Why the Need for a Nation-State?


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.

Stanleigh Cohen

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  1. Editor,

    I had to read this letter several times to truely understand the mistaken information of the letter writer about the land of Israel’s place for the Jewish people. If, as Mr. Cohen says a Jewish state was needed to give us self awareness and security, why Israel?
    Go back in history and see for yourself that Israel belonged to the Israelites (who are the Jewish people), thousands of years ago.It is well documented by archeological findings along with Biblical sources.Even their coined money was named Shekel as it is today. The Israelites were driven out of their land against their will by outside forces. There are songs depicting them sitting at the riverbanks of Babylon crying as they remembered eir home in Zion which is another name for Jerusalem . It is misleading to say as Our enemies do, that it was only the holocaust that had brought us to see that we needed a country like others.The yearing began a long time ago. Of course, The holocaust made it clear that it’s time to go back to our roots in the land of Israel which Mr. Cohen calls Eretz Yisrael in Hebrew. It’s a known fact that there were Jews who stayed there throughout all the generations and had never left the country.As for the rest of us, Where else will the people whose forefathers and foremothers lived there go if not to their own home? It only adds insult to injury to say that any place will do . Nothing could be further from the truth. King David who had conquared the city of Jerusalem and gave it the name that means City of peace, had made it the capital of Israel thousands of years ago. How can anyone else claim it now but the descendents of those inhebitans? No one can change history . All one can do is go back and learn it for him/ herself.
    Ada Grodzinsky

  2. Here is the last paragraph of my letter, omitted from print publication for reasons of space.

    Alas, Israel is not (yet) that Jewish state, as demonstrated by the incident in which a right-wing (Jewish) MK once assailed Martin Indyk (a Jew who was then U.S. Ambassador to Israel) as yahudon – the Hebrew equivalent of ‘kike’/ “dirty Jew.” Yes – apparently, courtesy of the Russian immigrants – that word/concept now exists in the lexicon of the ‘holy tongue.’


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