course Iranians don’t hate Israel. The regime wants you to think so. Our nations share a biblical relationship since the times of Cyrus, who helped the Jewish people in their hour of need. This is our hour of need. We’re asking Israel’s help to free us from our tyrannical regime. Are you going to help us, or are you going to bomb us?
  • These futile [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations are a waste of time and opportunities. The Zionists buy time and gain more opportunities, as the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims lose time and opportunities, and they get nothing out of it. We can see how this dream has dissipated. This dream has always been an illusion… This [Palestinian] Authority was created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests... No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know — these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.
  • What would the Israelis do if they could do what they want? They would live in peace with their neighbors, if they had neighbors who would live in peace with them. They would simply continue to build out their high-tech sector, and thrive. What do groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and even Hamas, want? They want to impose their religious views on the rest of humanity. They want to stifle every freedom that decent and educated and secular people care about. This is not a trivial difference. And yet, judging from the level of condemnation that Israel now receives, you would think the difference ran the other way. This kind of confusion puts us all in danger. This is the great story of our time. For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don't want to live peacefully in a secular pluralistic world because they are desperate to get to paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel; it's just that some of us haven't realized it yet.

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