From the Editors
This issue of the Harvard Israel Review represents the hard work of many students over several months. The individuals who produced this issue share a common concern for the deteriorated political situation and abhorrent violence in the Middle East. They also share the hope that, one-day, Israel, living beside its neighbors in peace and security, will empower Jews around the world by creating communal self-reliance and protecting Jews from anti-Semitism.
The West once viewed the idea of the Jewish State with this same hope. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, when the world learned the extent of the horror visited upon the Jewish people, Jewish empowerment became a moral imperative to those in the West. World leaders and intelligentsia, especially in Europe and America, felt that Jewish self-reliance through the creation of a Jewish State was the only way to prevent another Holocaust.
Today, this hope is a reality and the Jewish State empowers Jews around the world with peace and security and a land to call home. Yet, rather than applauding Israel for providing a safe-haven for the Jewish community, many in the West come to view Israel with great hostility. Israel is the subject of endless international criticism. The Western media bombards us with images of Palestinian youths armed with rocks standing up to Israeli soldiers in tanks and fighter planes. Critics subject Israel to impossible double standards concerning human rights and its right to defend itself. We are made to believe that Israel can do no right because it has power. We are made to believe that Palestinians can do no wrong because they do not.
Perhaps the criticism Israel faces today is a testament to the success of the Jewish State in empowering Jews. Jews for the first time in modern history have their own army and means to protect each other. Many in the West—especially liberal intelligentsia who are so distrustful of power—have forgotten the lessons of the previous century. And while Israel has provided some protection to the Jewish community, Jews around the world still face considerable danger today. One need only look to the worldwide rise in anti-Semitism in recent years. We live in an era where synagogues are bombed in France, where Jews are murdered for being Jewish, where anti-war rallies and rallies for peace in the Middle East routinely devolve into forums for hatred directed at Jews and Israel. Israel still relies on substantial U.S. foreign aid to protect itself and faces deadly attacks daily. While Israel has certainly provided many Jews with considerable security and stability, the project of Jewish self-reliance—the ultimate aim of Zionism—is not complete.
It is with these thoughts we invite you to read these pages with an open heart and critical mind. We ask you to challenge the ideas you have already been exposed to and the new ones you are about to read. As always, we look forward to hearing from you.
Daniel Feith, Yonina Murciano-Goroff and Ronen Mukamel, for the Editors.