Adapting Jabotinsky's Ideas
After The Holocaust

By Dr. Noah Nissani

Historical Background:

As Hitler came to power, the holocaust was about to become a reality. However, new hopes of saving European Jewry were kindled when the Jewish Agency and the German Government signed the "Transfer Agreement" for the immigration of German Jewry, with their assets, to Palestine. Before 1939, Britain had not limited the number of Jewish immigrants but only adapted it to the prospects of their employment. According to this criterion, wealthy Jews were free to settle in Palestine, and their investments could have allowed larger numbers of less affluent Jews to follow them. Immigration from Germany, which was the richest Jewish community at that time, could have triggered a much greater immigration from Eastern Europe. Since Ben Gurion and his party refused to accept more than 10-15 thousand German Jews per year (see documentation at, Jabotinsky decided to establish the New Zionist Organisation, as a last, desperate attempt to save European Jewry. Three years later, in 1938, Jabotinsky announced his failure in the rescue operation. His speech in Warsaw may be summed up with these statements: "We have failed. Let each one save himself. Those who survive will see the foundation of the Jewish State. I will not see it, but my son will."

Some ten million European Jews were desperately seeking routs of escape. Six millions were exterminated by the Nazis, taking with them the chance of establishing a solid Jewish majority in Palestine, free of long term demographic concerns. This majority was the foundation of Jabotinsky's solution to the Arab-Jewish conflict. To achieve it, despite the understandable objection of the Arabs, Jabotinsky proposed the policy of "The Iron Wall". Although the chance for obtaining a solid Jewish majority no longer exists, the principles of his plan still offer the best basis for a just and lasting peace between the two peoples. Yet in the present situation, we must define which interests we cannot compromise upon, and build an iron wall around them. This would only be possible in a Liberal Democratic regime, such as the one in the USA, which is based on mutual consideration of each sector's special needs, and not on the rule of the majority.

A Solution Without Majority

The main problem in achieving a stable, democratic, liberal solution, with or without securing a Jewish majority, is that the Israeli public only knows the totalitarian democracy that is based on the rule of the majority. Even worse is the "democracy" that is based on a "sovereign" legislature, whose status, much like the Supreme Soviet, is above the law. Such an institution has the power to change the constitution and all laws at will. This type of democracy is the antithesis of "a state of the law", where "the law should be above all", as Aristotle puts it, particularly above the government and not only above the citizens. The latter are ruled by the law in all types of regimes, and the law is stricter as the regime is more authoritarian. The USA is a good example, but not the only one, for a system that replaced the rule of the majority with a government of consideration. In the American elections for the Senate and the Presidency, the votes of the states with smaller population carry more weight than the votes of the more populated states. In addition, it has no institution, or group of institutions, which have the exclusive legislative power.

Another obstacle in achieving a just and lasting peace, is the mistaken notion that Israel has to get rid of Gaza, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in order to solve the demographic problem. With all due respect to our Arab citizens and their loyalty to Israel, it cannot be denied that they represent a percentage of Israel's population, which remains almost the same as it was before the large Jewish immigration from Asia, Africa and Europe from the early days of statehood. Now, when 80% of world Jewry live in Israel and the USA, and the remaining 20% are spread in smaller communities around the world, further immigration cannot be expected, in the foreseeable future, to balance the difference between the rate of natural growth of the two populations. Therefore, if we are to preserve the existing totalitarian democracy, that is based on the rule of the majority and has no constitution, we shall soon see, with or without the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank, how the dream of the Jewish State will turn into another exile. The Jews will become a minority that lives at the mercy of a gentile majority. We may expect the Arabs to treat us just like we treat them today.

Today's Iron Wall must guarantee the security of the Jews, both in Israel and abroad, even in demographic conditions that would not be in our favour. The first step that must be taken as soon as possible, for the sake of all the people of our country, is to replace the current regime with a Liberal Democratic constitution. It should be based on a mutual consideration of the real needs of all the social components in the "State of the Jews and all its citizens". We must insist on including in the new constitution, based on two communal autonomies, the following conditions:

A) To safeguard the security of the Jews in their land and abroad; Since the Jews are and will be a minority wherever they live, and since Israel is the only Jewish state, every Jew must have the right to be a citizen of the state at any time and regardless of his / her location of residence.

B) Since the Jews are and will be a minority in the Arab-Muslim world, security and immigration policies will be determined exclusively by the authorities of the Jewish autonomy.

C) To secure equal rights for all citizens, regardless of the majority's will, both autonomies will receive equal representation in all branches of the joint government.

D) To guarantee full civil, national and religious rights to all the state's citizens, most of the roles and powers of government will be transferred from the central authorities to the two communal autonomies.

See the article "Jabotinsky's Liberal Solution to the Jewish-Arab Conflict", in the English section of the web site:

Jabotinsky's Liberal Solution To The Arab-Jewish Conflict

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