I have been wanting to write this article about Israel and the way this country is governed and run. The reality is, Israel is established and is not going to disappear or submit to pressure to relinquish land to Palestinians at any point in the near future. While we support the people of Israel, we do not agree with every facet of Israeli government. There are many concepts that work very well in Israel and we think Western countries should consider adopting, and we will write more about Israel some time soon.
The Establishment of a Nation and the Balfour Declaration
On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel to be known as the State of Israel." For further comprehensive reading online go Here
The State of Israel has its origins in an agreement made much earlier in 1917. In 1917 the British Government was desperate for assistance and needed the help of America in order to turn the tides of World War1 against Germany. To get this help they made an agreement with Lord Rothschild and the Zionist Federation which is known as the Balfour Declaration.
The Balfour Declaration is a letter dated 2 November 1917, and was written by the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community. This letter was for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The declaration states, the British Government will allow people of Jewish faith to establish a national home in Palestine, and will support everything in their power to help them achieve it. The exact wording of the letter can be read below:
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
"I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet. 'His Majesty's Government' view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation."
Arthur James Balfour
After the 2nd World War ended, Britain had concluded it could no longer manage Palestine due to escalations in tensions between Arabs and the mass increase of Jews being smuggled into the region. They handed over the issue to the United Nations, and after considering a debate, the UN decreed that Palestine should be divided into two states - one Jewish and one Arab. This resolution was rejected by the Arabs though the Jews accepted the decision.
British ownership over Palestine was officially terminated on May 14, 1948, and on that same day Zionist advocate, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the creation of the State of Israel and accepted the position of Prime Minister. A day later, both the United States and the Soviet Union acknowledged the State of Israel as an official nation.
This is a long and very complex issue to write about. Instead of trying to summarize what is a very tense issue for many, we have handpicked some great videos and images that will hopefully give you an overall understanding of the conflict and history.
Different Sides to the Same Story - You Decide
Timeline of Military Action During the Conflict
Land Ownership Over Time
International Treaties Regarding the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict
Present Day Israel
Since its early days as a fledgling State, the Israel Defence Force was given authority to enlist any citizen from 18 year of age. Under their law, both men and women had to serve for a minimum period. Men - 3 years and 2 years for women. There are a number of reasons Israeli citizens can be exempt from service which include medical problems, religious study and criminal records to name a few. Today, many citizens choose to stay after their initial conscription and the military becomes their career and livelihood.
Upon evaluation each person is given a medical profile which determines where they will serve. The highest grade profiles are places in one of five infantry brigades, field and combat intelligence units or can serve as combat engineers. Other roles include artillery, military and border police, Aman, logistics corps, adjutant Corps and more.
Women in the Army
Israel is one of the few countries that has mandatory conscription for women into their armed forces. While it is still mandatory, there are more reasons for exemption available to women including religious conscience, pregnancy, marriage and motherhood.
Currently 65% of women serve in the army, 25% choose to opt out on religious groups and the remaining 10% are exempted due to marriage and family or physical/emotional reasons.
Prevention of Infiltration Law
This controversial law was original enacted in 1954 with the express purpose to prevent the entry of Palestinian refugees and sympathisers into Israel due to fear of terrorism.
In 2013 the law was amended due to huge increases in the number of illegal immigrants ( infiltrators ) coming in from Africa. These amendments included limitations on the amount of time a infiltrator could be detained as well as increasing the number of anti-infiltration enforcement officers. Israel also has an ingenious scheme where they will compensate detainees if they agree to go home.
The new amendments enable the Israeli government to give jail time to migrants on temporary visas for any criminal activity regardless of its severity as a way of ensuring a zero tolerance attitude of African attitudes towards women and rape.
All detainees are put through an identification process and medical examination. Those who file for asylum are given temporary visas allowing them to remain in detention or in the Israel community for up to 3 years. Anyone who aids migrants via smuggling, providing shelter or giving them with weapons are also up for lengthy harsh sentences. People from Sudan and Eritrea are under no circumstances allowed to file for asylum. People from these nations are given options of cash and a ticket home, or to be taken to a detention centre.
In 2015, 45,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugee were sent letters informing them they had 30 days to accept one of 3 options:
• Israel’s offer of $3,500 in cash and a one-way ticket home
• A one-way ticket to an unnamed third country in Africa
• Incarceration at Saharonim detention centre
Only 190 asylum seekers have been granted refugee status in Israel since it signed the 1951 Convention in 1954.
The Israeli government does not force these illegal immigrants to return home, but they refuse to give them citizen rights to health benefits, voting, or education. They are allowed to work, as the government believe this is a sensible way of ensuring that crime rates do not spike.
Since building a barrier between the Egypt and Israel border, the number of people seeking to enter Israel illegally has significantly decreased. The numbers are very telling with statistics citing that 9,570 citizens of various African countries entered Israel illegally in the first half of 2012, however, only 34 illegal immigrants entered in the first half of 2013 after construction of the main section of the barrier was completed
It should also be noted that a number of countries, including India and the United States, has sent officials over to Israel to review and learn about their successful barrier technology.