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Chapter 8: Our Fathers’ Children
 
 
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CHAPTER 8

 

Our Fathers’ Children

 

bThe remarkable Jewish inability or unwillingness to see the breality of innate Arab hostility toward Zionism and a Jewish bstate is hardly of recent vintage. From the beginning of the twen- btieth century, as modern nationalism swept from Europe into bthe Ottoman Empire, there existed Arab nationalist hostility bthat grew in intensity and hatred with every Jewish stride to- bward statehood in the Land of Israel. The problem was that the bearly Zionists simply did not want to understand the basic fact bof nationalism: no people is permanently prepared to live as a bminority under another people in a land it considers its own. bOur fathers would not see; we refuse to see. We are, indeed, btheir children.

bFrom the very beginning of the modern political Zionist bmovement, the question of the Arab population of Eretz Yisrael bwas subject to incredible delusion and unimaginable self-de- blusion. It was Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zion- bism, who coined the astonishing slogan: “The land without a bpeople for the people without a land.” Perhaps as a journalistic bturn of a phrase, it was a bon mot. But in terms of reality, Herzl bwas very, very wrong. That there existed a people—the Jews— bwithout a land was an unmistakable fact. But the land they brightfully called theirs was not empty of people.

bThe year 1880, from which the beginning of modern Jewish brestoration dates, saw some 30,000 Jews in the land. They were bof the “old yishuv” (“community”), religious Jews living quietly bunder the Ottoman regime, content to fulfill the mitzvah (“com- b 

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Chapter 8: Our Fathers’ Children