Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress

As the state of Israel approaches its 70th anniversary, I am filled with pride as I watch the vulnerable Jewish state of my childhood evolve into the strong and prosperous nation it is today.
As president of the World Jewish Congress, I believe that Israel is central to every Jew’s identity, and I feel it is my second home. Yet today I fear for the future of the nation I love.
True, the Israeli Army is stronger than any other army in the Middle East. And yes, Israel’s economic prowess is world renowned: In China, India and Silicon Valley, Israel’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are venerated.
But the Jewish democratic state faces two grave threats that I believe could endanger its very existence.
The first threat is the possible demise of the two-state solution. I am conservative and a Republican, and I have supported the Likud party since the 1980s. But the reality is that 13 million people live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And almost half of them are Palestinian.
If current trends continue, Israel will face a stark choice: Grant Palestinians full rights and cease being a Jewish state or rescind their rights and cease being a democracy.
To avoid these unacceptable outcomes, the only path forward is the two-state solution.