Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in the Middle East, situated at the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. It shares land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories (which are claimed by the State of Palestine and are partially controlled by Israel) comprising the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. It contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's financial and technology center is Tel Aviv, while Jerusalem is both its self-designated capital (though unrecognised by the United Nations) and its most populous individual city under the country's governmental administration. Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is internationally disputed. In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a "Jewish and Democratic State".
- 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.
- The unwritten treaty between the United States and Israel is based on a similar world view. Both countries believe in democratic values, respect for human rights, solving conflicts through negotiation using rational and logical arguments, and both would like to see a better, more reasonable world living in peace and prosperity without oppressing people, while providing equal opportunities and exploiting the abilities of each and every person. [...] And anyone who does not want to solve the Middle East conflict because he is unwilling to pay the price of compromise, finds it convenient to hide behind slogans such as a war of religions or a war of cultures, in order to explain that the conflict is insoluble and that no territorial arrangement will satisfy the fighters for religion or culture. The conclusion: It is therefore preferable not to give up anything and to keep what there is, to fortify ourselves for the upcoming Armageddon, and to steal from welfare and education and health so that we can arm ourselves to the teeth.
- 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 (28 March 1954), p. 47.
- 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.
- "Death to Israel" means death to Israelis. It means death to the members of my family. Like many in Israel, a family which has long worked hard and consistently and intensively for the rights of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, to live in safety and sovereignty in a country of their own. What we want for ourselves is no less just. It is, in fact, the very same: freedom to live in safety and sovereignty.
- It is a country in which a clear majority of the population, battered by wars and terrorism and heartbreak and frustration, still wants to see negotiations leading to a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and an end to occupation.
- I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. I was one of those people who could be counted on to argue that, while the country's settlement and occupation policies were anti-democratic and brutal and slow-dose suicidal, the word apartheid did not apply. I'm not one of those people any more.
- Bradley Burston, It's Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid , Haaretz (August 17, 2015)
- There was a time when I drew a distinction between Benjamin Netanyahu's policies and this country I have loved so long. No more. Every single day we wake to yet another outrage.
- Bradley Burston, It's Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid , Haaretz (August 17, 2015)
- You mess with Israel, you are messing with the United States of America. It's that simple.
- And Israel is not only our ally; it is a beacon of what democracy can and should mean… If the people of the Middle East are not sure what democracy means, let them look to Israel.
- In defeating terror, Israel’s cause is our cause.
- I'm proud that we put a lid on Iran's nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel's security.
- I used to be a lot more critical of Israel, and I used to believe there was a fairly simple two-state solution, because I used to believe the Arabs were acting in good faith. I still want to believe that, but the evidence tells me I'd be a fool to believe it, because I've seen that every concession Israel makes is met with more demands and more excuses not to negotiate. They could have had peace ten times over if they wanted it, but they don't want peace, they want victory, and they won't be happy until Israel is wiped from the map. A member of Fatah central committee said as much on television recently, but as he said, they keep that to themselves, and tell the rest of the world a different story.
- The fact that a Jewish state needs to exist at all - and it does need to exist - is an indictment of all humanity, and especially the Catholic Church, whose centuries-long program of aggressive Jew hatred has been ingrained right into the European psyche so that it takes almost nothing to bring it out... If I were a Jew, even a non-Zionist... I would want to see a strong Israel, because when push comes to shove, people simply will not stand up for Jews. We've seen it historically in Europe... We're seeing it again today, especially from the self-styled 'anti-fascists'; what a joke you people are.
- 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.
- Moshe Dayan, From an address given to Technion University students (19 March 1969), a transcription of which appeared in Ha'aretz (4 April 1969), quoted in The Question of Palestine (1980) by Edward Said, p. 14
- 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?
- While it should come as no surprise that Republicans are less optimistic than Democrats about the tentative multilateral nuclear deal recently agreed to with Iran, the fact that 2/3 of Republican respondents said that they would "support Israel's interests even when they diverge from America's" shows just how partisan an issue Israel has become after a half-century of nearly universal bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
- Anthony Fisher, "Poll: Republicans Prioritize Israel's Interests Over America's", Reason's Hit & Run Blog (16 April 2015).
- In the weeks after the U.N. vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, "Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are." With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.
And if Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah — one that alienates even the affections of the U.S., its last steadfast friend — it won’t survive. Iran poses a short-term threat to Israel’s survival; Israel’s own behavior poses a long-term one.
The dysfunctional relationship between Netanyahu and Obama is poised to enter a new phase. Next week, Israeli voters will probably return Netanyahu to power, this time at the head of a coalition even more intractably right-wing than the one he currently leads.
- Jeff Goldberg, "Obama: ‘Israel Doesn’t Know What Its Best Interests Are’", Bloomberg View (14 January 2013)].
- 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.
- Books like Leviticus and Exodus and Deuteronomy—are the most repellent, the most sickeningly unethical documents to be found in any religion. They’re worse than the Koran. They’re worse than any part of the New Testament. But the truth is, most Jews recognize this and don’t take these texts seriously. It’s simply a fact that most Jews and most Israelis are not guided by scripture—and that’s a very good thing... I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible... Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state. Now, friends of Israel might consider this a rather tepid defense, but it’s the strongest one I’ve got. I think the idea of a religious state is ultimately untenable.
- Israel isn't 'Jewish' in the sense that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are 'Muslim'... Israel is actually less religious than the U.S., and it guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens. Israel is not a theocracy, and one could easily argue that its Jewish identity is more cultural than religious. However, if we ask why the Jews wouldn’t move to British Columbia if offered a home there, we can see the role that religion still plays in their thinking... In defending its territory as a Jewish state, the Israeli government and Israelis themselves have had to do terrible things. They have, as they are now, fought wars against the Palestinians that have caused massive losses of innocent life. More civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few weeks than militants. That’s not a surprise because Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Occupying it, fighting wars in it, is guaranteed to get woman and children and other noncombatants killed. And there’s probably little question over the course of fighting multiple wars that the Israelis have done things that amount to war crimes. They have been brutalized by this process—that is, made brutal by it. But that is largely the due to the character of their enemies.
- Whatever terrible things the Israelis have done, it is also true to say that they have used more restraint in their fighting against the Palestinians than we have used in any of our wars. They have endured more worldwide public scrutiny than any other society has ever had to while defending itself against aggressors. The Israelis simply are held to a different standard. And the condemnation leveled at them by the rest of the world is completely out of proportion to what they have actually done... Israel is losing the PR war and has been for years now. One of the most galling things for outside observers about the current war in Gaza is the disproportionate loss of life on the Palestinian side. This doesn’t make a lot of moral sense. Israel built bomb shelters to protect its citizens. The Palestinians built tunnels through which they could carry out terror attacks and kidnap Israelis. Should Israel be blamed for successfully protecting its population in a defensive war? I don’t think so... There is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions towards them. The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal. It looks forward to a time, based on Koranic prophesy, when the earth itself will cry out for Jewish blood.
- What would the Jews do to the Palestinians if they could do anything they wanted? Well, we know the answer to that question, because they can do more or less anything they want. The Israeli army could kill everyone in Gaza tomorrow. So what does that mean? Well, it means that, when they drop a bomb on a beach and kill four Palestinian children, as happened last week, this is almost certainly an accident. They’re not targeting children. They could target as many children as they want. Every time a Palestinian child dies, Israel edges ever closer to becoming an international pariah. So the Israelis take great pains not to kill children and other noncombatants. The Israelis do not want to kill non-combatants, because they could kill as many as they want, and they’re not doing it... Everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does. They shoot their rockets from residential neighborhoods, from beside schools, and hospitals, and mosques. Muslims in other recent conflicts, in Iraq and elsewhere, have also used human shields. They have laid their rifles on the shoulders of their own children and shot from behind their bodies... Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.
- Side with Israel here. You have one side which if it really could accomplish its aims would simply live peacefully with its neighbors, and you have another side which is seeking to implement a seventh century theocracy in the Holy Land. There’s no peace to be found between those incompatible ideas. That doesn’t mean you can’t condemn specific actions on the part of the Israelis. And, of course, acknowledging the moral disparity between Israel and her enemies doesn’t give us any solution to the problem of Israel’s existence in the Middle East... Even on their worst day, the Israelis act with greater care and compassion and self-criticism than Muslim combatants have anywhere, ever.
- 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.
- 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).
- It had a great and lofty wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names were inscribed which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.
- One would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to recognize that this hate of Israel is profoundly anti-Semitic. Such hostile sentiments, sometimes disguised as a 'legitimate' critique of Israeli politics, has been called the "new" anti-Semitism.
- 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.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., March 25, 1968, less than 2 weeks before his death.
- 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).
- 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.
- Mohamed Morsi in 2010, as quoted in Egypt’s Morsi, in 2010 interviews posted online, called Zionists ‘bloodsuckers’ and descendants of pigs, urged to sever all ties with Israel, Times of Israel (4 January 2013).
- Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations... You don't need to do nation building in Israel, we're already built. You don't need to export democracy to Israel, we've already got it. You don't need to send American troops to Israel, we defend ourselves... Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East, Israel is what is right about the Middle East... Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand... When we say never again, we mean never again! Israel always reserves the right to defend itself... While Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we'll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace; Israel needs peace. We've achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades... In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace... No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.
- Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established... In Israel our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, and innovators apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers, enrich the heritage of humanity. Now, I know that this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed...
- Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.
- I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan... We will defend ourselves on every front, defensively and offensively.
- I wish I could promise you... that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over! We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves. This is why; this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing. Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel. You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history's horrors. Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this august chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years.
- Benjamin Netanyahu, address to a joint meeting of the United States Congress (3 March 2015), Washington, D.C.
- Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.
- 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?
- 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.
- It is small surprise that among tyrannical regimes and their defenders, America and Israel are so often identified as the same enemy. This is not merely a consequence of America's standing along behind Israel; the United States has aided various Arab countries very generously, and it has on some critical occasions backed Arab regimes, such as Nasser's Egypt in 1956 and Saudi Arabia in 1981, against Israel. The hostility is aroused largely because America and Israel represent democracy, equal rights for women, a higher quality of life, and a willingness to confront despotism. That is why the two non-Muslim countries that have suffered the heaviest lossest from Islamic suicide murderers are Israel and the United States... Israel remains and embattled democracy in the midst of authoritarian states, and the birthplace of the kibbutz to which tens of thousands of youth from around the world have turned for a living lesson in human equality.
- Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism (2003), by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, pp. 194–195.
- We need to make it unmistakably clear that we will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. We will punish — we will punish their allies, like Iran — and we will stand with our allies, like Israel.
- 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.
- Harry S. Truman, Memoirs (1956), vol. 2, p. 164.
- Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster, and we have to protect Israel.
- Donald Trump, at Trump Tower, 2015-06-16, speech announcing his candidacy for U.S. president — "Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid", The Washington Post, 16 June 2015
- Israel, our great friend and the one true democracy in the Middle East has been snubbed and criticized by an administration that lacks moral clarity... President Obama has not been a friend to Israel. He has treated Iran with tender love and care and made it a great power.
- We must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terror. This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel.
- The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming. Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything.
- 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.
- If the Jews are denied the right to live in freedom and peace, soon we will all be denied this right. If the light of Israel is extinguished, we will all face darkness. If Israel falls, the West falls. That is why we are all Israel.
- Geert Wilders, speech delivered in Tel Aviv in December of 2010, quoted in The Blaze: "‘Marked for Death’: Beck Interviews Anti-Islamist Dutch MP Geert Wilders" (2 May 2012).