The first definition which we need to understand is that under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States defines the exact requirements which when met in sufficient qualitative and quantitative manner is considered to be a viable state and that is all that is required for a nation to be considered a state. Once a nation qualifies as a state it then has the right to define itself as it pleases. Israel easily qualifies as a nation, a state and thus has the right of a state to define herself. Israel decided at her founding what the definition of the State of Israel was, it is the Jewish State, the nation state where any Jew choosing so is welcome as a citizen, period. There is no question and this recognition as the Jewish State requires no recognition of any other nation, organization or group, fini. I hear some of you now asking, then why do so many Israeli politicians and statespeople demand that the Arab Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as the Jewish State as a requirement for peace if Israel does not require their recognition to be the Jewish State? There is the crux of the argument and it is vital to understand. The Arab recognition, be it the Palestinians, Saudi Arabians, Egyptians, or any Arab or Muslim nation being demanded to recognize Israel as the Jewish State is so as to establish their acceptance of the chosen definition taken by Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People and end the constant attempts to flood Israel with Arab refugees from anywhere and everywhere in the Arab world changing the demographics and ending Israel as the Jewish State. Once they recognize Israel as the Jewish State the Arab and Muslim worlds will necessarily need to then treat their refugee problems internally or anywhere outside of Israel. That is the importance and not the actual definition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People.
Another false concept is that defining Israel as the Nation State of the Jews is not a religious definition such as the Islamic State of Iran, the Saudi Arabian definition that Islam is the sole recognized religion permitted to actively practice within its borders or any of the other states declaring their religious base is Islamic. The declaration that Israel is the nation state of the Jews means the Jewish People as a peoples, a racial distinction and not necessarily a religious one, though the citizen permitted in for having Jewish roots though having these Jews as a people also practicing Judaism would be a huge plus, but it is not a requirement for citizenship. Do not worry if this confuses you as there are many Israelis who resent many of those allowed in because they have the correct maternal ancestral lines who are atheist and this drives them right up the wall. That does not change the fact that one whose maternal line can be traced to a maternal matron who was a Jew is sufficient for their entry into Israel as a Jew whether they practice or not. Those who are driven almost out of their tree over these non-practicing Jews who they place one step further removed from Judaism than the reform Jews in the United States or Europe should calm themselves and try to arrange marriages between marginally or newly returned to Judaism Jews, or even religious Jews, in relations with the non-practicing Jewish people whose parents may even feel extreme animosity towards the religious and were raised that religion is, as described by Karl Marx in his analysis and critique of religion and is perhaps one of the most famous and most quoted writings where he chimed that, “religion is the opiate of the masses.” We need remember that love conquers all and if a particularly religious person and one who never lived a religious life become close, more often than not the advantages of the religious life will likely win over the irreligious person if for no other reason than curiosity, especially if the religious person appears to be happier and seem to know some secret that their other has no knowledge over. Given some number of generations and one will find that Israelis will grow closer and more observant and religiously Jewish and believing in Judaism and not merely being a Jew by the religious links of their grandmother, great-grandmother or even more remote but maternally unbroken links.
You might be wondering why we keep referring to the maternal links over that of the paternal side of the family. This is because this is the link which Judaism values such that your father being Jewish would be due to his maternal links to the religion historically. For some reason the maternal link is the important linkage to being a Jew. Yes, this stands in contrast with most other religions where if either parent were of the religion, then the children must be of that religion. Of course that might be a bit conflicting if the mother was say Episcopalian and the father Sunni Muslim, this leaves a child who is both and neither and guaranteed to garner the ire of one group and the acceptance of the other. For Israel, they rely on the ancient preference and definitions of our society from as far back as three-thousand years past as it has been throughout the entirety of the time from them to the modern Jewish State of Israel.
Another truth about Israel as the Jewish State, it has existed for the past three-thousand years, for over one thousands of those years as an independent State of the Jewish Peoples. Small segments of time the independence of the Jewish State managed to reestablish itself throwing off the yoke of their occupiers. This was ended when the Roman Empire dispersed the Jewish People to the far reaches and throughout their empire in a concerted effort to destroy the Jews as a people. Torah was the glue which held our people as a people and continued our attachment to our ancient homelands no matter where we resided. There has never been a period in all of history where there has not existed a Jewish presence in the areas which made up Eretz Yisroel. Further, open any Jewish prayer-book and open it to a random page and read those pages and you will see reference after reference to Israel, our home for all times. The end of the Passover Seder, Jews throughout the world read the line, “Next year in Jerusalem.” So, Israel is and always was the home of the Jewish People and is defined as such in all the Jewish writings including prayer books, Torah, Talmud, commentaries and numerous other sources from all the creative arts. Studying the history of the Jews and one cannot help but find their links to the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The claims that the day will come when we reconnect with our lands titled Israel are finally being realized. This return was prophesied over two-thousand years ago and has been inevitable are proving correct. This return is the culmination of events put into place and predicted by our prophets making centuries back making ours the chosen generation who will witness the handiwork of Hashem’s reestablishment. We truly are the Chosen People who are being blessed to bear witness to the final return of the Jewish People to their land. This return is the placing of the muscles and outer skin upon the dry bones which first were gathered to the land and given sinew to hold together. This generation is witness to the ending of the physical construction being completed leaving only the mind to be renewed and out Jewish faith be reestablished. To witness even the smallest glimpse of this process is enough of a miracle, Dayenu.
Beyond the Cusp