Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy (7 December 2017, 20 Kislev, 5778)
Why are the majority of Jews defending and supporting Israel?
The picture is take from an advertisement for El Al the Israeli national airline. Jews like flying by El Al. So do others. For many El Al provides them with a taste of Israel. The State of Israel is a country in which Jews are welcome. It is the Land of the Jews. Jews also dwell in other places. They contribute to those lands. On the whole the presence of Jews enrich the host nation. In some cases the presence of Jews is appreciated but at other times it is not. It is always on a subsumed condition: The Jews will be allowed to remain perhaps indefinitely BUT they never can tell. The State of Israel guarantees that the Jews will have somewhere to go. The truth however is that the continued existence of the State of Israel, barring Divine Intervention, is itself precarious. It is surrounded by enemies. Powerful nations, such as Iran, have dedicated their efforts to eventually be able to destroy it. Turkey is also antagonistic. The attitude of Russia is ambivalent. Germany and Japan are basically against the Jewish entity. The list goes on in the same vein. Even in the USA a good section of the public has become lukewarm in its support. So Israel needs the Diaspora both to help provide places of refuge in case of need and also to strengthen local support of Israel among the Gentiles. Jews in the Diaspora therefore support Israel because Israel NEEDS them and they NEED Israel.
The Bible tells us how Jacob (also known as Israel (Genesis 32:28, 35:10) forefather of the Israelite nations was about to meet up with Esau his brother. Esau had intended to kill him a good few years previously (Genesis 27:41). This had caused Jacob to flee to Aram (Genesis 27:43). Now Jacob was returning. He had learned that Esau was approaching with four hundred men in his entourage (Genesis 32:6). Jacob feared that Esau meant to do him harm. He therefore divided his camp into two sections (Genesis 32:10).
Genesis (NASB) 32:
8 for he said, 'If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape.'
The Sages (Midrash Rabah, Breishit- VaYishlach) 76;3 said:
# The Torah teaches us correct behavior, as it says '˜If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it?' These are our brothers in Israel. '˜Then the company which is left will escape.â€™ These are our brothers in the Diaspora.#
Most Jews may not be religious but as long as they remain Jewish they are attached to the traditions of Judaism. These are all centered on the Bible and the Land of Israel. The State of Israel has revived the use of the Hebrew language on a day to day basis. It guarantees access to the Western Wall and other places important to Judaism. It is a Homeland. It is all there is. The State of Israel means that Jews can come to the Holy Land to live or visit and not be humiliated for being Jewish. This is important. Dignity is a basic human need and the State of Israel provides it to the Jews. The State of Israel also helps protect Jews and watches out for them. Even the very existence of the State of Israel does that. Recent examples occurred during the Presidency of President Reagan. There were Jews in Ethiopia in danger of extermination. The USA helped move them into the Sudan and then to Israel. If Israel had not have existed it may have been difficult to find a place for them. The world has changed. It is now often more difficult for minorities to survive both physically and culturally. So too, there were Jews in Russia who wanted to leave. The Jews in Russia had been demoralized at first by the Tsar and then by the communists. Every year more and more Jews were being irretrievably absorbed into the local Russian population. President Reagan fought for their right to leave for Israel and through that those of them who wanted to go elsewhere could do so. In other words the State of Israel helps keep the Jewish people in existence. Jews everywhere benefit from it. The State of Israel NEEDS the help of Jews in the Diaspora and the Diaspora needs them. Therefore the majority of Jews defend and support Israel.
Note: The above answer focused on why the Diaspora of Jews and the Jews in Israel NEED each other. We received a comment concerning the moral question as to whether the Land really belongs to the Jews. We have dealt with this subject elsewhere, see:
Yair Davidiy's answer to Is the "promised land" argument enough reason to justify mass Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the displacement of Arabs from their native land?