Yarin Raban's article, "The Time Has Come to Violate the Divine Directive" (Oct. 12) misunderstands the billboard campaign initiated by the Israel Victory Project on the Ayalon Highway and elsewhere.
The billboards showed two prominent Israeli Arab politicians, Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi, draped in and waving Israeli flags under the caption "This is the picture of victory." Raban understands this to mean our goal is "to subject Israeli Arabs to hegemonic Israeli culture, to Israeli national symbolism, and to the Jewish ethnic characterization of the Jewish state."
No, no. That is not the Israel Victory Project's object; I wish Raban had gone beyond the symbolism of the billboards to understand its purpose. Allow me to explain.
The billboards call on Israeli Arab leaders to accept the national identity of Israel, as symbolized by its flag. That does not mean imposing Israeli or Jewish culture on them. To the contrary, Israel provides for its Arab citizens a separate school system, recognition of its religious institutions and courts, and the Arabic language appears on every official state document and sign – and we are fine with that.
Rather, we seek that Odeh and Tibi give up the fight and incitement against the State of Israel's Jewish identity. By doing so, they become true partners in the governance of the nation and reap the benefits for their communities.
Israel Victory means an end to the Palestinian rejectionism of Jews, Zionism, Jewish sovereignty, and Israel begun by Hajj Amin al-Husseini and lasting over a century. It has violent and non-violent components, one murderous, the other delegitimizing, both harmful to the only Jewish state.
The growing trend amongst Israeli Arabs violently to reject Israeli sovereignty most notably appeared witnessed during the riots in mixed cities during Operation Guardian of the Walls. In the period May 11-16, 2021, Arab rioters set fire to 10 synagogues, 112 Jewish homes and 849 Jewish-owned cars, plus much looting.
Israel Victory learns from prior efforts to end rejectionism through Israel concessions and compromise to the Palestinians, all of which failed; think of the Oslo Accords and all the diplomacy that followed on it. Palestinians interpreted these offers as weakness and redoubled their campaign to eliminate the Jewish state.
Israel Victory will obviously benefit Israeli Jews, who finally can stop fighting for their security and legitimacy. But it will benefit Israeli Arabs even more, for they can finally move beyond futile hopes to destroy the Jewish state and instead build their own economy, society, and culture.
It bears noting that Jews throughout the diaspora for centuries, even millennia, have offered just this allegiance. They lived as minorities in many countries, each of which has a national identity based on ethnic, national, and religious elements. They loyally served the state and took pride in its national symbols, cross and crescent alike.
British Jews served under flag with a Christian Cross and fighting for a king or queen who heads the Church of England as Defender of the Faith. Middle Eastern Jews have served in Morocco, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan as ministers, ambassadors, parliamentarians, foreign service officers, and military officers.
We ask of Odeh and Tibi nothing more than what Jews have offered when they live as minorities: loyalty to their country. This surely is a victory that every Israeli, including Yarin Raban, can support.
Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum, which leads the Israel Victory initiative.