The Modern State of Israel: A Testimony of Perseverance

Abstract

The modern state of Israel is a paradox of oxymorons. It is a mostly Jewish island surrounded by a hostile sea of the Arab world. Its major religion is Judaism, which is in conflict with the religion of Islam that Israel’s neighbors embrace. Furthermore it has a democratic government, yet has vestiges of socialism and communism in the form of its moshovs and kibutzes. The government of Israel desires peace with the entire Arab world, but has few treaties with the Arab nations that surround it. Israel has over 100 atomic warheads, but refuses to use them as a first-strike offensive weapon, while Iran is attempting to develop an atomic warhead for the expressed purpose of extinguishing Israel’s existence. This paper looks at the geography, people, and institutions that make up modern day Israel. It further reviews the militaristic history of Israel that has been thrust upon it by aggressive Arab states bent on reclaiming the Jewish homeland for Islam.

The Land Flowing With Milk and Honey?

Israel is located in the Middle East south of Lebanon and southeast of Syria. It is west of Jordan and southeast of Egypt. Israel’s western shoreline follows the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. The pre Six Day War boundaries were about 7,992 square miles, which comprised approximate 175 square miles of fresh water (lakes, rivers, and streams). When Israel first gained its independence it had a close approximation to the square miles of New Jersey, which makes Israel about 267 miles long from north to south, and was 71 miles wide at its largest part, and a very narrow 6.5 miles at its narrowest. Israel annexed East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip after the Six Day War in June of 1967, which added an additional 2,896 square miles to its overall size.

Israel has a hot, dry summers and a short, cool, and rainy winter which is typical of the Mediterranean climate that comprises it. Depending on the location within the country, climate varies between extreme desert arid (such as can be found in Egypt) and the moderate to above average humidity of the eastern Mediterranean. January and February usually are the coldest months ranging from the average low of 41 F to the average high of 50 F, and will be the months that snow falls in Jerusalem and the other locations of the Central Highlands. Agriculture is performed in the areas that receive more than 300 millimeters of rainfall annually; about one-third of the country is farmable. August is usually the hottest month of the year (65 F to 100.5F). Typically it rains the most between January and March, when approximately 70 percent of the average rainfall occurs, then rainfall becomes very sparse between mid April through July; June through August are often rainless, with a sparse to moderate rainfall from September to December. Rainfall is uneven as it rains the most in the coastal northern regions, and decreases sharply in the southern quadrants. In the extreme south, rainfall averages less than six and a half inches annually; in the north, average annual rainfall is 69 inches. As would be expected, rainfall varies from season to season, especially in the Negev Desert where the bulk of the annual rain is often concentrated in violent storms. The Negev has limited plant life or in certain locations no vegetation, causing erosion and flooding with any above normal precipitation.

Israel’s geography is partitioned into four segments: the coastal plain, Jordan Rift Valley, the Negev Desert, and the Highlands. The coastal plain which is a long, narrow strip of land that runs from the Lebanese boarder is about four miles wide at the Lebanese border and runs south to the Gaza in the south where it is approximately thirty-five miles wide. The region is heavily farmed and is famous for the excellent citrus and grapes grown there even though there are only two short streams; the Yarqon and Oishon that have flowing water year around.

The Central Highlands are made up of the Golan Heights and Judean Hills. The Judean Hills are comprised of the mountains, hills and valleys of the Upper Galilee region and the Lower Galilee Region. South of the mountains is the Samaritan Hills with many small and fertile valleys. The southern end of the highland region is the capital city, Jerusalem, with its barren and stark hills that surround the eternal city. The central highlands average 1800 feet in elevation with the highest point at Mount Meron (located in Galilee near Safed) at 3,624 feet. The area has several valleys that run from east to west with the largest one being the Yiareel Valley, which stretches for approximately forty five miles from Haifa in the southeast to the Valley of the Yarden River, and is seventeen miles at the widest point.

East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, this has the Jordan River, Lake Kinneret, and the Dead Sea in it. The Jordan River is approximately 315 miles long and starts in the Lebanese Syrian Mountains near Mountains. Three rivers flow south from the mountains through the lush Hula Basin into the freshwater Lake Kinneret. The lake is 150 square miles in size and is approximately about 234 yards below sea level and has a capacity estimated at 4 billion cubic yards. Israel formed a water company, called the National Water Carrier, who uses Lake Kinneret as the major source for drinking water throughout the country. The Jordan River flows from the southern end of Lake Kinneret to its end point in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is 970 square miles in size and, at 960 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in the world. South of the Dead Sea, the Rift Valley continues in the Nahal HaArava that does not have a permanent water flow, for 150 miles to the Gulf of Aqaba.

Approximately half of Israel’s total land area is located in the Negev Region. Geographically it is simply an extension of the Sinai Desert. On a map the Negev looks forms a triangle with its two base points in the north near Beersheva and the Dead Sea, and the top of the triangle facing down to the resort town of Elat.

Aliyah, Sabras, and Immigrants

It comes as no surprise that approximately 82% of Israel is comprised of Jews. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the Jewish population of Israel was 3,601,200 (82%), while the other eighteen percent were made up of Arab Muslims (13.8%), Arab Christians (2.3%), and Druze (1.7%). Twenty Seven percent of the world’s Jewish population lives in Israel. Israel’s median age is 25.4, with the non-Jewish population much younger. The cause of this is because older people are more likely to immigrate (aliyah) than younger people, couples with young children living with the parents are the least likely to immigrate. Muslim Arabs are the largest minority group (77%) with Christians, Druze, and others comprising the rest.

Aliyah (Hebrew for “return”) is a very important cornerstone of Israeli society and is guaranteed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and Zionist documents. Aliyah has historical, ideological, and political ramifications that are just as valid today as it was when the First Jewish Congress met and made the Zionist goal of returning the wondering Jews to their homeland a top priority. The high rate of legal and illegal aliyah is directly related to most of the surge in the growth rate of the Jewish population- both for agriculture and militaristic defense- before and just after the formation of the State of Israel in 1948.

From the end of World War II through the 1960’s, the largest segment of the Jewish population was Ashkenazi, or European Jews, with Sephardic Jews making up the rest of the Jewish population. By the early 1970’s the largest segment of the Jewish population was Oriental Jews, which emigrated from African, Arab and Asian countries (the name was taken from the Hebrew word which means Communities of the East). The Jews that were born in Israel became the largest group of Israeli citizens in 1975 when the Sabra’s (named after a desert flower) and outnumbered all immigrants. This would not change until the Russian Immigration of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Israel is overwhelmingly an urban nation, with most of its population living in its three largest cities, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. Although the Jewish population has shifted away from Haifa in recent years due to the Peace Plan giving large segments of the city away to its Arab inhabitants which has greatly lowered the percentage of Jews living in Haifa, still 90% of all Israelis reside in urban settings. Tel Aviv has close to 6,000 persons per square mile. The population density is noticeably lower in the arid regions of the Negev to such an extent that only a handful of small villages are between Beersheva and Elat.

In the mid-1950s, the Israeli government, under Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, attempted to disperse the established population from the coastal area as well as settling the immigrants. These immigrants were coming from various Middle Eastern and North African countries and were placed into development towns that were planned and built over the next decade and a half. Primarily Oriental and Sephardic Jews settled in them and have become the focal point and targets from Arab Muslims.

Zionism, the roots of Modern Israel

Israel is not a religious state and a safe haven for adherents of Judaism. The government and the courts are not governed by religious institutions as found in the Arab nations surrounding it. There is a continual battle of the wills between secularists and religionist. Israel has many streams of social input, but the majority of these sources have evolved from Judaism and a political movement called Zionism, which reached its zenith during the late 1800’s and early twentieth century. During the late nineteenth century as a reaction to the pogroms against the Jews in Eastern Europe and the anti-Semitism that was rampant in Western Europe, Zionism called for the end of mass immigration to North America (especially to the United States), and instead immigrate back to their homeland and work for an independent Israel. For 1812 years a medium number of Jews had continually lived in the Land- from the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 to the present. In 1882 a group called Hibbat Tzion (Lovers of Zion) emigrated from Russia who had pledged to pioneer the work of reclaiming the land and establishing a future Jewish homeland.

Zionism has triumphed: the bloody and broken remnants of post Holocaust European Jewry were integrated into the population of the modern Jewish State of Israel. Culturally the Zionist movement was also a resounding success. Hebrew, the ancient Biblical language of the masses, was officially revived. No longer would Yiddish be the de facto language spoken by the Jews. Hebrew was brought out of the synagogues and religious schools and spoken again in the homes, the shops, and the farms throughout the land. The pioneers knew that Hebrew would connect the new Jewish State to its verbal heritage and bind the people of Israel together by giving them a common tongue instead of the numerous languages from the lands that the immigrants had just left. Although Zionism arguably has succeeded, modern Israeli society is still has many problems, some of them very profound, including difficulties between the secular and religious classes, the difference in the quality of life with the best being in the cities then towns, and the worse quality of life being found in the rural localities, and the treatment of recent Jewish immigrants, most notably from the Former Soviet Union.

There are other social ills that can only be found in Israeli culture. Israel is not a religious state, such as Iran or the Vatican. Because the majority of Jewish Israelis are secularist that is they believe in God but do not follow the religious codes and practices of Judaism, the question of what capacity- if any- Judaism should play in the political arena is a major controversy. The tension between religious and secular Jews is very noticeable, with the two groups barely being civil to each other. Secularists make up the majority in government, military, business, and the courts, while the religious are predominately in education and agriculture. The division between the Ashkenazim (European or American Jews), Sephardic (Mediterranean Jews) Oriental (those Jews whose families emigrated from Arab and Asian lands), and Ethiopian (African Jews) is another serious problem. The cause of these divisions are due to external factors, such as monetary funds- or lack thereof- when immigrating, the ability to be absorbed into mainstream Israeli society, and the known Jewishness of the immigrants. Many immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union have questionable Jewish bloodlines, with a sole great grandmother or great grandfather as being Jewish. Until life in the Soviet Union became unbearable these questionable Jews had no intention of ever immigrating. After the collapse of the Communist regime, they were successfully able to use a relatives Jewishness to escape Soviet society.

The cultural disharmony is further befuddled by the problem of non-Jews in the Jewish state. These non-Jews also hold Israeli citizenship, primarily Arab Muslims, Arab Christians and Arab Druze, although there are select groups of non-Jewish, non-Arab Christians who live in Israel. Arab Israelis reside within the confines of Israel proper, those that reside in the original boundaries as drawn by the United Nations, and those Arabs who choose to live in the areas that the Arabs lost to Israel in the Six Day War (the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and the West Bank). The Arabs in this last group are represented by the PLO and Hamas, which have no loyalty to the state of Israel. The ongoing tension between Arabs (Palestinians) and Jews in Israel is related to Israel’s continual existence. The invasion into Lebanon in July of 2007 by Israel due to Hamas kidnapping Israeli soldiers and retreating into Lebanon was the sixth war since Israel’s independence in 1948. This figure does not count smaller military actions such as the famous Entebbe raid of July 1976 or the bombing of Iraq’s just finished Nuclear weapons plant.

Kibbutz and Moshav

In 1910 Deganya, the first kibbutz was founded close to the shores of Lake Kinneret. Kibbutzim are collective villages that were originally designed for agriculture endeavors, but since the late 1960s, it has included industrial and manufacturing plants as well. Founded by both the religious pious and political socialists, kibbutzim have two things in common; they pool the labor and they pool the capital: this means that everything is owned and provided by the community. Some things are considered exemplary by western standards, such as a dining hall so mothers and wives do not have to cook for their families, but the draconian side of kibbutzim life is that infants and toddlers live in nurseries and “visit” their parents, while older children live in dorms. Kibbutzim are generally a living example of democracy with weekly meetings and the bulk of decisions being made by the adult population of the kibbutzim.

Until the mid1980s, the kibbutz ideology had a major role in Israeli society. The Kibbutz lifestyle and ideals were portrayed to be the offspring of those first young and idealistic Zionist pioneers who put a dream of a Jewish homeland first and themselves last. These early Zionists bought land in the most desolate and dangerous parts of the country, drained swamps, fought malaria and turned worthless land into profitable orchards and fields. The Kibbutzim taught country first, kibbutzim second, family next. This is why the highest percentage of young men who were commissioned officers in military units was from the Kibbutzim. Before independence, and in the early days of the country, there was a spirit of simple, honest living that made up Israeli society which was fostered by those who had lived or came in contact with the kibbutzim scattered throughout the land.

The first moshav was established in the Jezreel, or Yizreel, Valley in 1921. There are two types of moshavim, ovdim, and shitufim. Ovadim relies on cooperative purchasing of supplies and marketing of produce; the family or household is, however, the basic unit of production and consumption. The shitufi form is closer to the collectivity of the kibbutz: although consumption is family-or household-based, production and marketing are collective. Unlike the moshavim ovdim, land is not allotted to households or individuals, but is collectively worked.

Because the moshav form retained the family as the center of social life and eschewed bold experiments with communal child-rearing or equality of the sexes, it was much more attractive to traditional Oriental immigrants in the 1950s and early 1960s than was the more communally radical kibbutz. For this reason, the kibbutz has remained basically an Ashkenazi institution, whereas the moshav has not. On the contrary, the so-called immigrants’ moshav (moshav olim) was one of the most-used and successful forms of absorption and integration of Oriental immigrants, and it allowed them a much steadier ascent into the middle class than did life in some development towns.

Immigration is never constant, but has a definite ebb and flow, the only constant is thatless and less immigrants are choosing to work in agriculture. Both kibbutzim and moshavim have felt the strain of fewer willing participants. They have begun to rely more and more on Arab labor, not only friendly Christian Arab labor, but Muslim Arab labor as well. Immigration has always been a serious Israeli concern. In an attempt to help the newly arrived immigrants learn the language and norms of society various government and private concerns began the ulpan, or intensive Hebrew language school. Ulpanim were free or charged only nominal fees to new immigrants. Some were residential with a college-like atmosphere with dorm rooms and meals. These were mainly intended for single immigrants and offered half-day instruction in a course that lasted six months. The municipal ulpanim offered less intensive night classes and were attended mainly by married individuals. Many kibbutzim had their own ulpanim, which consisted of working on the kibbutz in the morning and language instruction in the afternoon.

Historically, agriculture has played a more important role in Israeli national life than its economic contribution would indicate. Agriculture has had a central place in Zionist ideology and has been a major factor in the settlement of the country and the absorption of new immigrants although profit has never been of primary importance. Kibbutzim are based on Marx’s collective farms with a Zionist twist. Marxist and Soviet collective farms were a dumping ground for uneducated serfs who were held in a near-slave state and worked into early graves. Kibbutzim were well educated, well fed and clothed, and most of all they worked hard because they wanted to. Kibbutzim often served strategic or defensive purposes in addition to agricultural functions. During the War for Independence it was the Kibbutzim who were initially attacked by the Arab armies, and in some cases completely slaughtered and wiped out by the advancing Arab armies. It was also these kibbutzim that stopped the Arab onslaught and turned back the invaders from the newborn country. Sadly, by the early1980s, such settlements usually were phasing out agriculture and implementing some type of processing industry. The moshavim are somewhat like farm co-ops that are found throughout the United States. Moshovims provide their members with credit and other services, such as marketing and purchasing of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and the like. The greatest advantage is that moshovims are able to pool their funds and purchase large machinery and share the equipment among themselves.By centralizing some essential purchases, the moshavim are able to benefit from the advantages of size without having to adopt the kibbutz ideology.

National Defense

Throughout its existence, Israel has been forced to spend a considerable part of its resources to the national defense. The cost of defense also includes direct defense imports and military aid from the United States with the greatest share of these funds being spent in the United States.

Every negative has a positive. Although defense is very costly, the positive is that expensive research and development leads to newer and better equipment are developed and a new weapons market has been formed. The Kfir interceptor, the Merkava heavy battle tank, and special tactical weapons such as the Uzi and Tavor automatic weapons are such examples. Also, some side-benefits of a large national defense spending are education, absorption of immigrants, and jobs for technicians and laborers. When estimating Israel’s defense burden it is important to consider the cost reductions from these beneficial by-products of national defense.

Industry and Manufacturing

The Israeli government has aided national industries to evolve as the world changes. Menachem Begin, in the early ‘80’s gave special attention to the electronic segment in order to compete in the emerging world wide market. With this help many companies became competitive with large international corporations, and in some cases are leaders in their given fields such as Scitex which is a leading image-processing firm, Laser Industries which is a leader in laser surgery equipment, Elbit in defense electronics, and Fibronics in fiber optic communications. The chemical industry began in the early 1920s, when a small plant was started to extract potash and bromine from the Dead Sea which for years sold the raw products to other companies outside of Israel for refinement, packaging, and sales. In the early 1980s, the industry, with the help of the government, began to process, market and sale the chemicals themselves which has Helped Israel to become one of the world’s largest chemical-producing nations especially in the areas of ceramics, glass, textiles, plastics, and wood. The late 1960s brought on Israel’s biotechnology industry. This was because of the merging of subsidiaries from American and European Pharmaceutical companies such as Miles Laboratories and the Bayer Corporation. In the 1980s, the government of Israel formed the Israel Chemicals Limited Corporation. ICL is the undisputed leader in Israel’s mineral resources industry. Its subsidiaries include the Dead Sea Works, Dead Sea Bromine, and Negev Phosphates. ICL also owns various research, desalination, telecommunications, shipping, and trucking firms.

Very few large textile industries exist in Israel, with a few exceptions such as Polgat Enterprises, considered one of the most efficient producers in the world. Most textile corporations are family owned or in the small to medium business range. Like other Israeli industries, the textile and apparel industry depends for its survival on its ability to export to Europe and the United States which is why Israel entered into the Israel-EEC (European Economic Community) Preferential Agreement in 1977, and the United States-Israel Free Trade Area Agreement in 1988.

Tourism has always been an important source of foreign currency for Israel. Tourism generates income from a wide array of businesses, everything from Airlines (Israel’s national carrier, El Al), to hotels, restaurants, clubs, newspapers, tourist destinations-both religious and secular-travel agencies, tourist bus companies, and venders catering to the various religious pilgrims that flood into Israel annually.

The Achilles heel of the Israeli economy is fuel. Israel captured a large oil supply from Egypt during the Six Day War in 1967 but returned them to Egypt in 1979 for peace. Offshore exploration within Israel’s territorial water has continued, but with marginal success. Currently there are a few speculators drilling oil wells around the Dead Sea and northern Negev areas. Israel is attempting to negotiate a contract to purchase natural gas from the Palestinian government from their natural gas fields located in the Gaza Strip.

Because of the failure to find economically worthwhile deposits of crude oil, Israel has been forced to invest large amount of time and money into developing solar energy. Israel has long been an acknowledged leader in the collecting and use of solar energy and the manufacturing of solar components. Solar power has helped offset the impact of The Arab oil embargo the Iranian coal embargo placed and enforced against them. Today Israel’s major sources of coal are Australia, South Africa, and Britain while the bulk of Israel’s oil comes from Mexico and Egypt.

To understand the modern state of Israel and the country’s internal conflict, one must investigate both the country’s geography and history. The land referred to as Israel and Palestine encompasses 10,000 square miles to the east of the Mediterranean until the western banks of the river Jordan. Israel shares its border with Egypt to the south and Lebanon to the north. Israel is often looked upon as an Island inhabited by Jews surrounded by an ocean of Arabs. Although small, this land mass has been the root of and location of many conflicts throughout the last three millennia. One must look carefully at this history to understand why such conflicts are still present today.

History of the Ancient Animosity

Semitic groups left Mesopotamia and settled in Canaan some time between 1800 and 1500

BC. Around 1000 BC King David conquered Jerusalem and established the kingdom of Israel which ruled from the Red Sea on the west to possibly as far as the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. Throughout the next two thousand years ownership of Israel would change many times. Some rulers would allow the worship of Judaism and some would not. During the seventh century AD most of the Middle East came under the rule of the Muslims. This included what was referred to as Palestine, which was captured in 638 AD. The Muslims continued to hold this territory until the early 1900s when the Ottoman Turks lost ownership of Palestine to the British during World War I. Because of this history both the Jews and the Muslims emphasize the religious significance of this small land mass and both groups of people believe it to be theirs.

Stirrings and Yearnings of a Jewish Homeland

After the French Revolution Jews throughout Europe were brought out of the ghettos and introduced to modern thinking. One prominent thought during this period was the idea of nationalism. For many, the Idea of a Palestine inhabited by millions of European Jews was very appealing and gave birth to the Zionist movement. This movement sparked anti-Semitic feelings throughout Europe, which led to the emigration of many Jews to Palestine. In 1897 the first Zionist congress in Basle was organized.

In 1914 the population of Palestine was roughly 700,000 with a population of 85,000 Jews. As previously mentioned Palestine was under rule of the Ottoman Empire, who joined Germany and Austria-Hungary to fight against the Allies during the First World War. The war was won by the Allies and Palestine came under British rule in November of 1917, shortly after the British conquered Jerusalem and what would be Palestine, the Balfour Declaration was written. The British and American approved declaration supported the creation of a Jewish National home in Palestine.

During the 1919 Paris Peace Conference the Zionists made their case to the League of Nations. The plan was adopted and the area given was much larger than asked for. In 1920 Great Britain received a provisional mandate over Palestine. The British helped to establish a national home and self-governing institutions for the Yishuv. It was not until 1929 that the Jewish Agency was formed to represent both Zionist and non-Zionist Jews in Palestine. This agency became the de-facto government of the Jewish Yishuv.

The Balfour declaration and the mandate instigated riots and pogroms against Jews in Palestine by Arab nationalists. This in turn led to the formation of the Hagana Jewish self-defense organization. Tension between the two groups was quickly mounting. The 1930s saw a sharp rise in Jewish immigration to Palestine due in part to the rise in European anti-Semitic thought and the rise of Nazism in Germany. In 1936 there were a series of Arab riots that left hundreds of Arabs and Jews dead. The Yishuv responded with defensive measures and also with random terror attacks against Arab civilian targets. The British response to this conflict was hard-line riot preventative measures along with a 5 year plan to allow 15,000 Jews to immigrate to Palestine annually.

During the mid 1930s until well after the Second World War, the Zionists began to feel a hatred for the British. The British white papers had severely hindered the migration of many Jews to Palestine. Many of these Jews were trapped in Europe and fell victim to the Nazi holocaust. These events spurred two Jewish underground groups, Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet Zuri, to assassinate Lord Moyne in Cairo. This action was seen as the single event that turned Winston Churchill into an anti-Zionist. Although many Zionists were willing to fight for the cause of a Jewish state, many Jews were not willing to stand up to the British and risk feeling their wrath. “Because of that fear the established leadership was against us, and also for political reasons, because we were not of their party.” (Banks, 20) The constant clashes and violence in Palestine cause Britain to deem the province ungovernable and therefore the countries fate was placed into the hands of the United Nations.

Freedom Purchased by Blood

On November 29 1947 the United Nations followed a plan by the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine and partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The plan separated the country into sections of equal size with complicated borders. The Jews living in Palestine at the time accepted the plan, while the Arabs rejected it. The Arab league declared war in order to rid Palestine of all Jews. “The Arab league reacted immediately, from Aleppo Aden, Arab mobs attacked and killed defenseless Jews, burned down their homes, businesses and synagogues. Within a few days, attacks also began in Palestine against outlying and isolated Jewish settlements. Key highways were cut off by armed Arab bands and tensions rose to fever pitch between the two communities.” (Ben-Ami, 428).

On May 14th 1948, the Independent state of Israel was proclaimed by the Jews. As soon as the UN resolution was passed fighting began between Israeli underground movements and Arab irregulars. No Arab nation initially invaded the country. It is easy to see how any member of one group could feel passionately that the blame should be laid upon the opposing group for the clashes during this period. Both groups were to blame for horrendous massacres such as those at Gush Etzion by the Palestinians and at Deir Yassin by the Jews. One thing that is certain is that members of both sides experience extreme hardship during this time period as evidenced by personal accounts. “Though this is a war against a United Nations resolution, the burden of fighting falls on us, and us alone.” (Ben-Gurion, 66)

In 1948-49 more than half a million Palestinian Arabs fled from their homes. According to Harry Stebbins, the British port officer in Haifa, the Arabs left for on or more of the following reasons.” 1. The Arab Terrorism engendered by the November 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution frightened them to the death of their imaginative souls, and they feared Jewish retaliation. 2. Propagandists promised a blood bath as soon as the mandate ended, in which the streets of all the cities would run with blood. 3. The promised invasion by the foreign Arab armies (which started with the Arab Legion massacre of some 200 Jewish settlers at Kfar Etzion) was preceded by extensive broadcasts from Cairo, Damascus, Amman and Beirut to the effect that any Arabs who stayed would be hanged as collaborators with the Jews.” (Prittie54) these Arab refuges were unable to find promised sanctuary in the neighboring countries and were forced to live in poorly accounted for refugee camps. These camp inhabitants refuse to live peaceably in Israel with their Jewish neighbors, and are not wanted by the other Arab countries. References

Isseroff, Ami. “Israel and Palestine – A Brief History.” Mideast Web. 22 Aug 1999. 13 Feb. 2005 <http://www.mideastweb.org/briefhistory.htm>