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July 23, 2014 | 25th Tamuz 5774

A Jewish State

August 31, 2003
Marc Rosenstein

Chapter 1
The turning point came when Israeli scientists discovered a stable, cheaply produced biopolymer that had the property of converting light energy to electricity with 99% efficiency. It could be incorporated into plastics and paint, so that any surface could become a power source. The oil monopoly was broken and the world entered a new era of unlimited cheap power. Israel became as rich as Brunei. The water problem was solved through cheap, large scale desalination. Huge strides were made in robotics, so that almost all menial jobs could be done by machines. The country became a lush paradise.

The wall was completed around the entire state, including the Mediterranean coast; there were no beaches by then anyway, as the entire coastal strip had been built up with malls and marinas, luxury apartments and hotels, so no one missed the beach.

With no need for Palestinian and Thai and Romanian workers, the influx stopped, and those who were not deported ultimately left on their own or converted to Judaism. The Law of Return was tightened to admit only halachic Jews, but at the same time the halachah was modified to accept patrilineal descent, and conversion procedures were liberalized and streamlined. All the non-Jewish immigrants from prior years were required to convert or to leave. Some left, the rest converted. All tourists needed to apply for visas in advance, and non-Jews were restricted to 60 days, non-renewable. Non-Jewish tourists were required to wear an identifying badge.

The million Arab Israelis were not nearly as big a problem as you might have thought. Many of them were happy to leave the country with generous departure grants – and Israel's neighbors were happy to receive them (with their generous departure grants). Those who chose to stay converted to Judaism; they were required to, but given the success and generosity of the Jewish state, many of them did so willingly, perceiving that Jewish was not a bad thing to be.

And so it happened that the fantasy of the centuries became a reality: the creation of a state that really was 100% Jewish. Finally it was just us. We would no longer have to worry about "what the gentiles would say." We would no longer have to feel guilty about minority rights. We would no longer have to worry about intermarriage. We would no longer have to fret about the influence of western culture and its values. This new utopia was not a return to the past, as never in our history had we experienced such absolute separation – even in the kingdom of David and Solomon, there were pagans living among us, in their own villages, in mixed cities, in neighboring states with which we were sometimes allied, sometimes at war.

Indeed, not only was the purely Jewish state, which we had dreamed of for years, a completely new and unique phenomenon in Jewish history, but the world had long ago given up on the idea of ethnically homogeneous nation states, so this state was unique on the stage of world history as well – the only ethnically pure state in the world.

For decades, Israeli culture had sanctified the barbecuing of meat; a holiday was not a holiday without the smell of charcoal smoke and the sizzle of fat. And so the idea of rebuilding the Temple and reinstating sacrifices turned out not to be as far-fetched as many people had thought. The re-establishment of the priesthood finally solved the problem of leadership, authority, and unity, with which we had been struggling for generations….

Chapter 2
Write your own ending.

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