Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East, with a free press, an independent judiciary and an effective trade union movement.
Israel is the only Jewish nation in the world. It is a refugee state made up of survivors of the Nazi holocaust, Soviet anti-semitism, and almost a million Jewish refugees kicked out of Arab lands. Yet it offers political and religious rights to its Christian and Muslim citizens.
Israel is only one half of one per cent of the Arab world, about the size of Wales. It has made territorial compromises in the interests of peace. It returned the Sinai to Egypt, unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and offered Palestinian statehood to Yasser Arafat as part of the deal brokered by President Clinton in 2000. Only for Arafat to reject the deal and launch the second intifada.
“Israel offered more than I expected it would or indeed I believe it should” to achieve peace, President Clinton on Israel’s offer of peace to the Palestinians in 2000, rejected by Yasser Arafat.
The Jewish connection to the land of Israel is recorded over 3,500 years of history. According to chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “If any nation on earth has a right to any land – a right based on history, attachment and long association – then the Jewish people has a right to Israel”
Israel is the only state mandated both by the Bible and the United Nations. It is the only state which is threatened with utter annihalation by its neighbours. In 1948, 1967 and 1973 the state of Israel had to fight for survival against its much larger neighbours, including Egypt and Syria. Today it is surrounded by Hezbollah to the north, Hamas to the south and Iran just over the horizon, all of which are pledged to destroy it.
Israel remains committed to a two-state resolution. It wishes to see a state of Israel existing alongside a state of Palestine in peace, unlike Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran which demand all the land for an Islamic state and openly call for the expulsion or murder of the Jewish people.
Why Israel? Ten nobel laureates; mind-boggling innovations in medicine and communications; more refugees per capita absorbed than any other country on earth; a democratic secular state which is a centre for three world religions.
Oh and yes, Israel is the only country in the world the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance want you to boycott!