Israel is considering building another wall, this one to keep illegal aliens, not terrorists from getting into the relatively small nation.
The new wall will run along its border with Jordan and be an addition to fortifications it has already been building along its desert border with Egypt. These areas could be compared to America's border with Mexico. Except in Israel's case, most of their illegals are coming from Africa.
Israel's booming economy (it currently has a higher credit rating than America), its progressive relatively open nature and need for cheap labour are main reasons for the immigrant crush. Another reason is because it has the highest UN Human Development Index rating in the Mid East http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index.
Yet with thousands already in the country, most overstaying their work visas, the government has one more headache to deal with besides the Palestinian issue and the growing militancy of ultra orthodox Jews.
The country was founded as a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution and wishing to re-establish their long lost homeland. In this regard it is rather curious why so many Haredim Jews (ultra orthodox) live in Israel since they don't believe the country should exist until the Messiah arrives. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/israel-ultraorthodox-jews_n_809003.htmlWell maybe it isn't so curious. They take all the social benefits they can get while giving the nation nothing but tsouris (trouble).
A main sticking point in any agreement with the West Bank Palestinians (PLO) is their refusal the accept Israel as a Jewish state. They have a point here, even though this is largely a semantic one.
Israel has a growing population currently at 7.5 million. But about 2 million are Israeli Arabs and there are thousands of Christians and Bahai's there as well. So, while the majority are Jews, Israel is really a multi ethno-religious country, like many nations from India to the UK.
But compare this to the Arab world, where every country is an Arab country, no matter who else lives there. You may have read how one high-ranking Palestinian leader said no Jews should be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state.
This is normal for autocratic theocracies where residents are classed by tribe and religion and can be excluded at will. A main strength of the Arab world, with the possible exception of the Gulf Emirates, has been its stagnation. It hadn't changed much in 1,000 years. Even after the Arab Spring, don't expect modernity to infect the region, with most nations way down the UN Human Development Index.
On the other hand, Israel's main weakness is its western democratic orientation. While it considers itself a Jewish state, there actually is no state religion. As with so many other progressive democracies, it has become a victim of its success, with non-Jewish immigrants seeking a chance to earn a living in the country.
As time marches on, unless Israel adopts the same strict immigration controls of a wealthy nation such as Switzerland, where few non-native born Swiss are allowed to settle, it has a good chance of eventually being swamped by non-Jews.
This is what the Palestinians may be counting on, but with immigrants being Arabs, not Africans. They hope to do to Israel what their late leader Yassar Arafat helped do to once prosperous Lebanon... create a cantonized nation similar to the 1947 UN proposed partition plan. And they will use the UN and legal challenges to try to accomplish this.
Being a democracy, Israel's small size is an advantage because it can do what America hasn't been able to do, be responsive to all citizens no matter what their background. Similar challenges are now facing other small democracies such as Holland and Belgium, with large and growing Muslim populations.
The world is a much smaller place thanks to the Internet and relative ease of travel from one part of the globe to another. What isn't smaller is the world's population now at 6.45 billion. Add to this regional droughts, rising sea levels and high unemployment, and you see how immigration will be a phenomenon that will continue to rise.
For many smaller progressive and economically well-off nations, such as Israel and Holland, their countries will continue to be magnets for economic immigrants. The old reality of purely indigenous populations may be as dead as the WW2 Nazi philosophy that openly championed such ideas. There's nothing wrong with having a state whose population is of a specific ethnicity or faith. But being realistic, for popular affluent immigrant destinations that depend on cheap labour, such nations will find it difficult maintaining their old status quo.
In the long-term Israel's success and survival may not be as a purely Jewish state, but it will be as a just and decent society that guarantees equality and security to all people, an example to other regional nations. If it doesn't do this, the Lebanon scenario looks more likely.
Follow Dan Ehrlich on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danew13