Jewish Values

Gavriel Meir asserts (“Simple Distortions,” Features, March 13, 2019) that all the blessings that Arab citizens of the State of Israel enjoy are resultant of the fact that Israel is “a Jewish State, which is steeped in ancient laws that dictate how to treat the stranger.”

I find this assertion implausible. The political leaders of the State aren’t steeped in ancient laws; they are ignorant of most, and dismissive of the ones they might know.

A much more plausible explanation would be their steeped-ness in Western norms. I think that all Western countries give minority races democratic rights and all the other blessings listed by Mr. Meir.

Thank you,

Sholom Young

Gavriel Meir responds:

While it’s true that political leaders of the State have unfortunately not been steeped in halachah, they have been influenced by Jewish values, including how to treat the stranger.

Western values, especially in the 1940s, which were shown to be utterly bankrupt vis-à-vis the Jewish minority in their midst, were not the source of inspiration for the secular founding fathers of Israel to grant citizenship and equal rights to an Arab minority that was sworn to the country’s destruction.