July 5, 2009
One of the unwritten laws of war is that the winning side is allowed to do as it pleases after the cessation of hostilities. This law is even more relevant when the victor turns out to be the side that didn’t initiate the war, or didn’t want the war to occur in the first place.
Thus we find Israel, after its victory in a war that it initially tried to avoid in 1948, utilizing its victory to expand its territory. For several years after this war, new communities started to appear on the map, such as Ashdod in 1956, Karmiel in 1964, Dimona in 1955 and Arad in 1962 (to name just a few).
Then, nearly 20 years later and faced with the prospect of an Arab onslaught, Israel was forced to fight another war in 1967, which, like the war in 1948, resulted in a decisive victory for Israel. Then once again, as it had done after its 1948 victory, Israel utilized this victory to embark on a campaign of expanding its territory. New communities started to dot the map, such as Kiryat Arba in 1972, Kedumim in 1975, Karnei Shomron in 1977 and Efrat in 1983 (to name just a few).
However, this is where the similarities stop. For some reason, the communities that were founded after 1948 have always been considered legitimate by the Israeli public, while the communities that were established after 1967 never quite managed to gain the same degree of legitimacy in the eyes of some sections of the Israeli public and are in fact considered illegitimate by some here in Israel.
Of course the argument that the latter communities were established in the midst of, or near, large Arab population centers, or on ‘Arab lands’, doesn’t hold much sway, especially since the same can be said of many ‘legitimate’ communities started after 1948 and even of some communities started before 1948. If this is the case, then what is the reason for this different treatment of post-1967 communities to those of their pre-1967 counterparts?
It seems that the only logical answer is that the earlier communities were founded by the ‘Good Zionists’ (Ben Gurion and friends), while many of the latter post-1967 communities were founded by a different type of Zionist, namely the type that believes settling Eretz Yisrael is a mitzvah and who draws his inspiration and motivation for such ideals straight from Judaism. This is the only plausible answer as to why this second group of Zionists and the communities they have built have become stigmatized and deemed illegitimate by so many here in Israel.
Unfortunately, what many here in Israel that deem such post-1967 communities as illegitimate fail, or perhaps refuse, to understand is that in the eyes of the Arabs, all of the communities (pre-1948, post-1948, post-1967) are illegitimate. They don’t make such trivial distinctions. Only us, the silly Jews, make such distinctions.