34 thoughts on “Israeli Chief Rabbi: Expel Gazans to Sinai, Make It ‘Like Arizona’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. To follow up on what Ellen has said, I certainly do believe that much effort and money could be saved if, instead of constructing a neo-Arizona in the Sinai, those Gazan ragheads could simply be shipped to the presently existing Arizona, USA, and used to make the Arizona deserts bloom. Of course, Arizona, USA, would receive a good deal of money, far less than it would cost to make a new Arizona, by the way, for any possible inconveniences caused. Lots of camels could be delivered to Arizona, USA, so that, after the deserts are blooming like crazy, Disney could establish a Mid-East theme park second to none, with real Mid-Easterners doing camel races and maybe for some verité type stuff could do some real scimitar battles, with surviving winners receiving all-expense-paid religious vacations in order to pray at designated times in those Jerusalem mosques. Don’t completely discount Rabbi Metzger’s proc;ivity for practicality.

  2. Don’t forget Mike Huckabee had pretty much the same idea, although without the good Rabbi’s assumption that the EU and US would pay for it.

  3. There is about as much chance that the Gazans would accept this proposal as it is that they would accept RS’s proposal which includes only a symbolic “right of return” and therefore the majority, according to his proposal (as I understand it) would stay in the Gaza strip. Why is RS’s proposal that the Palestinians stay in the crowded Gaza strip better than building them an oasis in the desert?

  4. Amir has a point. If Richard says the Palestinian right of return is only to be “symbolic”, then what is his solution to the overcrowded Gaza population?

  5. One would think that a people forced from place to place would not emulate their persecutors and do the same to another people. These religious frauds don’t think and they prove they’ve learned nothing.

  6. what is his solution to the overcrowded Gaza population

    Gaza needs no other “solution” than removing the siege & allowing the people there to engage in normal commerce & travel. Allowing Gaza to have its own air & seaport so it can create a thriving economy along w. jobs. Of course, it (& Sderot as well) needs a truce with the IDF such as Hamas has offered numerous times to Israel.

  7. “they should recognize that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.”

    Some of my christian friends would heartily disagree…

    I do not know the background on this rabbi, but it seems to me that he and O’Reilly would be pals in very short order… Similar thought process.

    By the way, this comment is a sign of DESPERATION, of not knowing what to do.
    Think on that folks…

  8. Sadly, the explosive combination of Judaism and Zionism has created some perverse people with monstrous ideas. I never realized that Metzger is one of them. In fact, Metzger is quite an amicable guy and several years ago I was in touch with him discussing some Halachik issues, and I admired his modern approach. Now, I have to take back all my compliments. What he’s done is a “chilul hashem” (for non-Jewish readers, that means desecration of G’d’s name) and it really torments me. How can a Jew, let alone a “rabbi” show such cruelty and such callousness toward a million and a half people, who have been cut off from the world and have been living in an open-air prison, being collectively punished by Israel? Instead of being alarmed at how G-d’s creatures are starving, dying from lack of medicine and water, wallowing in despair and poverty, Metzger wants to transfer them???
    if he does want to muddle in politics and bring some sane religious attitude to this insane region, he would do well to muster some courage and meet with Hamas leaders and publicly call for a ceasefire which can be achieved tomorrow, if only the arrogant Israeli government would sit down and talk to its enemies.
    Essentially, Mezger (i refuse to call a Jew “Rabbi” if he does not have minimum standards of morality and decency) is suggesting that Israel ethnically cleanse the Gaza Strip from these “tme’im” (impure people). I am inclined to say that Metzger is aiding and abetting war crimes, but I don’t think that would bother him so much. Since he is familiar with the Talmud, he probably knows of the Talmudic saying which is appropriate in his case:

    A rabbi without wisom is no better than a beast.

  9. What if a Muslim or Christian political or religious leader would suggest moving Israeli Jews to a new “Arizona”? The Israeli and pro-Israeli media would be then screaming “new Holocaust” and repeat the message for decades. But an Israeli / Jewish extremist can say to same without any real criticism by the “Jewish Nation”. Amusing.

    The Israeli and US politicians are accusing Arab world for religious extremism is getting more and more amusing as time passes. Can a religious extremist condemn other religion extrimists? Of course he can, but without any credibility. What else is the “Jewish Nation” else than an entity based on purely on religion. A Jew can’t freely choose his/hers religion as members of most other nations. His options are being a “secular” Jew or a religious Jew if he wants to stay as a part of the” nation”.

  10. Shamai: Coming from a distinguished Orthodox background, you’ve said all this better than I could have. The Talmudic quotation is devastating & true.

    Speaking of rabbis meeting with Hamas, I wonder what you think of Menachem Froman. I read a story about him published in Tikkun that made him sound very interesting, but slightly odd as well–at least for an Orthodox settler rabbi.

  11. But an Israeli / Jewish extremist can say to same without any real criticism by the “Jewish Nation”

    What do you think I’m doing here? Twiddling my thumbs? This is part of the “Jewish nation” criticizing his views. Many Israelis, some in this comment thread, criticized him also. What more do you expect?

  12. I got a better idea, something I was working on as a satire with a writer here in Holland – move the Jewish state to Nevada, rename it Negevada, make the desert bloom, use Native Americans for all the ‘avodah aravit’ (after all they will be much better off then their brothers and sisters on the rest of the US reservations). After all, Nevada became what it is today in no small part thanks to the Jews, stemming from Meyer Lansky, giving the Jews a presence in Nevada since it’s modern day beginning which means its more ours than other plain white Americans.

    An idea certainly no less ridiculous than the Rabbi’s.

  13. Indeed you brought that issue up, which is highly admirable. Otherwise most of us European non Jews would not know about that “Arizona” initiative.

    But how have the “real” pro-Israeli media and Israeli Jewish politicians, who have a much louder voice than you, reacted to that macabre initiative? How many times have we read and heard about the Iranian president’s quote “Whipping Israel of the map”, which was wrongly translated as many including professor Cole have said? Thousands of times in every possible speech and article. But not this quote of the Chief Rabbi. Lets hope that the Arab and European leaders will use ithe Rabbi’s quote in their speeches, so the world will notice that religious extremism is alive and kicking in the Holy Land and centre of the Jewish Nation.

    Israel’s Chief Rabbi is not alone in his opinions, millions of Jews share his opinions, which is de facto racial (= religious in this case) cleansing. But can you mister Silverstein imagine what would happen if a Christian religious leader (Pope or some archbishop) would suggest that Israeli Jews should be shipped to lets say Madagascar. The hell would brake loose and using the term Nazi would one of the mildest. But when the Chief Rabbi says the exactly same Nazi style opinions about Palestinians the “Nation” is silent, expect some admirable persons. I)t is a shame that the Chief Rabbi’s views are not more widely reported in western media.

  14. I’ve read that at the time of Israel’s founding, many American Jews adamantly held that the United States was the true aliyah destination. So for those commenters who say, satirically or not, that Israel’s Jews should come to America, there is an ‘historical precedent’ of sorts in support of your position.

  15. I completely concur with the earlier comments condemning Metzger’s proposal, however, perhaps there is something of value to be salvaged from it afterall. A major stumbling block to 2-state solution is the understandble reluctance that many Palestinians have to a truncated state without enough room to grow in. Gaza is a very small area with an outrageously high density of people living in it. If Egypt could be persuaded, through a lot of money, to give a portion of the Sinai bordering Gaza (e.g., up to the Wadhi al Arish and south of the coastline) to a new Palestinian state than it may just make a 2-state plan along the lines of the Geneva Accords more attractive to the Palestinians. In this scenario Metzger won’t get Gaza back, nor will Jerusalem be only an Israeli city, but he may get peace, as it may be enough to incentivize the Palestinians to accept a 2-state solution, and not use it to subsequently just build an army to attack the Israelis. While the entire enterprise rests on the unlikely notion of Egypt selling off a piece of itself, there is much to be gained on Egypt’s behalf for a resolution to the I-P conflict as well. The Saudis may see funding it as a way to stem Iran’s influence in the region. A superhighway between Al Arish and Ramallah would look pretty nice. So nice that perhaps the Cardinals or Diamondbacks might consider building a stadium there.

    Just to clarify – the solution proposed here has the Palestinians settling with the Israelis for the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, any necessary land swaps with the Israelis, a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank, AND a poriton of the Sinai, in exchange for a compromise solution to the right of return of the refugees. I am woefully ignorant of the native population in the Sinai and what impact it would have on them, so it may not be feasible, but I believe it is not overly populated.

  16. Solution Seeker.
    I understand from your post that you didn’t actually listen to the clip.
    Metzger didn’t say anything about expelling Gazans or a forcefull transfer. He didn’t say anything about emptying Gaza of Arabs or annexung it to the state of Israel. What he said is not incompatible with what you wrote (concerning Gaza, not Jerusalem). You shouldn’t put so much faith in the way Richard Silverstein presents things.

  17. Amir – You are correct that I hadn’t listened to the actual clip and based my response on Richard’s description of it, as well as some of the earlier comments. My bad. It was not an accurate description of what Metzger said, in so far as Metzger did not say that Gazans should be expelled. You are also correct in that apart from the Jerusalem aspect, his idea is not incompatible with my suggested proposal (assuming Metzger was not indicating that Gazans should be expelled).

    I would really be interested in hearing from some Palestinians on this issue. Richard indicated that some read his blog and I would be very keen to hear their perspective.

  18. Lennybruce: Let’s not forget Sheldon Adelson, the current Jewish gambling entrepreneur par excellent worth billions. Maybe he’d make a contribution to resolving the I-P conflict by carving a spot in the desert either for yr Jewish state or for a Palestinian state. He’s sure got the bucks to make that work. And if you fund the project based on adding a few gambling casinos into the mix you’ll have a surefire self-sufficient economy.

    Regarding Metzger’s video. He didn’t use the word ‘expel’ nor would I expect him to. He’s far too sophisticated for that. But when you call for creating a state for Gazans in the Sinai what else are you calling for but transfer of the population? C’mon. Amir’s trying to pull the wool over yr eyes by making these monsters appear more benign than they are. Remember Ariel Sharon explicitly said that he wouldn’t personally call for expulsion of Palestinians fr. Israel or the Territories? He’d just create conditions so noxious that most of the population would want to leave. And indeed that is what Israel’s implict Occupation policy IS & precisely the effect that it HAS HAD on the Palestinians with many leaving or trying to leave. I have no doubt that the good rabbi would heartily agree with this perspective if you asked.

    how have the “real” pro-Israeli media and Israeli Jewish politicians, who have a much louder voice than you, reacted to that macabre initiative?

    Simohurtta: You have to realize the only reason I wrote about this bizarre proposal is because an enterprising Jewish reporter in Britain interviewed the rabbi and brought it to the attention of Ynetnews which wrote the article on which my post is based. Were it not for such Jewish-Israeli media we wouldn’t have the story at all.

  19. The way RS (and some of the people placing comments here) insists we should be so acurate and literal when interpreting what Ahmadinejad says, and yet so presumptuous when interpreting what Metzger says, tells you just about all you need to know.

  20. RS (and some of the people placing comments here) insists we should be so acurate and literal when interpreting what Ahmadinejad says, and yet so presumptuous when interpreting what Metzger

    I have made no judgment about Ahmadinejad’s comments about Israel here. To conflate me with my readers is unfair but typical for you. I don’t like Ahmadinejad or his views about Israel. I’m not here to explain or apologize for his views. I know enough about them not to like them whatever they are.

    I also know enough about Metzger’s views not to like them as well. The rabbi’s views are certainly not exterminationist as perhaps Ahmadinejad’s are (though that hasn’t been sufficiently proven to my mind). But they are only slightly less noxious.

  21. Richard – While you and I may share the same position on Metzger’s comments, Amir raises a relevant point about the need for accuracy. My lesson learned here is to actually go to the original source rather than relying on your and others’ interpretations. You were good enough to provide the actual interview, so you may have assumed that readers would understand what you were implying and what Metzger actually said, but since some of your other readers may not be willing to go to the original source, you really owe it to them to accurately describe what was said and explicitly note what you believe was implied. As Amir stated, you no doubt would take your adversaries to task for doing what you did, and well you should. If you are going to be a prime time big league blogger, as you are becoming, you will want to make sure you are buttoned up on these things because those who disagree with your positions will easily discredit you if you are not. The issues and causes you are willing to tackle are too important for you to be marginalized for such errors. This is coming from one of your supporters, not detractors, so please don’t brush it off as a partisan insult.

  22. RW: “The entire point of his proposal is that moving Gaza out of Gaza would remove the security threat to Israel. To leave Gazans there would negate the entire purpose of his proposal.”

    Wouldn’t it just move the border and create a similar threat, this time coming from Sinai? If Metzger’s real goal is to expel the current occupants of Gaza, surely he would plan for Israeli Jews to settle the area. They would still be bordering on a Palestinian State and still be threatened by missles; only these would be coming from Sinai rather than Gaza.

    Now Richard, I want to reiterate that I’m not disputing that your interpretation of Metzger could be right on the money about what he was really saying. Chances are, it is, but I did not hear in the interview that he explicitly was speaking of an expulsion of all Gazans and not simplying implying it as a way to enlarge Gaza to make it livable. Your cynicism is more than well warranted here, but I’m constantly on guard against the bias my own cynicism as well that of others may play in interpreting others’ comments. Are you, or others, aware of any subsequent comments he may have made since that would clarify what he is actually proposing? You are dead on about the failure of the interviewer to ask him the relevant follow up question. I’m wondering if anyone else has followed up with him for clarification.

    I would be very curious about what some Palestinians actually think about the different potential implications of his comments. While I assume most would be strongly against any idea to be forcibly moved, again, what would they think of the solution I proposed earlier: enlarge Gaza through incorporating pieces of the Sinai and possibly the Negev in order to create a more sustainable and viable Palestinian state. Again, I realize my proposal has me being very generous with other people’s money and land, but a one state solution, however just, is unlikely to be acceptable to the parties in the region, and a 2-state solution can only work if both states are viable. Given that, is this a potentially win-win scenario? Palestinians win because they get a more viable state and something really worth not losing in another war. Israelis win because they get a peace settlement. Egyptians win because they get significant, and much needed long term monetary compensation for essentially selling off a piece of their desert, and they benefit from the stablization in the region and its subsequent peace dividend to all parties. A more realistic , OK, well less fantastic, scenario would have the Egyptians maintaining control of thet coast line and the resort areas and the new Palestinian territory beginning south of the coastal strip. Egypt could retain mineral rights as well, thus minimizing their financial loss from donating the land.

  23. Richard, Solution Seeker, Amir et. al:
    I really don’t see the point of all this Talmudic-style discussion over the interpretation of his words. Here’s what he said:

    “My opinion is, and I didn’t tell it until today or yesterday to anyone, I think that there is a solution. If American, England, European Union, will take care to build a new Palestinian country in Sinai desert between Egypt and Israel, and to take all the poor people from Gaza—even now they have such a bad economic situation very bad – to move them to a wonderful new country with trains, with buses, with cars, like in Arizona in America.”
    (emphasis added)

    “to move them to a wonderful new country” – what’s ambiguous about that? Not “they will want to leave”, not even “let’s make conditions so miserable and horrific they will opt to make an exodues toward Egypt”.
    Some things don’t have to be spelled out. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, when someone suggests “to move” a people to another country, it has only one meaning: forcefully transfer them. In international law parlance, it is called a war crime. It’s nice that you want to be melamed zchut on this Metzger, but, sorry, it doesn’t fly.

  24. Shamai: Thanks for adding yr perspective. I would add that Metzger is a “nice” civilized Jew as opposed to outright rabid Jewish nationalists who would use terms like “expel” at the drop of a hat. So I wouldn’t expect him to be so blatant in his terminology. But Shamai & I have been observers of the Israeli political scene for decades & we know the implications & nuances of statements like his.

    As for Solution Seeker’s proposal–while it might have merit in theoretical terms no country in the Middle East is about to willingly sell or trade its land to another no matter how laudable the intent of the project is. I’m afraid that Gazans will have to settle (hopefully) for a peace settlement that will enable them to rebuild their society & economy. Those who wish will be able to move to the West Bank or emigrate. And those who remain will be able to earn a living. Gaza will always be a densely populated & perhaps very poor place. But as a free place it will have many more options than it now has.

  25. s,
    Metger is making a proposal. His proposal includes cooperation (and therefore acceptance) by America, England and the European Union. It is implicit, therefore, that it also requires acceptance by Egypt and the Palestinians because I don’t think that Metzger is so kooky that he thinks the US and EU would join Israel in invading Egypt conquering the Sinai desert and transferring the Gazan Arabs to there. I agree that this is not a realistic proposal that Egypt and the Hamas would accept, but it is not monstrous or hateful either.
    Many Jews were in favor of establishing a Jewish homeland in Uganda (including Herzl at one point) or in Argentina or anywhere possible. Israel Zangwill established Jewish Territorialist Organization in 1905 and wanted to establish a Jewish homeland anywhere feasible and not necesarilly in the land of Israel. Today there are streets named after Zangwill in Israel. Nobody thinks he was a monster. These people searched for practical (in their view at the time) solutions to urgent problems. In the end, those that insisted that the Jewish state be established in the land of Israel prevailed.

  26. Arizona differs from Sinai in having a major river, the Colorado, for irrigation, etc. Sinai has no rivers. Mt. Sinai itself gets enough winter rainfall for some limited dry land agriculture, but the Sinai peninsula probably cannot sustain a larger population than at present.

    The emptiest US state is N. Dakota. It has a semi-arid climate, not desert, and a major river, the Missouri, but great extremes of temperature. (There’s a reason only 500, 000 people live there!) The existing population probably doesn’t want new immigrants, either. (There are enough quarrels already between Dakota indians and White settlers!)

    Sorry to interrupt politics with practicalities! Really, Amos Oz has the right idea: that you make peace with your enemies, not your friends.

    Zhu Bajie

  27. Richard Silverstein said,

    January 29, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

    what is his solution to the overcrowded Gaza population

    Gaza needs no other “solution” than removing the siege & allowing the people there to engage in normal commerce & travel. Allowing Gaza to have its own air & seaport so it can create a thriving economy along w. jobs. Of course, it (& Sderot as well) needs a truce with the IDF such as Hamas has offered numerous times to Israel.

    Hmm… I recognize that ordinary Gazans desperately need to regain control over their airspace, seaports and border crossing to rebuild their economy. However, as far as I can understand, there still isn’t an adequate counter-response to the pro-Israeli argument, that there are still factions within Gaza that sees firing rockets into Sderot as legitimate acts of violence, and quite often they do it with the open support of the Hamas government. The offer of truce from Hamas is pretty meaningless since Hamas has stated in the past that it will not stop attacks on Israel by other factions from Gaza, such as Islamic Jihad. In fact it would not be too cynical to imagine Hamas providing logistical support to Islamic Jihad that fire rockets into Sderot. Correct me if I am wrong.

  28. Aston Kwok: If you read my most recent post it contains a ceasefire proposal drafted by a settler rabbi and Hamas journalist who received approval of senior Hamas Gaza officials which guarantees an end to ALL rocket fire from all Palestinian sources. I agree that such an outcome is imperative for real peace and that Hamas must prove itself able to enforce such an outcome if it is to have any credibility. I believe that it can do so if it wants to do so & is motivated to do so. And I believe that if Israel puts on the table the provisions mentioned in the Froman ceasefire proposal that Hamas would prove itself credible. Can I prove this to you or even myself to my full satisfaction? No. But am I willing to test Hamas to see if it is credible? You bet.

  29. I largely agree with your response. (See my subsequent response to your latest blog entry.)
    At this point, I wonder to what extent would Hamas be able to prove its credibility in the eyes of the Israeli government. One of the sticking point will be Israeli government’s open concern for weapon smuggling into Gaza. There will be people in Hamas who feel that weapon smuggling is a legitimate part of their continual resistance, while the Israeli security establishment will be paranoid about weapon smuggling into Gaza in the event of any ceasefire.
    Can I borrow some lessons from the Irish experience here? It took IRA many years to finally agree to disarm. Many in Hamas will find halt to weapon smuggling very difficult pill to swallow.

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