Book: The Invention of the Jewish People. Shlomo Sand.

This is a very interesting and controversial book. Written by an Israeli professor and originally published in Hebrew, it poses an alternative view to Israel’s claim that it should be an exclusive Jewish State, “in which non-Jews are culturally and political marginalized”. As a discourse  the work sheds a very different light on Jewish history, which both eases and heightens the many tensions Jews feel about their homeland.

Personally, I found this to be a compelling book, especially since Israel recently passed laws pertaining to who  can be an  Israeli  citizen and who cannot.  There are many Israelis who are not Jewish, should they be denied citizenship?  I think not.  At the same time many Jews wishing to live in Israel have to prove their Jewishness. Indeed, while the meaning of the word “Israel” distinctly refers to the Jewish people, this should not, in my view, be cause for exclusion from belonging to a state and having the same rights as other citizens if one’s ethnicity ( or indeed one’s spirituality  ) belongs there.   Nor should it exclude those Jews who have lived their faith, but who cannot prove their origins.   If someone identifies with a homeland then they should be free to live there and call it their land.

Historically, the Jews were destined to spread the belief in one supreme force in the universe that was greater than ourselves, (one God).  Over time, this idea has been eroded due to the many threats and insecurities Jewish people have experienced.  The desire to create a solely Jewish enclave is understandable, but it is not a solution to grounded fears and hostilities, which are neither spiritually or politically desirable.  I support the author’s view that the mythology of the Promised Land is neither historically accurate nor is it workable in a region that is in desperate need of a peaceful solution for bringing about a secure statehood for all who feel they belong in this wonderful “land of milk and honey“.