Rev. Chris Leighton’s wording about “the Jewish yearning for their own homeland” was meticulously chosen (“The Presbyterian problem with Israel,” Feb. 14). In the clash of narratives percolated by the Arab-Israeli conflict, spin and fact often seem interchangeable.
Amid this epistemological morass, however, there abides the following historical truth: There is nothing in the traditional Jewish desire to return to the Land that necessitates it take the form of the modern entity we know as the nation-state.
All that is required, at least in pre-Messianic times, is that Jews may worship freely and observe the commandments on the soil of Eretz Yisrael, regardless of which political entity, Jewish or gentile, exercises sovereign jurisdiction over the territory. In my view, what has now altered this calculation is the Holocaust, with the lesson learned from that unfathomable tragedy being that the Jewish people can only rely upon themselves to guarantee their own political safety and welfare.
This is a practical consideration, not a theological one. The bottom-line rationale is that something like a Jewish state is needed to ensure that there be at least one place on earth where the phrase “dirty Jew” merely refers to an individual who has not bathed for a week.