Jews/Israelis are Different from Muslims/Arabs

Jews/Israelis are Different from Muslims/Arabs

© David Burton 2010

Jewish population in Arab countries, then and now

     Jews and Arabs are both Semitic peoples. According to Hebrew and Muslim beliefs, both Jews and Arabs are the descendents of Abraham. Both Jews and Arabs historically have inhabited the lands of the Middle East, stretching from what has originally known as Persia in the East to Egypt in the West, and from Syria and Lebanon in the North to Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Yemen and Ethiopia in the South. Both the Jewish and Muslim faiths are monotheistic – both believe in the same God. These are some of the features that are common to both Jews/Israelis and Muslims/Arabs.

     Having enumerated some of the similarities between the two peoples, let’s examine some of the multitude of differences that now exist between Jews/Israelis and Muslims/Arabs. Let’s also see what are the consequences of these differences.

     Unlike Islam's Koran, which commands Muslims to force the entire planet to submit to literal control by Islam, the Jewish Torah promises the children of Israel a modest and reasonable allotment of land. Israel is a democratic nation 1/19th the size of California, surrounded by 22 hostile Arab/Islamic dictatorships with 640 times her size, 60 times her population and all the oil.

1. Building Up Vs Tearing Down

Q: What's a quick way to tell Israelis from Palestinian militants?

A: Israelis turn deserts into gardens, Palestinian militants turn gardens into deserts.

Jews/Israelis: Israel is focused on building and creating. One needs only to visit the Holy Land to see the modern cities, farms, nature preserves and infrastructure that the Jews have built over the past century after more than a milenium of war and neglect. Jewish investments in and improvements to the region formerly known as Palestine have benefited not only Jews but Arabs, Christians and all other residents of the region.

     Between the two world wars, Palestine was transformed from a primitive, agrarian country into a semi-industrialized, capitalist state with a rising standard of living, good communications, modern methods of production, etc. The revolutionizing process of Jewish colonization and immigration brought about this transformation, which also involved an unprecedented improvement in the condition of the indigenous population, that was unequalled in any other part of the Middle East. Over these years, millions of dollars were invested by Jews in economic enterprise in this small country. Prior to World War II, a quarter of a million Jewish immigrants with skill, initiative and enterprise established themselves in the country.

     While Jews were building up what was to become the State of Israel, the indigenous and non-indigenous Arab population was also benefitting. From 1922-1934, the Palestine non-Jewish population increased by 68%, while from 1920-1935, the Egyptian population increased by only 13%. In 1913, Arab emigration from Palestine was 2,000 from the Jerusalem district alone. With the economic growth of the country led by the incoming Jews, only 1,400 yearly emigrated from the whole of Palestine from 1920-1930 and by 1937 was no more than 600 yearly. At the same time, Arab immigration into Palestine – an unknown feature in the past – was taking place on a considerable scale. In the years 1920-1930, Arab emigration from Syria was 9,500 or about seven times as great as Arab emigration from Palestine. It was a striking fact that the greatest growths in the Arab population were found in those districts of large Jewish immigration. There were two reasons for this: 1) an influx of new Arab population into these relatively prosperous areas and, 2) a fall in the death rate in these particular districts.

     Jewish immigration gave a strong impetus to Palestine agriculture. Jewish agricultural settlements multiplied from 50 in 1919 to 156 in 1934. The most outstanding achievement in Palestine agriculture prior to World II was the development of the citrus industry. Palestine's citrus exports by volume were second in the world. This expansion of the citrus industry resulted in an increase in agricultural land prices by 400-500% and since, at that time, the land was concentrated in Arab hands, sales at these inflated prices enriched many Arabs and enabled them to invest in citrus plantations of their own and to undertake new forms of intensive and irrigated farming that was previously little known to the Arab farmer. The increase in vegetable production in Palestine was an indication of the development of mixed farming. Vegetable production between 1923 and 1934 trippled. Jewish farming introduced modern methods into Palestine and increased the yields in almost all branches of agriculture. On Jewish farms, the yield of wheat per acre was more than twice that on Arab farms; similarly, the yield of table grapes in Jewish vineyards was more than double that in Arab vineyards. Jewish dairy farming yielded more than 4 times the amount of milk per cow as on Arab dairy farms.

     From 1921 to 1935 Jewish industrial output increased 8-fold. The industrialization of the country had a marked influence on the development of agriculture in opening a new market for agricultural products which greatly promoted the intensification and diversification of farming, both Jewish and Arab. The annual capital investment in building increased by nearly a factor of 8 from 1924 to 1935. A new city – Tel Aviv – was constructed entirely by Jewish effort and capital. During this same period, the population of Haifa tripled and that of Jerusalem almost doubled. The influence of the Jewish capital import and construction on the Arab economy can be gauged from the fact that in one year, 1933-34, the investment in building activity in five purely Arab towns (Jaffa, Nablus, Lydda, Gaza, and Nazareth) increased by about a factor of 4. This was the year of large Jewish immigration into the country.

     The improvement of the health service and health conditions of the population was due, in large measure, to Jewish colonization. Through large-scale drainage works undertaken by Jewish institutions, there was an astonishing decrease in the incidence of malaria. The number of malaria patients treated decreased from 20,000 in 1922 to 7,000 in 1934, in spite of the great increase of the population. The percentage of malaria cases compared to all diseases treated fell during that period from 7.2% to 0.8%. The most striking fact in this connection is the decrease in mortality, and particularly infant mortality rates, during the period of Jewish colonization. The death rate among Jews fell from 13.45 per 1,000 in 1927 to 9.26 in 1934, among Christians from 20.10 to 13.75 and among Moslems from 33.07 to 24.07. Infant mortality rates decreased in the same period from 115.79 – 80.84 (Jews), 216.79 – 156.8 (Moslems) and 187.22 – 128.38 (Christians).

Muslims/Arabs: Arab extremists focus on destroying. Consider the September 2005 occupation of Gaza by the Palestinians. Israeli settlers there had built a number of greenhouses in which to raise food and other agricultural products. When the settlers were ordered to leave Gaza, American Jewish donors bought more than 3,000 greenhouses from Israeli settlers in Gaza for $14 million and transferred them to the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian looters carted off materials from greenhouses in several settlements and destroyed what should have been a prize asset for a fledgling Palestinian state and the now destitute inhabitants of Gaza. It took the Palestinians but hours to turn the gardens they were given into barren and sterile deserts.

     The Arabs' homeland is not Palestine, but the 1-million square mile Arabian Peninsula. When in the seventh century, with the birth of the new Islamic religion, the Arabs emerged from the desert with an eye to conquest, they succeeded in establishing an empire that, within a century, extended over three continents, from the Atlantic Ocean to the border of China. Early in their phenomenal progress, they conquered Palestine from the Byzantines. Purely Arab rule, exercised from Damascus by the Omayyad dynasty, lasted a little over a century. The Omayyads were overthrown in 750 by their bitter antagonists, the Abbasids, whose two centuries of government was increasingly dominated first by Persians, then by Turks. When the Abbasids were in turn defeated by the Fatimids, the Arabs had long had no part in the government of the empire, either at the center or in the provinces. But the Arabs had one great lasting success: Throughout a large part of the subjugated territories, Arabic became the dominant language and Islam the predominant religion. A major motive in the adoption of Islam by "non-believers" was the social and economic discrimination suffered by non-Moslems.

     To the Arabs, Palestine was never more than a backwater of the empire. No great political or cultural center ever arose there to establish a source of Arab, or any other non-Jewish, affinity or attachment. Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo were the great political and cultural centers of the Moslem Empire. Jerusalem, where a Moslem Holy Place was established on the site of the ancient Jewish Temple, never achieved any political or even cultural status. To the Arab rulers and their non-Arab successors, Palestine was a battleground, a corridor, sometimes an outpost, its people a source of taxes and of some manpower for the waging of endless foreign and internecine wars. Nor did a local non-Jewish culture grow. In, the early Arab period, immigrants from Arabia were encouraged, and later they were given the Jewish lands. But the population remained an ethnic hodgepodge. When the Crusaders came to Palestine after 460 years of Arab and non-Arabic Moslem rule, they found an Arabic-speaking population, composed of more than a dozen races practicing five versions of Islam, eight of heterodox Christianity and Judaism.

     The Arabs did, however, play a significant and specific role in one aspect of Palestine's life: They contributed effectively to its devastation. Where destruction and ruin were only partly achieved by warring imperial dynasties -- by Arab, Turkish, Persians, or Egyptians, by the Crusaders or by invading hordes of Mongols or Kharezmians -- it was supplemented by the revolts of local chieftains, by civil strife, by intertribal warfare within the population itself. Always the process was completed by the raids of Arabs -- the Bedouins -- from the neighbouring deserts. These forays were known already in the Byzantine era. Over fifteen centuries, they eroded the face of Palestine. During the latter phase of the Abbasids and in the Fatimid era, Bedouin depredations grew more intense. It was then that Palestine east of the Jordan was laid waste. Starting in the thirteenth century, with the entry of the Mamluks, all the instruments of ruin were at work almost continuously. The process went on under Ottoman misrule. Bedouin raiders, plundering livestock and destroying crops and plantations, plagued the life of the farmer. Bedouin encampments, dotting the countryside, served as bases for highway attacks on travellers, on caravans carrying merchandise, and on pilgrim cavalcades.

     There are no reports from travellers, whether Christian, Moslem, or Jewish, on any permanent feature of the Arabs' historical relationship with Palestine. In the tenth century, an Arab writer wrote, "Nobody cares about building the country, or concerns himself for its needs." This was a mild foretaste of the ruination of a country, carried out over hundreds of years. The Bedouin nomads tore up their olive trees, destroyed their crops, filled their wells with stones, broke down their cisterns, took away their livestock -- and were sometimes called in as allies to help destroy the next village. Thus it was that by the middle of the nineteenth century, hundreds of years of abuse had turned the country into a treeless waste, with a sprinkling of emaciated towns, malaria-ridden swamps in its once-fertile northern valleys, the once-thriving south (Negev) a desert, and with a population that had dwindled almost to nothing. There was never a "Palestinian Arab" nation - to the Arab people as a whole, no such entity as Palestine existed. To those of them who lived in its neighborhood, its lands were a suitable object for plunder and destruction. Those few who lived within its boundaries may have had an affinity for their village, for their clan, or even for their town. They were not conscious of any relationship to "a land". If they heard of Palestine as "a land", it was only from such Jews as they might meet. The feeling of so many nineteenth-century visitors that the country was waiting for the return of its lawful inhabitants was made the more significant by the shallowness of the Arab imprint on the country. In twelve hundred years of association, they built only a single town, Ramaleh, established as the local subprovincial capital in the eighth century - notice that they did not make Jerusalem the local subprovincial capital. The Arabs have never even had a name of their own for this country. "Filastin" is merely the Arab transliteration of "Palestine," the name the Romans gave the country when they determined to obliterate the "presence" of the Jewish people.

2. From Desert and Swamp to the Land of Milk and Honey

Jews/Israelis: Beginning at the latter half of the 19th century, right through to the present day, Jews returned the land of Israel from a desert and malarial swamp into fertile farms, gardens, modern cities, and parks, filled with trees, and producing an abundance of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Israel is one of only two countries in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in the number of its trees over that at the beginning of the 20th century. But Israel was not blessed with natural forests - its forests are all hand-planted by Jews during the past hundred years or so.

     Through enormous expenditures of human labor, Jewish immigrants to Israel drained swamps and irrigated desert lands to the point that, today, agriculture plays a large role in Israeli culture and history. Major agriculture crops include vegetables, cotton, beef, poultry and dairy products, and citrus and other fruits.

     Today, agriculture in Israel is a highly developed industry. Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world-leader in agricultural technologies. Israel produces 95% of its own food requirements. Modern agriculture developed in the late nineteenth century, when Jews began returning to the land. They purchased land which was mostly semi-arid, although much had been rendered untillable by deforestation, soil erosion and neglect. They set about clearing rocky fields, constructing terraces, draining swampland, reforesting, counteracting soil erosion, and washing salty land. Since independence in 1948, the total area under cultivation has increased from 408,000 acres to 1.07 million acres, while the number of agricultural communities has increased from 400 to 725. Agricultural production has expanded 16 times, three times more than population growth.

     Israel is one of the world's leading fresh citrus producers and exporters, including oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and the pomelit, a hybrid of a grapefruit and a pomelo, developed in Israel. More than forty types of fruit are grown in Israel, in addition to citrus, and include avocados, bananas, apples, cherries, plums, nectarines, grapes, dates, strawberries, prickly pear, persimmon, loquat and pomegranates. Mostly exported, Israel produces vast quantities of flowers, and is placed amongst the world's largest flower-growing countries.

     Israel is a world leader in agricultural research and development which has led to dramatic increases in the quantity and quality of the country's crops. The drive to increase yields and crop quality has led to the development of new seed and plant varieties, as well as to innovations such as a soil-enhancing substance (vermiculite) and drip irrigation.

     Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, even a leading Arab nationalist believed the return of the Jews to their homeland would help resuscitate the country. According to Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia: “The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him, though his ancestors had lived on it for 1000 years. At the same time we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, America. The cause could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons (abna'ihi­l­asliyin), for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles (jaliya) to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually [to be] an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and in all things connected with toil and labor.

     Immigrating Jews from the middle of the 19th century onward reinvigorated the land, grew an economy, established new factories, and created jobs for Jews and Arabs alike. Over this period of time, Arab population in Palestine grew rapidly. This growth was the result of several factors. One was immigration from neighboring states — constituting 37 percent of the total immigration to pre-state Israel — by Arabs who wanted to take advantage of the higher standard of living the Jews had made possible. The Arab population also grew because of the improved living conditions created by the Jews as they drained malarial swamps and brought improved sanitation and health care to the region. Thus, for example, the Muslim infant mortality rate fell from 201 per thousand in 1925 to 94 per thousand in 1945 and life expectancy rose from 37 years in 1926 to 49 in 1943.

     The Arab population increased the most in cities with large Jewish populations that had created new economic opportunities. From 1922 to 1947, the non-Jewish population increased 290 percent in Haifa, 131 percent in Jerusalem and 158 percent in Jaffa. The growth in Arab towns was more modest: 42 percent in Nablus, 78 percent in Jenin and 37 percent in Bethlehem.

Muslims/Arabs: Over the more than 1,000 years when Arabs lived in and/or controlled the historic and biblical homeland of the Jewish people, they allowed much of the land to become a desert and other areas to become fetid swamps. For many centuries, Palestine under Muslim control was a sparsely populated, poorly cultivated and widely-neglected expanse of eroded hills, sandy deserts and malarial marshes. Arab neglect was evident everywhere. Mark Twain visited Palestine in 1867, which, at that time, had been under Arab control for over a thousand years. He reported that Palestine was a “desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds – a silent mournful expanse … A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action … There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” As late as 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported the area was continuing its historic decline. " The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years," he said. A Report of the Palestine Royal Commission in 1913 reads as follows: “The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached the Jewish village of Yabna ... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen ... The ploughs used were of wood ... The yields were very poor ... The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist ... The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert ... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.

     Lewis French, the British Director of Development, wrote of Palestine: “We found it inhabited by fellahin who lived in mud hovels and suffered severely from the prevalent malaria....Large areas... were uncultivated....The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor these and other criminals. The individual plots...changed hands annually. There was little public security, and the fellahin's lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbors, the Bedouin.

3. Creating Vs. Inheriting

Jews/Israelis: Jews have built the successful State of Israel into a modern nation that is a leader in technology, medicine, agriculture, and other fields with their hands and brains. They have created the modern State of israel. They have not had the luxury of having rich oil or mineral depostis to fund their efforts. Their efforts have been paid for with their own financial resources, their sweat and their blood. The non-Jewish world has not been a financial contributor to their efforts.

Muslims/Arabs: On the other hand, Arab counties, with one or two exceptions, are “successful” simply because they sit above pools of oil and natural gas. Arab countries have inherited their wealth. Whether they have used this inherited wealth wisely to befenfit their Arab inhabitants is open to question. Unquestionably, a portion of Arab oil revenues has been used to fund radical Islamic terrorism, foment over 60 years of bloodshed in Israel and sponsor the efforts of Islamic fundamentalists to export their brand of Islam throughout the world.

4. Territorial Aspirations

Jews/Israelis: Israel has never shown any aggressive expansion aspirations. To the contrary, in 1979 Israel returned to Egypt the Sinai Peninsula, an area nearly three times the land area of Israel that contains oil, gas and mineral deposits. Israel has granted autonomy to the Arabs in the areas known as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with the prospect of their becoming an independent country should they ever decide to live peacefully side-by-side with Israel. As a matter of historical fact, Israel has voluntarily withdrawn from territory captured in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, and 2006

     From 1948 to 1967, Syria controlled the Golan Heights and used it as a military stronghold from which its troops randomly sniped at and bombarded Israeli civilians in the Hula Valley below. Israel captured the Golan Heights form Syria in 1967. It has offered to return virtually all of the Golan Heights to Syria in return for real peace.

     After being driven out of Jordan, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) used refugee camps in Lebanon as staging grounds to attack northern Israel. Some 15,000 to 18,000 PLO members were ensconced in various locations in Lebanon of which some 5,000 to 6,000 were foreign mercenaries from countries like Libya, Iraq, India, Sri Lanka, and Mozambique. The PLO was armed with mortars, Katyusha rockets, Russian T-34 tanks, and anti-aircraft weapons. Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 to get rid of the PLO terrorists and occupied the southern portion of that country. In 1983, Israel withdrew from large areas of Lebanon that it had occupied to south of the Awali River and, in 1985, it completely withdrew from all of Lebanon, except for a narrow security zone Just north of the Israel-Lebanon border. That too was unilaterally abandoned in 2000. Here is another case of Israel unilaterally withdrawing from territories it occupied after being attacked from there.

     The Second Lebanon War was a 34-day military conflict that took place in the summer of 2006. The principal parties were Hezbollah and the Israeli military. The conflict started on 12 July 2006, and formally ended on 8 September 2006.

     The conflict began when Hezbollah militants fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence. The ambush left three soldiers dead. Two additional Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were snatched by Hezbollah to Lebanon. Five more Israeli soldiers were killed in a failed rescue attempt. Israel responded with a ground intrusion into southern Lebanon. Hezbollah then launched more rockets into northern Israel and engaged the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in guerrilla warfare from hardened positions. Israel responded with airstrikes and an invasion of southern Lebanon designed to destroy or severely damage Hezbollah and to free its captured soldiers. Israel began withdrawing from Lebanon in August and the withdrawal was completed by October. On 16 July 2008, the remains of the two captured soldiers, whose fates were unknown until that time, were returned to Israel as part of a prisoner exchange. Once again, Israel withdrew from territories that it had occupied in response to being attacked.

Muslims/Arabs: The Arab countries have not offered to give Israel 1 square inch of land in spite of the fact that the Arab countries occupy a land area 640 times greater than that of Israel. Just the opposite – the Arabs have clearly stated that they ultimately desire the eradication of the State of Israel and they claim all of Israel for the ‘Palestinians.’

5. Welcome Vs Exclusion

Jews/Israelis: Jews throughout the world have generously supported their brethren in escaping persecution, settling in Palestine, and in providing ongoing support to immigrants in Israel. Except for supporting terrorism, suicide bombings, and murder, Arabs and Moslems have been conspicuously absent in their financial support of their less fortunate brethren in Palestine. The Jewish support of their less fortunate brethren is ongoing as is evidenced by the following:

     ‘United Jewish Communities (UJC) and the Jewish Federations of North America announced this week a commitment to raise $100 million in new funds to bring remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The three-year initiative is aimed at the nearly 20,000 Ethiopian Jews, known as the Falas Mura to immigrate and resettle them, as well as provide programs to assist the newcomers and existing Ethiopian-Israeli youth.

     Israel has welcomed all Jews to their national homeland.

     Jews are not the only people that Israel welcomes. In 2009, the Arab population of Israel numbered 1.5 million people - almost 10 times more than the Arab population in Israel in 1948.

Muslims/Arabs: Let’s look at the population figures for Arab countries - some 18 states and 2 territories. Their Jewish populations in 1948 totaled around 814,000. In the year 2001 their Jewish populations had declined to around 7,000. While not an Arab state, we can also look at Iran, an Islamic nation. Its Jewish population in 1948 was around 120,000. At the end of 2001, the Jewish population was estimated at 25,000. In today's environment, the number of Jews in Iran is certainly much lower.

     While the Arab population of Israel was increasing from some 150,000 to 1.2 million, the Jewish population in Arab countries and Iran decreased from something close to 1.0 million in 1948 to around 30,000 or less in 2001. By far, most of the loss of Jewish population in Arab states and Iran has been involuntary.

     The Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in many Arab states. Some Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs with the specific exception of Palestinians.

     Until 1967, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem had been under Jordanian occupation since Jordan attacked Israel during Israel’s war of independence in 1948. Similarly, since 1948, Gaza had been under Egyptian control and the Golan Heights were under the control of Syria. Up until Israel granted recognition to the Arabs of Palestine, even their own co-religionists ignored any claims they might have had to the land of Israel and to citizenship. The Arab refugee camps were the creation of the Jordanians, the Lebanese and the Egyptians who wanted nothing to do with these other Arabs and who wanted to continue the negative political pressure upon Israel and Jews.

     To this day, no country in the Arab world, except Jordan, grants citizenship to Palestinian “refugees”. No Arab country will accept these “refugees”. In contrast, under the “right of return”, Israel takes in any and every Jew wanting to immigrate to Israel. Israel has fed, housed, educated and absorbed these new arrivals. Even Arabs and Muslims that remained in Israel after 1948 were given the full rights of Israeli Citizenship (except for the obligation of military service against their Arab brethren).

6. Lebanese Arab Christians

Jews/Israelis: Israel has welcomed into Israel and into Israeli society the Lebanese Christian Arabs who have left that country. A Christian Lebanese doctor whose farm had been taken over without compensation by the PLO, and turned into a military depot in Lebanon said "You ask how do we like the Israelis. Compared to the hell we have had in Lebanon, the Israelis are brothers." Other Lebanese — Christian and Muslim alike — gave similar accounts.

     One personal observation on the treatment of Lebanese Christians in Israel concerns Nizar, an 18-year old Lebanese Christian young man whom I met in Haifa in 2009. Nizar was in his last year of high school and was the subject of a documentary video made by him and his fellow students at his Haifa high school. The video told the story of Nizar's Lebanese Christian family that was forced to leave southern Lebanon after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Nizar’s father was a member of the predominantly Christian Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) that supported Israel’s IDF during Israel’s 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon. When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, Nizar’s father was forced to flee to Israel because Hezbollah and other Moslem extremists vowed to kill everyone who served in the SLA or who supported Israel during the occupation. A year and a half later, Nizar and the rest of his family managed to escape from Lebanon and join Nizar’s father in Israel. Because Nizar was a Christian and his father had served in the SLA, Nizar was denied enrollment in any of the Arab schools in Haifa. Instead, he enrolled in the Jewish Ironi Heh School and was to graduate from that school in June of 2009, shortly after which he would enter the Israeli military. When asked about going into the army, Nizar said that he was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to serve in Israel’s military in order to thank the nation for what it had done for him and his family after fleeing Lebanon. At the time I met Nazir, his father was driving a taxi in Haifa and his mother was a nurse there.

Muslims/Arabs: The Christians of Lebanon -- Maronites, Orthodox, and other communities including Protestants -- number about 1.5 million, the remnant of a Christian nation that resisted the Islamic conquerors for 13 centuries. Since Lebanon made an ill-conceived pact with the PLO in 1969, hundreds of thousands were massacred, displaced and exiled. During the Israeli operations in Lebanon in 1978 and in 1982, the Christian Lebanese sided with the Israelis against the Syria-backed Islamic Lebanese. In 1985, the Israelis withdrew except for a security buffer zone exposing the Christians to reprisals. Christians in the north and central parts of Lebanon have been systematically politically and socially oppressed since the Lebanese civil war ended. Hundreds have been arrested, tortured, and jailed by pro-Syrian forces. In the south of Lebanon, thousands of Christians are bombarded constantly by Hezbollah. Thousands of Lebanese Christians fled when Israel pulled out of the security zone in 2000.

     In May 2000, the Israeli government after its occupation of the “Southern Lebanese Security Zone” for 25 years decided to unilaterally withdraw its troops in accordance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 425. In the aftermath of this withdrawal, more than 6,500 Southern Lebanese men, along with members of their families, had no option but to leave their towns and villages, abandon all their properties, and to hastily run for their lives. While Israel was logistically preparing for withdrawal, Hezbollah waged a merciless and savage media campaign against the Southern Lebanese Citizens. The campaign was aired publicly on all local and international TV and radio stations. The most frightening threats were uttered personally by Hezbollah's General Secretary, Sheik Nasrallah, who savagely said, “We will enter their bedrooms, pierce their stomachs, slaughter them and slice their throats.”

     Lebanese Muslims have frequently discriminated against, killed and persecuted the Christian Arab population of that country. What follows is a partial list of the attacks, from 1991 through 2002, perpetrated against the formerly large Christian community of Lebanon.

October 1990: Danny Chamoun, the key leader among Maronite Christians, is assassinated, along with his family.
August 1991: General Michel Aoun, the latest Christian leader to emerge as a national power broker, is sent into exile in France, and prohibited from returning to Lebanon for five years.
May 1993: Anti-Catholic rioting breaks out in the region of Chouf.
June 1993: 3 terrorists die in the premature explosion of a bomb they were preparing at the site of a meeting of Orthodox and Catholic bishops.
October 1993: Christian political leaders are the targets in a series of arrests; several are taken to Damascus and held there.
December 1993: A Christian cemetery is desecrated in Mansourieh, an apparent warning to Christians that they should not celebrate Christmas.
February 1994: A bomb placed in a Catholic Church explodes during Mass, killing eight worshippers.
January 2000: A group of Islamic militants stormed a Christian village killing one resident, while engaging in fighting with the Lebanese Army.
August 2001: 200 Christian youths are arrested following their demands at a rally for a Syrian withdrawal.
October 2001: Two churches in Sidon and Tripoli were attacked.
January 2002: The former commander of the Phalangist (Christian) army and a former minister, Elie Hobaiqua, was assassinated in Beirut along with his three bodyguards.

7. Protecting Civilians During Times of Conflict

Jews/Israelis: Israel has made every reasonable effort to protect civilians and human rights during its more than 6 decades of war against its neighboring Arab states, Islamic Jihadists, and Palestinian terrorists. These efforts are exemplified in the speech to the UN Human Rights Council on October 16, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland by Colonel Richard Kemp during the emergency debate on the Goldstone Report. Colonel Kemp was a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan; served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. He had spent considerable time in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, and had worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

     According to Col. Kemp, "During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population."

     Col. Kemp further said that "The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks."

Muslims/Arabs: Arab Muslims have shown total disregard for the lives of innocent civilians and of human rights. Muslim terrorists have murdered hundreds of thousands, if not millions of defenseless civilians in the name of their demented concept of the tenets of Islam. In addition to murdering citizens of faiths other than Islam, they have used their own civilians as human shields during their attacks. Speaking of the Hamas tactics of using civilians as human shields during their mortar and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians from their bases in Gaza, Colonel Richard Kemp during his speech on the Goldstone Report said, "More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians."

8. Giving Life and Taking Life

Jews/Israelis: Jews and Israelis encourage their children to live for their faith, their country, and their fellow religionists. The taking of life, except in self defense, is abhorrent to Jews and Israelis. Israel has no death penalty, except for crimes against humanity commited by the Nazi's during World War II. The 6th commandment given to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai states, "You shall not murder."

Muslims/Arabs: Militant Muslim Arabs teach their children to die for their faith. We here in the West cannot understand how anyone would deliberately bring up children to commit suicide, simply out of a sense of hatred for someone else. Human sacrifice in the form of suicide bombers is glorified and encouraged. Arab children are taught to be suicide bombers and offered up for death by their own parents. Palestinians exhort their children to turn themselves into suicide bombers and murder Israeli children. The Palestinian Authority has used its classrooms, media and mosques to indoctrinate Arab youth to believe Israel is illegitimate and evil and must be destroyed.

     In Gaza, a Muslim Arab father showed off his newborn son, Mohammed, named after the father’s 12-year-old boy who was killed on the second day of the Palestinian Intifada against Israel. The father said he would gladly sacrifice his newborn son to fight Israel.

     Columnist Ellen Goodman wrote that "any culture that takes pride in having the next generation as a ready supply of cheap weapons has already lost its future. Any leader who cultivates or condones suicide as its war plan has lost all moral standing. What do we say about societies that practice human sacrifice?"

9. Tolerance

Jews/Israelis: Jews and Israelis have demonstrated complete tolerance for other religions and nationalities. Israel’s concepts of tolerance are grounded in the Hebrew Old Testament. Leviticus, Chapter 19, line 34 states the following: “The stranger that sojourns with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” In Numbers, Chapter 15, lines 15 and 16 we have the following: “As for the congregation, there shall be one statute both for you, and for the stranger that sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations; as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One law and one ordnance shall be both for you, and for the stranger that sojourns with you.” In other words, Jews are forbidden in their holy Torah from treating non-Jews differently than themselves. There is to be one set of laws that is to be applied to Jew and non-Jew.

     In modern time, the rights of non-Jews in the State of Israel are spelled out in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel which specifically stated that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race or sex, and would guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. The principles stated in the Israel’s Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel were reinforced when in 1994 the Knesset amended two basic laws, Human Dignity and Liberty and Freedom of Occupation, introducing a statement saying that "the fundamental human rights in Israel will be honored (...) in the spirit of the principles included in the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel". As expressed in the actual language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the State of Israel committed itself to “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.”

     Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has laws specifically protecting every resident from discrimination regardless of the religion practiced or citizenship. Many Arab Israelis live harmoniously in Israel, and Israel openly welcomes Israeli Arabs who want to live in peace. Israeli Arabs are even represented in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. In 2007, an Israeli Arab was appointed as a director of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which works to purchase land in Israel for Jewish settlement. In Israel, the Christian population is slowly increasing, the only place in the Middle-East where this is the case.

     Israel is one of the most open societies in the world. Out of 5.6 million people, nearly 1.1 million-19 percent of the population are non-Jews. Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Today women hold 9 of the 120 Knesset seats. Eleven Arabs and one Druze are in the current Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel's Consul-General in Atlanta. Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel. Today, more than 200,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel's founding, there was but a single Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools.

     After gaining control of the West Bank in 1967, Israel guaranteed Muslim access to mosques, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Christian access to churches. Israel has extended protection to religious sites of non-Jewish religions; The 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law protects all holy sites. The city of Jerusalem has given financial support to Muslim religious activities as well as giving them facilities for their use. The Bahá'í Faith maintains the seat of their governing bodies, the Universal House of Justice in Haifa. Buddhism is also active as a religion in Israel.

     Israeli law provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right. In fact, each religious community has legal authority over its members in matters of marriage and divorce. They also control their own holy places in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the country.

Muslims/Arabs: In the Arab world, Jews, and Christians and all other non-Muslim religions are subject to the Dhimmitude laws, a set of laws that prescribe specific methods of discrimination against non-Muslims. Muslim and Arab countries do not practice tolerance to any but their own citizens and members of their religion. The treatment of non-Muslims, who are more commonly referred to as Infidels by the Koran and many Muslims, is defined under the term dhimmitude. With respect to Christians and Jews, we read that, “communities of the People of the Book might remain within the Arab land, but they must be in subjection . . . deriving their rights from the supreme Muslim community, not from any recognized rights of their own.

     Generally, Jews do not live in Arab countries and in areas administered by the Palestinian Authority because of discrimination and threats of violence. In Arab countries there is no freedom of religion. All citizens must be Muslims, and only Islam can be practiced publicly. Religions other than Islam are tolerated if practiced discreetly. In Saudi Arabia, a number of Christians were deported in 2000 because they practiced “apostasy” in too public a manner. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have suffered discrimination and attacks. Within the Palestinian controlled areas of Israel, no law protects religious freedom. In recent years, there have been allegations that several converts from Islam to Christianity have been threatened with death. The Bahá'í religion is banned in several Arab countries, while it has been welcomed and is headquartered in Israel.

     Christians in Palestinian controlled areas of Israel have been subjected to societal discrimination and harassment by Palestinian officials. Prior to the Palestinian Authority taking control of Bethlehem, the city was almost entirely populated by Christians - after World War II, Bethlehem was 80% Christian and Nazareth 60%. Now those percentages are 20% and 30% respectively, and are shrinking. Because of the discrimination under the Palestinian Authority, most Christians have moved out of the Bethelehem and many Christian tourists visiting the Holy Land no longer go to Bethlehem for fear of being attacked. Bethlehem is now primarily an Arab city, and the few Christians remaining are directly associated with the church and live in fear.

     Serious violations of religious freedom are reported from within the Palestinian Authority, especially the persecution of Muslims who have converted to Christianity. In the Christian town of Bet Jella, a human rights lawyer reported brutal interrogation methods and arbitrary arrests based on fabricated criminal charges against Muslims and their families who had converted to Christianity. His report includes testimony about torture from victims who were terrified to criticize the Palestinian Authority and their secret police.

     In Nazareth, the Christian population has decreased dramatically due to the rise and spread of militant Islam. The Islamic Movement has demanded the construction of a mosque near the Church of the Annunciation, a mosque even some moderate Muslims oppose. On Easter, 1999, the Muslim group burned Christian stores and targeted Christians over the issue; attempts to intervene were frustrated because Christians are terrified to speak out.

     Hundreds of Christian families left Palestinian towns like Bet Jella and Bethlehem during the al-Aqsa intifada, caught literally in the crossfire between Palestinians and Israelis. On the West Bank, a nearly-permanent Muslim boycott of Christian businesses is achieving its objective: driving the Christians to emigrate. In October 2000, Christians were attacked in Gaza after a Palestinian Muslim leader called for a "jihad" against both Jews and Christians. In February 2002 a Muslim mob, including Palestinian Authority Special Forces, burned Christian businesses and attempted to destroy the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in Ramallah. The attack occurred after a Christian man killed a Muslim while being pursued by a Muslim gang because he refused to pay protection money for safe passage to his home.

     Christians are under siege in virtually every country in the Muslim world and are the victims of countless acts of discrimination, depredation, brutality, and murder. Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are subject to relentless attack, and teeter on the brink of extinction at the hands of the 'Religion of Peace': Palestinian Christians in Gaza and the West Bank; Assyrian, Syriac and Chaldean Christians in Iraq; Coptic Christians in Egypt; Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea; Armenian Orthodox Christians in Turkey; and Maronite Christians in Lebanon.

     The Christian tradition in the Middle East goes back to the first century, but the most important date is 636, the Muslim Arab Conquest. Before that date the Middle East was inhabited by mostly Christians and Jews, subjects of the Christian Byzantine Empire. Afterward, Muslim Arabs dominated the region. Exceeding even the Roman's zeal for conquest, the Arabs wanted to covert everyone to Islam by force and over thirteen centuries of continuous oppression, they have largely succeeded, leaving only a few struggling groups.

     Islam remains intolerant of any other group of people. Others are not accepted on an equal basis, only as dhimmis to be subjugated by Islam. Muslim children are taught to chant:

     We shall fight on Saturday and then on Sunday.

     In other words, first the Jews and then the Christians.

     With the exception of Israel, the outlook appears bleak for Christianity in the Middle East, in the very home of the religion where the central events of Christianity occurred. Emigration began in the aftermath of World War I when Muslim Arabs gained political control, continued through the middle of the twentieth century, and then accelerated in the 1990s with the rise of radical Islam. Indigenous Middle Eastern Christians are fleeing in droves, escaping Muslim violence and persecution, and deteriorating economic conditions.

     In Dafur, fundamentalist Muslim Arabs have used slavery, rape, organized starvation, and mass murder to ethnically cleanse the region of inhabitants of the region who are not Muslim Arabs. Earlier, the Islamist fundamentalist government of Sudan conducted a similar campaign of genocide, rape, murder, enslavement, along with forced conversions to Islam of Christians and Animists in Southern Sudan. For years, Islamic fundamentalists have been carrying out enslavement, genocide, murder, rape, mass starvation and forced conversions in Africa of anyone who did not submit to their form of religious tyranny.

10. Houses of Worship

Jews/Israelis: Israel protects all houses of worship. Even during armed conflict, the IDF has paid scrupulous respect to mosques and churches housing Palestinian murderers claiming sanctuary – even at the cost of Jewish Lives.

     Israel has no written constitution, and instead abides by a series of Basic Laws. The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (1949) guarantees freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture to all. It also promises that Israel will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions.

     Among the plethora of houses of worship that exist in Israel are those of the Baha’i faith. The Bahá’í World Center, the spiritual and administrative heart of the Bahá’í community, is located in the twin cities of Akká (Acre) and Haifa in northern Israel. The Baha’i religion, its world headquarters and its houses of worship are welcomed by Israel and are open to all. The Baha’i Gardens on the slope of Mt. Carmel in Israel are among most visited sites in northern Israel.

Muslims/Arabs: Arab countries don’t allow non-Muslim houses of worship. Perhaps the following best sums up fundamentalist Muslim attitudes concerning Non-Muslim houses of worship. The Permanent Council for Scholarly Research and Religious Legal Judgment in Saudi Arabia studied the topic of the construction of houses of worship for “unbelievers” in the Arabian Peninsula, such as the construction of churches for Christians and houses of worship for Jews and for other “unbelievers” and the question of the owners of companies or organizations allotting a fixed place for their “unbelieving” workers to worship. It was concluded that all religions other than Islam were heresy and error and that any place designated for worship other than that of Islam was and is a place of heresy and error and it is forbidden to worship Allah in any way other than the way that Allah prescribed in Islam. According to the Council, Shari’a law is the final and definitive religious law. It applies to all men and abrogates all that came before it, e.g., Judaism and Christianity.
     The Koran states that Allah said: 'The only reason I sent you {Muhammad} was to bring good tidings and warnings to all.’ Muhammad said 'Oh people, I am Allah's Messenger to you all. Allah's religion is Islam. Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him. The unbelievers from among the people of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians, and the polytheists are in hellfire and will be there forever. They are the worst of all creation.'

     Building houses of worship, Jewish or Christian or anything else, is considered heretical, because the worship that is practiced in them is in violation of the laws of Shari'a. According to these laws, it is forbidden to build non-Muslim houses of worship in a Muslim country and there should be no symbol of unbelief, neither churches nor anything else. It is agreed that it is obligatory to destroy any church or other heretical house of worship that was built after the advent of Islam.

     When Israel withdrew from Gaza, Muslim Arab Palestinians ransacked and burned the Jewish Synagogues that were left by the Israelis – a sad reminder of the “Krystallnacht” desecrations perpetrated by the Nazis some 70 years earlier. Tolerance of non-Islamic religions is obviously not a trait of Islamic fundamentalists, Arab Palestinians and Jihad terrorists.

     Thousands of celebrating Palestinians thronged through Neve Dekalim in Gaza just after Israeli soldiers withdrew, setting fire to a building that just a month earlier served as a rabbinical college for Jewish settlers. There were similar scenes throughout Gaza as Palestinians headed straight for empty synagogues Israel had decided to leave intact. The fires caused little structural damage in the fortress-like concrete and stone structures, but Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the buildings would be destroyed. Such behavior is all too common in the Muslim world – there is no respect for any non-Muslim houses of worship. The frenzied destruction by Palestinian mobs of the synagogues that remained standing after the IDF pullout from Gaza most certainly tells us a lot about the venom the ‘Palestinian street’ feels toward Jews and Judaism and about how easy was their descent into primitiveness. Then again, this is all too reminiscent of the desecrations of Jewish holy places committed by the Jordanians during their occupation of Judea and Samaria prior to 1967. After taking conrol of portions of Jerusalem in 1948, it was reported that "the ancient Jewish quarter of the old city was ravaged, 58 Jerusalem synagogues - some centuries old - were destroyed or ruined, others were turned into stables and chicken coops".

11. Equality of Women

Jews/Israelis: Israel recognizes the equality of women with men. Israel has one of the broadest anti-discrimination laws of any country. According to the U.S. State Department, ‘The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, or sexual orientation.’ Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Today women hold 9 of the 120 Knesset seats.

     Women in Israel have been guaranteed gender equality since the establishment of the state in 1948. This has enabled women to actively participate in Israeli life. The Israeli Declaration of Independence states: “The State of Israel ... will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”

     The equality of women in Israel is perhaps best exemplified by Golda Meir who was elected the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel in 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel was the third country in the world to be led by a female prime minister. Golda Meir was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government"; she was often portrayed as the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people". Jewish women serve in Israel's military side-by-side with Israeli men. In 2006, women's parliamentary representation in Israel was 15 percent, which is above the Arab world's average of 6 percent and equals that of the U.S. Congress.

     The Israeli parliament, The Knesset, has established “The Committee on the Status of Women,” to address women’s rights. The stated objectives of this committee are to prevent discrimination, combat violence against women, and promote equality in politics, lifecycle events and education. In 1998, the Knesset passed a law for "Prevention of Sexual Harassment".

Muslims/Arabs: Islam denies equal rights to women. It is clear that the Islamic religion has been used in most Muslim countries to entrench inequality of women. The Taliban, with its fanatical subjugation of the female sex, occupies an extreme, but it nevertheless belongs on a continuum that includes, not so far down the line, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and the relatively moderate states of Egypt and Jordan. As Riffat Hassan, professor of religious studies at the University of Louisville, puts it, "The way Islam has been practiced in most Muslim societies for centuries has left millions of Muslim women with battered bodies, minds and souls."

     Part of the problem dates to Muhammad. Even as he proclaimed new rights for women, he enshrined their inequality in immutable law, passed down as God's commandments and eventually recorded in scripture. The Koran allots daughters half the inheritance of sons. It decrees that a woman's testimony in court, at least in financial matters, is worth half that of a man's. Under Shari'a, or Muslim law, compensation for the murder of a woman is half the going rate for men. In many Muslim countries, these directives are incorporated into contemporary law. For a woman to prove rape in Pakistan, for example, four adult males of "impeccable" character must witness the penetration, in accordance with Shari'a. You've got to be kidding!!! Can anyone stand there with a straight face and say that there are going to be four adult males of "impeccable" character that witness but do nothing to prevent a rape? Can anyone who witnesses a rape but does nothing to prevent it be of "impeccable" character? How many women are raped in front of four adult males of "impeccable" character?

     Family law in Islamic countries generally follows the prescriptions of scripture. This is so even in a country like Egypt, where much of the legal code has been secularized. In Islam, women can have only one spouse, while men are permitted four. Wives in Islamic societies face great difficulty in suing for divorce, but husbands can be released from their vows virtually on demand, in some places merely by saying "I divorce you" three times. Though in most Muslim states, divorcees are entitled to alimony, in Pakistan it lasts only three months, long enough to ensure the woman isn't pregnant. The same three-month rule applies even to the Muslim minority in India. There, a national law provides for long-term alimony, but to appease Islamic conservatives, authorities exempted Muslims. Women's rights are compromised further by a section in the Koran, sura 4:34, that has been interpreted to say that men have "pre-eminence" over women or that they are "overseers" of women. The verse goes on to say that the husband of an insubordinate wife should first admonish her, then leave her to sleep alone and finally beat her. Wife beating is so prevalent in the Muslim world that social workers who assist battered women in Egypt, for example, spend much of their time trying to convince victims that their husbands' violent acts are unacceptable.

     Iran, prior to the Islamic revolution, was a progressive and relatively permissive society yet today women are less than second-class citizens. Of particular abhorrence is the injustice practiced in the legal system where the capital crime of adultery can only be proven by testimony from four "just women" while proof only requires testimony of two men. Adding to this injustice is harsh punishments for women even making a complaint because Iranian law dictates the testimony of women either alone or coupled to that of a just man does not prove adultery. The penalty for making a complaint can even be execution! Consider the recent case of the woman in Iran who was sentenced to death by stoning under Shari'a law for committing the crime of adultery. There are a few troubling aspects to the case. First, since she was widow, how could she commit adultery? Adultery usually means having sex with someone other than one’s spouse while being married. In this case the woman was not married, but widowed. Since, as the saying goes, it takes ‘two to tango’, what about the man or men involved? If the woman committed adultery, than so too did the man or men. I have heard not a word about the man or men being sentenced to death by stoning or even being charged or convicted of adultery.

     Some of the objections to the treatement of women in Arab/Islamic countries include: forcing Pakistani girls to marry strangers against their will; forcing women into polygamous marriages; genital mutilation; prohibiting women from driving cars; and "instant" divorce. The Taliban are considered the most heinous form of Islamic horror inflicted upon the world today, and particularly toward women. Under Taliban law, women are prohibited from attending schools, cannot venture outside without being accompanied by a male member of their family and are routinely whipped in public for the most minor of infractions such as displaying their ankles.

     Pakistan is a source of radical Islam. Women in Pakistan are considered as subordinate to men. Moreover both family and male honor is measured by the actions of women. Honor killings are a practice where young girls and women are murdered by their fathers, husbands or male relatives for the purposes of restoring honor to the family. Some are even killed by their mothers or older female relatives for the purpose of restoring honor. Dishonor can be considered as being slighted by rumour or innuendo, proof is often not considered.

     Woman's rights in Islamic countries will never be fully established because, in Islamic countries, religion and state affairs are considered one. In the U.S. and the other western nations, there is separation of religion and state. Although Islam states that men and woman are equals, its Shari'a laws strongly contradict that concept. Under Shari'a law, men are permitted to have complete control of his wife and family. In Shari'a, a girl becomes eligible for marriage as soon as she begins to menstruate and in countries such as Afghanistan, child brides are common. Men can marry up to four wives and can easily divorce their wives without court proceedings simply by repeating "I divorce you" in the presence of two male witnesses. If the wife wants a divorce, she must go to court and prove that her husband is infertile or impotent. Once divorce is finalized, custody of children is automatically given to the father. A husband has the moral and religious right to beat his wife for disobedience or perceived misconduct. A woman does not have the right to choose her husband, place of residence, to travel freely or to even choose her clothing. Women have no autonomy and are deemed to need the protection of their fathers, brothers, husbands or any other male relative. Women can be put to death by their male relatives if the woman has a non-marital sexual relation or is simply perceived as having a non-marital sexual relation, and the murderer will not be punished.

     Some countries such as Saudi Arabia have the strictest Islamic moral code of conduct, woman are not allowed to drive and are subjected to sex segregation and discrimination because of the Islamic religious laws. In Saudi Arabia, woman can work in professions such as health care but not in fields such as architecture, business and other economic jobs. Their roles are simply to take care of the household and family. Many men in these nations are resistant to change. They feel the laws of Shari'a come from God and altering them should not be allowed. Recently, in the United States, an Arab father killed his two daughters who had an American mother. He believed the daughters were becoming promiscuous simply because they had American boyfriends.

12. Conversion

Jews/Israelis: Judaism, unlike Christianity and Islam, is not a proselytizing religion. Judaism teaches that the righteous of all nations have a place in the afterlife. Conversion is discouraged unless the prospective convert genuinely desires to embrace the Jewish faith and must do so of his/her own free will. In addition, the potential convert has to know what he is getting into, and that he is doing it for sincerely religious reasons. Conversion for the sake of love for Judaism is considered the best motivation. Genrally, Jews and Israel have never been interested in encouraging conversion to Judaism. There is a tradition that a prospective convert should be turned away three times as a test of sincerity. Only if the prospective convert remains adamant in their desire to convert, would they then be allowed to start the conversion process. This practice has been justified on several grounds, including:

  • The laws Jews require of themselves are more stringent than they consider to be required of others. A person who would be considered derelict of religious duties under Jewish law could still be an exceedingly righteous gentile.
  • Jews have suffered regular and often severe persecution throughout the ages. A proselyte could be exposing himself to potentially mortal danger.
  • In the book of Ruth, Naomi tried to get Ruth to go back to her own people 3 times before Ruth became a part of the Hebrew people.
     However, a rabbi convinced of the prospective convert's sincerity may allow him or her to follow the process of conversion. In the case of converted children, they would typically be asked if they want to remain Jewish after reaching religious adulthood – which is 12 years of age for a girl and 13 for a boy.

Muslims/Arabs: Muslims feel that they have a requirement to convert the entire world to Islam and forced conversions are allowed and have taken place throughout the history of Islam. Failure to convert can require death or subjugation as an infidel Dhimini.

     Radical Muslims say that “Islam understands its mission as extending God’s rule over the entire world.” Practically speaking, this means that the entire world should be under Islamic rule. Islam divides the world into Islamic and non-Islamic realms: “The dar al-Islam (realm of Islam) is that portion of the world under Islamic rule. God’s intent, according to Islam, is that the dar al-Islam should expand until it includes the entire world . . . The dar al-harb (realm of war) is that portion of the world not under Islamic rule. God commands Muslims to bring all peoples into Islam", i.e., to convert everyone in the world to Islam.

     A basic tenet of the fundamentalist Muslim revolution in Iran was/is that Iran had/has a God-given mission to export their version of the Islamic religion and system of government (Caliphate) to the corrupt West and the other Countries of the Persian Gulf.

13. Education

Jews/Israelis: Israel is among the best educated nations in the world. Its schools and universities are open to all. According to the Webometrics ranking, six of Israel's universities place in the top 100 schools of Asia. Four universities place in the top 150 in the world according to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities, and three are in the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings (i.e. amongst the "Top 200 World Universities"). In addition, Israeli universities are among 100 top world universities in science and engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and life sciences. Similarly, Israeli univesities rank in the top 100 in the world in the social sciences and economics. Israel, as a country, is ranked 23rd on RePec's Country and State Ranking.

     Among Mid-East countries, Israel ranks 1st in literacy and basic educational access and 3rd in percent of students attending higher education institutions. Israel—with fewer people than the state of New Jersey, no natural resources, and hostile nations all around—produces more tech companies listed on the NASDAQ than all of Europe, Japan, South Korea, India, and China combined. Israel attracts, per capita, 30 times as much venture capital as Europe and more than twice the flow to American companies. For its size, it produces the most cutting-edge technology startups in the world. Much of the credit for all of this is the Israeli education system.

Muslims/Arabs: Much of the Middle East Arab population is uneducated and many, if not most Arab women are denied higher education. The main distinguishing features of the state of education in the Arab world can be summarized as follows.

     Different educational policies and the multiplicity of systems and methods in the Arab countries totally isolate these countries from each other. There has been a failure of a number of educational curricula to keep up with contemporary developments and techniques, as well as to keep abreast of and closely monitor current international mutations in the educational field. There is a large number of less qualified instructors caused by an education system based on memorization rather than an education directed towards critical thinking and creativity. There is an absence of an adequate school environment in a number of Arab countries, whether in terms of buildings, classroom and laboratory equipment, or opportunities of free opinion expression, besides highly centralized administration. There is rampant illiteracy in a number of Arab countries.

14. Prophets

Jews/Israelis: In the Jewish religion, Moses is revered as a great leader and a go-between between the Hebrew people that he led out of bondage in Egypt and God. BUT, Moses is not acknowledged as having any aspects of divinity and Jews do not pray to him. Jews pray only to God. Moses is one of several who helped in the creation of the Jewish People and the Hebrew nation. Contrary to the focus of the Muslim religion on the prophet, Mohammad, the Jewish religion does not focus on Moses, who is revered by Jews as the Lawgiver and the Teacher. In addition to Moses, Jews also consider several others a prophets, e.g., Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc.

Muslims/Arabs: Muslims, on the other hand, place a mantle of near-divinity on their one and only Prophet Muhammad. There is no other person in the Islamic faith who commands such respect and obedience. Most of the teachings of their religion are based upon the words and actions of Muhammad. The Muslim religion focuses much more on one single man, Muhammad, than does the Jewish religion.

     Muslims frequently refer to Muhammad in extremely reverential terms. When referring to Muhammad ,we see such phrases as: the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); Muhammad (peace be upon him); The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace); Mohammed (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him salvation).

     Muslims often equate criticism of Muhammad with blasphemy, which is punishable by death in some Islamic states. Under its blasphemy laws, Pakistan frequently prosecutes "blasphemers". If the courts decline to act, angry crowds have been known to lynch the suspected blasphemer. According to Islam it is blasphemous to make images of the prophet.

15. Democracy

Jews/Israelis: Israel is a true democracy in a region of the world where democracy is a dirty word. Democratic concepts were always a part of Jewish thinking and derived directly from the Torah. For instance, the belief that all men are created in the image of God logically leads to the idea of all men being equal. And the idea of the covenant between God and the Israelites, in which both parties accepted upon themselves duties and obligations, shows that power is established through the consent of both sides rather than through tyranny by the more powerful party. One can easily see how the biblical covenant could lead to ideas such as government by consent, constitional law and no absolutism. Despite all the challenges to the small state, from wars and security threats to immigrant absorption and limited natural resources, Israel has succeeded in maintaining a vibrant and stable democracy.

Muslims/Arabs: Nearly all Arab and Muslim countries are theocracies, monarchies or are under the control of totalitarian regimes. In 1974, the world had only about 40 democracies, and only a few of them lay outside the West. By 1990, there were 76 electoral democracies. By 1995, that number had shot up to 117 — three in every five states. By then, a critical mass of democracies existed in every major world region save one — the Middle East. Moreover, every one of the world’s major cultural realms had become host to a significant democratic presence, albeit again with a single exception — the Arab world. By 2010, this exception still stands. The continuing absence of even a single democratic regime in the Arab world is a striking anomaly—the principal exception to the globalization of democracy. Among the sixteen independent Arab states of the Middle East and coastal North Africa, Lebanon is the only one to have ever been a democracy. Today, it is largely under the control of totalitarian Syria or the terrorist group, Hezbollah.

16. Freedom of the Press

Jews/Israelis: Israel practices freedom of the press. It is said that Israel has one of the most freewheeling press corps in the world. Since its inception in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, the culture of journalism in Israel has heeded the basic tenets of a democratic press, namely, to provide as much accuracy as possible in reporting the news, a broad range of viewpoints and independent postures regarding political and public institutions.

     Israeli members of the press accept and abide by the western approach to journalism and innately act according to a code of ethics that includes critical analysis and reliable information as its creed. Israel is also a very political society. Every political decision and process can and often does directly impact on the lives of the Israeli populace. The model of "tabloid journalism" which is popular in many other countries, is therefore not as readily tolerated in Israel, whose population reads its papers avidly to obtain accurate facts and news. Consequently, the daily newspapers and other forms of Israeli media deal with fundamental issues of the day, monitor the government and provide comprehensive political information to their readers and audience. Although some members of the public question the motives of the press in criticizing the state during wartime, in general, Israeli society comprehends that a free, robust press is crucial to the existence of a strong democracy and a value worth fighting for.

Muslims/Arabs: Freedom of the press in Arab countries and fundamentalist Islamic countries such as Iran is quite problematic. The journalistic community considers the Arab/Islamic world as the ‘arc of silence’. In these countries, the media is strictly controlled by totalitarian governments. Journalists usually do not have freedom to travel where they want in Arab countries but are escorted, so that they see only what the powers that be want them to see. Often, if they are allowed to go around on their own, they’re followed.

17. The United States

Jews/Israelis: Israel has been and is a staunch supporter of the United States. Israel has consistently been America's top U.N. ally. Israel voted with the U.S. 100 percent of the time in 2004, outpacing the support levels of major U.S. allies such as Great Britain, France and Canada by more than 30 percent. Israel and the United States are partners in the war on terrorism. Both face a common threat from radical Islamic groups that want to destroy them because of what they represent - freedom, democracy, modernity and Judeo-Christian values.

     Israel is a strategic ally of the United States that enjoys the status of a major non-NATO ally. Haifa is one of the most popular ports of call for the U.S. navy while American and Israeli troops reularly engage in joint exercises. Israel is sometime viewed as an American aircraft carrier in the Middle East because its military can be used to advance U.S. interests.

Muslims/Arabs: Many Muslims and Arabs hate America and view the U.S. as the ‘Great Satan’. Muslims and Muslim Arabs have committed a multitude of acts of terror against the U.S. and its citizens.

     In the U.N., Arab countries have historically voted in support of the U.S. only a fraction of the time. In 2004, Jordan was the Arab nation that voted with the United States most often, and that was on only 30 percent of the resolutions. The other Arab countries, including allies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, voted against the United States 80 percent of the time or more. As a group in the U.N., the Arab states voted against the United States on nearly 80 percent of the resolutions in 2004.


  30 September 2010 {Article 100; Israel_07}    
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