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Israeli Political System

Error (San Francisco Chronicle, Saree Makdisi, Op-Ed, 3/31/06): As the state of the Jewish people, Israel is, after all, the only country in the world that expressly claims not to be the state of its actual citizens (one-fifth of whom are non-Jews), let alone that of the people whom it governs (half of whom are Palestinian).

Fact: a) Nowhere does Israel "expressly" claim not to be the state of its citizens. b) Although Israel describes itself as a "Jewish and democratic state," it is hardly the only country to do such a thing. c) It is untrue that "half" of the people governed by Israel are Palestinian. According to the CIA Factbook, there are 3,953,239 mostly Palestinian non-Jews in Israel and the West Bank (2,460,492 non-Jews West Bank and East Jerusalem and 1,492,747 non-Jews inside pre-1967 Israel) and 4,859,370 Jews in Israel and the West Bank. Numbers from Israeli and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics paint a similar picture. (Note: Palestinian demographic figures have been criticized as inflated.)