Sunday, October 10, 2010

Of loyalty oaths and playgrounds על השבעות נאמנות ומגרשי משחק

Two things about Israel “get to” me. Well OK, more than two, but two specifically that to me symbolize lack of Western values and quality of life: 1) No public transportation on the Sabbath. Try exiting Jerusalem on a Saturday night; it’s like Escape From Alcatraz; 2) The first thing I notice about Arab-populated areas is that the kids always seem to be playing in weedy vacant lots; where are the playgrounds? Lack of playgrounds is the visual hallmark of an underserved population.

Therefore, after reading of the disgraceful proposal that “non-Jewish”* candidates for Israeli citizenship be required to swear an oath of allegiance to a “Jewish, democratic state”, I decided that if ever citizens are ever required to sign a loyalty oath, I will say, “Fine. You want me to swear allegiance? No problem. I will sign this document”, and will take out a red pen and amend the oath to read:

“…Jewish[1] …democratic[2]

[1]- As per the definition: A country wherein public transportation operates seven days a week, 365 days a year

[2] - A country wherein a minimum of one dunam of European-standard playground area, with safe, functioning equipment, is available to every 50 children under the age of 10, within a kilometer radius of their places of residence.

If as a result, my citizenship is revoked, you'll find me at Ben-Gurion Airport wearing a t-shirt that reads יהודים לא מגרשים יהודים! [“Jews don’t deport Jews!”].

*Whatever that means, since we haven’t managed to decided what a Jew actually is


  1. The ancient Israel was a Jewish state, albeit one which separated itself from Judah from which was derived the Jews; so, why "Israel." Were not the Jews of Israel the ones who were 'lost' and never found again? Was the reason Israel the chosen name in order to claim those lands outside Judaea and half of Benjamin? And, so what? I am a Jew, but in 1947 I decided to become a Palestinian, even tho underived from the Philistines. Then, they named me an Israeli. Now I am and I really am an American, an appellation unrelated to my blood heritage. Those who live in Israel are Israelis and can otherwise be whatever they wish.

  2. YYbYZhL, I was thinking about this this a.m., and more and more I agree with your postulation about "what is a person who lives in Israel? An Israeli", regardless of hizzer ethnicity. So I would have no problem if all candidates for citizenship had to swear loyalty "to Israel". Period. No adjectives, i.e., neither "Jewish", "Democratic", or "polka-dotted".