Public Opinion

A test case in population transfer: Ghajar


For the purposes of this article, a “population transfer” is understood to include land swaps of populated land.

A test of ideology awaits the Israeli left next week. Similarly, the constraints on Israeli government power will be tested in what may be a trial-run for future scenarios involving the two-state solution. Government officials on Saturday announced that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will present plans to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday in New York for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the northern half of the border-town of Ghajar. The town’s residents say they are Syrian, the UN says that the town is split between Israel and Lebanon, and nearly all of its residents hold Israeli citizenship. So the question becomes, is Israel planning on transferring its own citizens to an enemy state, which the transferees claim they have no connection to?

In the past year, the Israeli left has reacted strongly and loudly to hints by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of plans – or even the floating of ideas – of transfering some Israeli-Arabs to Palestinian control. The thought of a forced population transfer is indeed repulsive. Although any two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians will need to deal with many issues relating to citizenship and (more…)

Victims of terror: A unique Israeli formula


In every one of the many terrorism-related courses and seminars that I’ve participated in, the first thing discussed is always the lack of a universal definition for terrorism. The ambiguity created by the lack of a definition allows for overly-inclusive analyses of what terrorism is, who terrorists are, and who the victims of terrorism are. Israel has long been known to use very inclusive parameters when calculating terror victims, but today I ran across a statistic that pushes the limits of even the most inclusive definitions of who terror victims are.

While reading an interesting article in Foreign Policy magazine this morning by Robert A. Pape about the causes of suicide terrorism, my curiosity was sparked by the causes of the drop-off in Palestinian terrorism in recent years. As I was doing some basic internet-research looking for recent statistics on Palestinian terror attacks, I found myself reading an Israeli General Security Service (the Shin Bet) report. In the GSS’s 2009 summary of “Data and Trends in Palestinian Terrorism,” a few things immediately caught my attention (more…)

Israel’s loyalty oath: What’s the controversy and why is it wrong?


The “loyalty oath” approved this week by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet has quickly – and for good reason – become extremely controversial. Most western and liberal states require those seeking citizenship to take an oath of loyalty upon becoming naturalized citizens. Israel already has a loyalty oath on the books that one must take when naturalizing. So what’s the big deal?

The United States requires that naturalized citizens declare [by oath] to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It further requires them to pledge to bear arms and serve in the armed forces if required by law.

The United Kingdom requires new citizens to swear their “allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” to “respect its rights and freedoms,” to “uphold its democratic values,” and to fulfill their “duties and (more…)

J Street: An Open Letter by Michael Omer-Man


Originally published by

After the Gaza Flotilla tragedy, American-Israeli Michael Omer-Man wrote the following letter to a friend in the U.S. who expressed concern about publicly criticizing Israeli policy.

I have not lived in The States for a handful of years now, so I’m no longer completely confident in my ability to gauge the direction of American or American-Jewish political leanings. I can, however, give an Israeli perspective.

In the past few years, I have seen a slow – but very significant – shift to the right in the Israeli public’s political inclinations. Before I get into the implications of that, I find it necessary to explain a thing or two about the Israeli right that most Americans fail to grasp. The Right in Israel is much further right than most American Jews are able to comprehend. They outright reject the two-state paradigm for peace and see no need to come to an agreement with the Palestinians at all. The idea of human rights doesn’t apply to non-Jews for them. I cannot tell you how disturbed I was to be invited to join several facebook groups in the past week, some of which (more…)

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