Official Defends Reputation of Israel

Daily Pennsylvanian
University of Pennsylvania

All Jews should move to Israel, and eventually they will, according to a former Israeli official.

Aryeh Green, a former liaison to Palestinian Authority dissidents and the “younger generation of Jewish leaders,” championed the Jewish state as a “beacon to the world” in two speeches Friday and Saturday.

Green, who lives in Israel and is currently on a three-week tour of U.S. campuses, delivered a speech Friday on relations between Israel and Palestinians in an event organized by the Penn Israel Coalition.

He said that Israel is “not the grossest violator of human rights, but the greatest champion of human rights, not only in the Middle East, but in the whole world.” He added that Israel is pre-eminent in protecting free speech and gay and women’s rights, as well as taking special measures to protect innocent civilians.

He described a military operation to demolish four blocks of the Jenin refugee camp, believed to have been the source of a large number of suicide bombers, in which the Israeli government disallowed the use of aerial bombardment because of the harm it would cause to the surrounding population.

While Green said, “It’s an economic nightmare to be a Palestinian today,” he added that this is due to the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel’s involvement.

In Saturday’s speech, Green outlined his “unified theory” of Judaism, which balances commitment to modernity, religious observance and Israel.

He made a distinction between “passive Zionist” Jews who support Israel but live abroad and “active Zionists,” who have made or are planning to make aliyah –the permanent move to Israel.

American Jews “care more about what job I’m going to get … and not enough about Israel” he said, reminding the audience that these were only broad generalizations.

However, Green said that it is “correct and inevitable” that all Jews will eventual move to Israel.

Brahm Booth, a senior from Concordia University in Montreal who was visiting a friend at Penn, enjoyed hearing Green speak at the Saturday event, but disagreed with the idea of “all of us moving there.”

Green said that despite his belief that the move is both morally correct and inevitable, the aim of his speech was to understand a division in the Jewish community.