Bringing out the truths and interesting facts on Israel, Jews, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and India-Israel relationship, including answers to many FAQs on the subject. It would be observed that there are many aspects that are common between India and Israel and between Jews and Hindus— both historically, and in the current scenario.
Israel is commendably a great nation, which is ironically very small—geographically! Israel’s total area is about 21,000 sq km, which is about 0.12% of the area of Russia (the largest country by area), and 0.22% of USA. Israel is just a tip, a very small island, in the sea of 21 Arab nations, whose total area together is about 13.487 million sq km—Israel is mere 0.16% of that!
It baffles one that even such little land miserly conceded to Israel is resented. Indeed, Israel lacks the geographical depth to assuredly secure itself. On top of it, the two-state solution (?) would further compromise its security, while leaving the new nation that might come up as equally vulnerable!
Israel’s population is 8.3 million, less than half that of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (20.7 million)! When Israel was established in 1948 its population was 0.8 million. It has grown over 10 times during the last 66 years. There are an estimated 14.2 million Jews the world over (less that what they were [17 million] before the World War II: Holocaust had reduced their numbers by 6 million). Out of them, 43% reside in Israel.
Out of the total population of Israel, about 75% are Jews, 20.7% are Arabs Muslims and the rest 4.3% are non-Arab Christians, Baha’i, etc. The figures themselves speak eloquently about Israel’s secularism. Israel has a democratic and secular government that follows the rule of law and provides justice and prosperity to all irrespective of race or religion. That’s why the Arab Muslims living in Israel don’t wish to migrate out of it. They realise there is little to gain from moving over—assured slavery for half the population (women); and wretched life for the rest! In sad and sharp contrast, Jews have been cleaned out of the Arab countries.
There are 126 countries where the majority religion is Christianity and 49 where it is Islam; while there are only 2 countries (India and Nepal) where the majority religion is Hinduism, and just 1 country (Israel) where it is Judaism; and yet, the existence of that one single country is resented! Out of the estimated world-population of about 7.1 billion, mere 0.22% are Jews, while the Christians are 33.4%, Muslims 22.7%, Hindus 13.8%, Buddhists 6.8%, Sikhs 0.35%.
Despite being in the oil-rich West Asia, Israel, unfortunately, is without any oil resources. It is short on other natural resources too. More than half the land of Israel is desert. Both its climate and the paucity of its water resources are unfavourable for farming. Just 20% of the land area is naturally arable. In other words, Israel’s geography is not naturally conducive for agriculture. And, the land was indeed very poor agriculturally for centuries, till the hard-working, innovative and intelligent Jews came on the scene. Today, agriculture is a highly developed industry in Israel. Despite severe handicaps of natural resources and infertile land, Israel’s per-capita GDP (nominal) is a respectable @USD 36,000, thanks to its high-tech industries and innovative agriculture practices. This is far more than the average per-capita GDP (nominal) of Arab countries, despite their oil-wealth.
Jewish Contribution to the World
…The Jews contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it…—Mark Twain
To illustrate, while the Jews form only 0.22% of the world population, between 1901, the year the Nobel Prizes were introduced, and 2013, they have won a whopping 193 Nobel Prizes out of a total of 876, a disproportionate 22%! In the current century—since 2000—the Jews have been awarded 28% of all Nobel Prizes and 32% of those in the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics and Medicine. The greatest physicist so far—Albert Einstein—was a Jew. So were great physicists like Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Max Born, Richard Feynman.
You find major contribution of Jews in all fields including high-tech and information technology. John von Neumann, the founder of computing, was a Jew. So are Andrew Grove, founder of Intel; Lawrence Ellison, founder of Oracle; Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google; Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Michael Dell of Dell.
Famous Jewish economists include Karl Marx, David Ricardo, Rosa Luxemburg, Paul Samuelson, Simon Kuznets, Milton Friedman, Merton Miller, Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. 39% of the recipients of Nobel Prize in Economics have been Jews.
The Jews have made significant contributions towards cinema, TV and media: 20th Century Fox, CBS, Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks, Fox Film Corp., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, NBC, Paramount Pictures, Time Warner, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen and so on.
Even in the “other-worldly” matters, the Jews dominate. Foundation of both the major religions in the world—Christianity and Islam—is Judaism. And, of course, Abraham (2000-1825 BCE) and Moses (1393-1273 BCE), both common to the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and Jesus Christ (7-2 BCE to 26-36 CE) were Jews. Christianity’s sacred text includes the Jewish Bible, besides the New Testament. The Children of Israel is an important religious concept in Islam, and Islam incorporates Jewish history. Moses, the most important prophet of Judaism, is also considered a prophet and messenger in Islam. There are numerous references to the Israelites in the Quran. It’s terribly unfortunate that despite this both Christians and Muslims had been ungrateful enough to victimise the very people they drew inspiration from, and from whom they borrowed so much!
We Indians and Hindus can feel immensely happy and proud that Jews never suffered in India.
Resenting Israel’s Existence & Jewish Rights
Following its defeat in the World War–I, the Ottoman Empire was broken up into three parts which were administered as the “British Mandate for Palestine”, the “British Mandate for Mesopotamia (Iraq)” and the “French Mandate for Syria”. Out of the area controlled under the “British Mandate for Palestine”, 77% of the area to the east of Jordan river was hived off as Transjordan (since renamed Jordan) in 1922 for the Arab Muslims. The remaining 23% of the area is what forms Israel, the West bank, etc. Unfortunately, even this unjustly miser allocation of land to Israel is resented—when Muslims already have the major 77%!
There are some who argue that since the Jews were most harassed in Europe and the holocaust was caused by Hitler’s Germany, why shouldn’t “Israel” have been created in Europe rather than in the middle-east? Well, the Jews have been at the receiving end of the Muslims too for centuries. Besides, the area of Israel and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Jerusalem is truly the biblical area of the Jews where all their holy places exist. So, locating Israel where it is currently located was fully justified.
Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago.
The land was with the British since the First World War, and earlier it was under the Ottoman Empire—there was no nation called Palestine. But, considering what the Christians and the Europeans did to the Jews through the centuries, there should have been an additional second Israel carved out for them in Europe.
It is worth noting that, apart from the Muslims and the incorrigible anti-Semites, Israel’s critics are either Left-Liberals or plain ignorant. Among the implied basic criteria to qualify as a Left-Liberals is that you can’t be one unless you are pro-Muslim in your pronouncements, quite independent of the issues in question.
(To be concluded)