Eretz Yisra’el


I titled an article Eratz Israel earlier to play on a homophone but it went past readers save one who pointed out that I misspelled the word. She was right and it was intentional. The tone of the article was satirical as it was accompanied by a map showing Jewish settlement in 1946 as blotches of white to the current one where almost the whole of Palestine is virtually Jewish white, notwithstanding the geopolitical units of the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and Gaza.

Our current article uses the correct first word but uses the traditional Yisra’el presently used by the very conservative Zionist of the land. To be conservative today in Israel is being defensively arrogant about one’s Jewishness, exemplified by the black yarmulke-hatted youth with the long flowing curly hair exhibiting locked-arm unity in stride, dance, and song.

Bibi Netanyahu, darling of the GOP that embarrasses Hussein Barack Obama at every chance and turn, has played the role of promising conservative Zionists on the eve of the last election that a divided Palestine will not happen in his watch. In a multiparty 120-member parliament where winning 30 seats is sufficient to form a coalition government, Bibi had the numbers to assure remaining in the Prime Minister of Israel’s office for another two years.

Since the House of David unified the 12 tribes of Israel, with a winsome story related in the Torah and retold in the Talmud with its Mishnah exegesis and its commentary in the Gemara, and the Midrash clarification on the whole Jewish scriptures, Israel has been short-lived in geography but existed in the long oral traditions of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic faiths that shows the diversity within the unity of Levantine ontology in story narratives, scripted and spoken.

It was this almost 2,000 years of memory after the fall of Jerusalem that nurtured the phrase, “next year in Jerusalem” which sustained the hope of an Eretz Yisra’el whose boundaries reemerged with the British Palestine that captured Zionist imagination around the world, and rock the foundations of British rule west of the Jordan.

This is not a case of choosing between the Palestinians (Muslim, Christian, and Druse, mostly Arabs) and the Jews since ethnically, the Semitic race is the over-arching category; it is a case of establishing a political unit that began with a minority of 3 million Jews with over 120 million Arabs breathing down their necks.

This is the story of David and Goliath save in this case the oil beneath the sands of Araby and the rest of the Middle East permeating into the whole of Southwest Asia was needed by the industrialized nations who armed Israel as its regional centurions. We see why the “defensive arrogance” of Israel is sustained by oil, a dominant Western concern and its continuing access to the black gold assured by the disciplined armies of those in the land that struggles with El, aka, YHWH, the Way Life Is, called Yisra’el.

The Bush’ WH (Sr. and Jr.) do not have clean hands as their Texas wealth is rooted in the extraction and refinement of the valued fuel, but the established truce on warring Egypt and Israel, resulting in equal levels of aid and assistance, was shattered in the Arab Spring that shook North Africa and the Middle East. 

Obama in the WH, with no discernable interest in oil, wants to move the peace process forward to allow Iraq and Iran to sit around the same table with the remnants of Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria and the rest of the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf countries, presided over by superior forces of Uncle Sam, so he had Hillary and Kerry losing sleep over a shuttle diplomacy that was doomed because Israel is too important a player in the region to be just one seat among many around the table, i.e., if it is even allowed to have one! Many Arab nations still harbor the policy at partition of annihilating Israel.

Bibi Netanyahu faithfully protects the interest of his people within the lines of the oracles of David and Solomon. However, the issue for Israel in my distant perspective is: Without it being exclusively Jewish, Is Eretz Yisra’el possible?

Mao had enough wisdom to declare China as composed of 56 ethnic groups, never mind that 90 percent of it was Han, and the denizens of the central plains between the two rivers of the Huanghe and Chiang Jiang dominated the military and controlled the outlaying areas of Dong Bei, Xizang, Xinjiang, and Nei Menggu, but it has the winsome story of honoring the diverse population in the land.

Jewish Israel can do likewise. Its 70 percent Jewish make-up is smaller than the Hans of China. Bibi may just be a strange hiccup, but Eretz Yisra’el has enough selfhood not to be defensive about it. L’achaim!

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.