Interviewed by: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Zahava Englard Shapiro is an Israeli based writer and author. Her writing includes the highly acclaimed Israeli suspense and historical fiction “The Gilboa Iris” and a true account of life in the Judean Hills “Settling for More: From Jersey to Judea”, as well as numerous articles and political commentary on issues relating to Israel for various online publications including Mida, Israellycool, Algemeiner, Times of Israel, and the Jewish Media Agency. A staunch pro-Israel advocate and activist, as well as past executive director of One Israel Fund, Zahava has lectured in both Israel and in the United States and continues to raise awareness on issues concerning Israel.
Recently Zahava England Shapiro accorded an exclusive interview to Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor Blitz. Here are the excerpts:
Q: Being an expert on the Middle East affairs, would you explain the root cause of Israel-Palestine conflict?
A: I would begin by stating that the conflict is not an Israel-Palestine conflict. There is no state of Palestine. Nor did a state of Palestine ever exist. Rather it is an Israel-Arab conflict that has existed well before the reestablishment of the modern State of Israel. The root cause is not land, but a belief by the Arabs, firmly rooted in the Quran, to kill the Jews. In light of such preaching, it is unacceptable to the Arabs to have a Jewish presence in a part of the world they consider to be theirs.
Q: Do you see the conflict between Israel and Palestine as a political one or religious?
A: A religious one, for the reason stated above.
Q: All of us are aware of the mega terrorist outfit Hamas. In your opinion, wherefrom mainly this group has been receiving weapons and how this supply can be stopped?
A: Hamas as well as Hezbollah, both threats on Israel’s borders, receive their weapons mainly from Iran. Drying up Iran’s source of capital is the most logical and practical way to stop Iran’s ability to instigate global terrorism. The European countries must work together with the U.S. in enforcing economic sanctions against Iran.
Q: There are allegations of Palestinian authorities giving jihadist indoctrination to their children. By doing so, aren’t they violating international rules?
A: Of course. They are committing flagrant child abuse by raising their children in a culture of hate and warfare, in addition to using their children as human shields on the battleground and encouraging them to become “martyrs”. They are, in effect, raising their children to kill. The United Nations, however, is silent on this blatant child abuse.
Q: Recently, United States has moved their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There are indications from other nations as well of following this footstep. On the other hand, Palestinians are still claiming Jerusalem as their capital. In your opinion, how Israel will resolve this issue if there is a two-state solution?
A: This issue cannot be resolved with a two-state solution, simply because the notion of two states is not a solution at all. The narrative of the so-called Palestinians was created in 1964 by the KGB with Yasser Arafat, who was actually Egyptian, propped up as leader of this newly formed narrative taking its form as a terrorist movement, called the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Its sole purpose, to destroy the State of Israel. For this fictional people to claim Jerusalem as its capital is one of the greatest lies of modern times. It would be national suicide for Israel to accept an enemy state dedicated to its destruction on its land. Jerusalem, in its entirety has been the capital of the Jewish nation for 3,000 years, and it will remain so. For there to be true peace, the Arabs must once and for all accept that.
Q: Many Islamic scholars say, Koran does not recognize the existence of Palestinians in that part of the world. There also is no mention of Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinians. But still the Palestinians are claiming statehood with Jerusalem as their capital. By doing so, aren’t they violating Koran?
A: Again, there are no such people as “Palestinian” Arabs. If one looks back in history, prior to the re-estabishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish people living in the land of Israel under the British mandate were know as Palestinians. Palestine was never a country or state in and of itself. Rather the term Palestine refered to an approximate historical geographical area known as the Levant, which included Syria and Egypt as well. The Arabs living in the area that is known as the land of Israel, refused to be known as Palestinian. Until 1964, that is, with the establishment of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The answer then, vis-a-vis Jerusalem, is yes. Claiming Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine” is contrary to the Quran.
Q: In most of the Arab nations, women do not enjoy liberty. Even there are allegations of physical and sexual assaults on the women. Under such realities, what exactly are the situations of Palestinian women?
A: As I understand it, Arab women living under the jurisdiction of the PA are subject to Sharia law. I don’t imagine they are able to enjoy the liberties of western culture.
Q: There are allegations of Hamas selling Palestinian girls and women into slavery and prostitution. Would you say if such allegations are substantive?
A: I wouldn’t know about that.
Q: There are media reports about existence of brothels in Palestine and those being run by Hamas and Palestinian terror outfits. Can you describe the realities?
A: The reality is that there is no “Palestine”. If you would like to know about the existence of brothels under the PA and Hamas, you would have to direct this question to them.
Q: Terror outfits like Al Qaeda, ISIS etc establish footprints mostly in the politically troubled or places affected by war and terrorism. As ISIS are being gradually driven out of the Middle East, is there any risk of a new ISIS base in the Palestine?
A: No eyebrow would be raised if an ISIS base would be found in the territory of the PA or Hamas. Your questions, however, consistently refer to “Palestine” when such a country or state does not exist.
Q: What are your personal views about BDS and J Street? Do these groups pose any threat to Israel and the Jewish population?
A: Anti-Israel NGO’s such as BDS and J Street have succeeded in spreading lies against Israel and the Jewish people, and consequently, they have a hand in promoting Jew-hatred in Europe and in the United States. As a result of their activities promoting the support of terrorist entities such as the PA, along with contorting the truth, and misrepresenting the facts on the ground, such groups serve to incite terror against Israel.
Q: A section of Jews are seen opposing to Israel. They even demand elimination of the Jewish State. Does such tendency cause any harm to Israel?
A: They are a fringe element. Although they are loud and a huge annoyance. They are also the darlings of the anti-Israel mainstream media who jump at any opportunity to publicize their anti-Israel activities. In the end, I believe, they only bring harm to themselves. However, in the meantime, they are causing an intensification of Jew-hatred, and are in effect validating the Jew-haters by spreading blood libels against Israel. This not only affects Israel but the Jewish people world over.
Q: There are a section of people who though support the State of Israel but oppose Zionism. In your opinion, how much important is Zionism for the existence of the State of Israel?
A: One cannot support the State of Israel and oppose Zionism at the same time. That doesn’t even make sense. Zionism is all about the Jewish people living out their destiny in their God-given Land of Israel. If you oppose Zionism, you oppose the State of Israel.
Q: I am a Zionist. But I am not a Jew. Many people argue a non-Jewish individual can never be a Zionist. What is your opinion?
A: To settle the Land of Israel is a commandment from the Torah to the Jewish people. Zionism is about the Jewish people settling the Land of Israel. Theodore Herzl may have coined the term “Zionism” but he didn’t take it out of thin air. He took the word from the Hebrew word found in the Torah, “Tzion”. In the Torah, Tzion is mentioned an abundant amount of times throughout, and refers to Jerusalem, Israel, and even the Jewish nation as a whole.
A non-Jewish individual therefore, can be pro-Zionist. In recent times, the term Zionist has been “stretched” to include anyone who supports Israel. I personally don’t hold by that. But if it makes some people feel better to call themselves Zionist, I won’t lose sleep over it. However, the danger exists when people redefine Zionism and other ideologies distinct to the Jewish nation to serve their own agenda.
Q: In today’s world, media plays an important role. Israel has always been facing an adverse or biased media. Even international news outlets are evidently seen inclined towards anti-Israel bias. Under such circumstances, as a writer and columnist, how will you assess the importance of a newspaper like Blitz, which has been consistently defending Israel and promoting Zionism for past 15 years?
A: Any news publication that is dedicated to the truth is of major importance, not only to Israel but to the world at large. Blitz, therefore, plays a crucial role in disseminating the truth and is a vital player against the misinformation and blatant lies that plague much of the main stream news industry.
Q: India has been a great friend of the Jewish State for many decades. But up to now, it has not shifted its embassy to Jerusalem. What actually stops India from taking this step?
A: Although there are a lot of complexities surrounding the issue of moving a country’s embassy to Jerusalem, the bottom line is, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and not Tel-Aviv. Therefore, any country that refuses to accept this reality and show respect for the State of Israel, indicates a lack of courage to do what is right. Having said that, I do not believe that a country which chooses not to move its embassy to Jerusalem is necessarily an enemy of Israel.