This is Yossi’s reply to  Jahshan from Yemen. To read Jahshan’s full response check this link

Dear Jahshan,

Thank you for your candid response. While it’s true that reading your letter was painful for me, I’m still grateful that you took the time to read my book and to respond. I have no right to ask for more than that.

You make the necessary point that the Jews, in returning to this land, created the conflict simply by “showing up” after so many years of absence. What I tried to show in my book is that the belief that one day we would return was central to Jewish identity and faith. Our return, I agree, is not rational; but peoples don’t necessarily work on the basis of reason alone. Our deepest sense of our story, our purpose as a people, our future – all were bound with this land.

The fact that the mainstream Zionist movement always supported territorial compromise and a two-state solution gives Israelis the sense that we have been fair. I know that Palestinians and many others in the Arab world see that “fairness” very differently: Who are you Jews to offer sharing the land with the people who were here all along? That too is a fair point. But I can turn your argument around and say: I don’t need anyone to legitimize my existence. Especially given the fact that the Jews actually did succeed in returning here.

When you ask, “Who determines whether the Zionist project is indeed ‘legitimate?’” my first response is: Reality. We exist. We returned – from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, from a hundred countries. We built a thriving and successful country. We have the right to exist because we exist. That’s even before getting into all the history. We exist, therefore we are…

Since you are from Yemen, I can tell you that the Yemenite Jews I know feel a deep anger toward the country in which they lived for many centuries, always in a state of inferiority, and often in fear. Israel has given them, as it has Jews from all around the Middle East, a safe home. I am painfully aware of the Palestinian refugees, but this conflict has resulted in two refugee tragedies. The Jewish refugees have been resettled; justice still awaits the Palestinian refugees.

Finally, I was surprised to read your concluding remarks, expressing concern that “fragile” minds might be influenced by my book. What kind of fragile minds are you concerned about? Isn’t an open and free exchange of ideas and arguments preferable to censorship? Isn’t intellectual censorship part of the reason why the Arab world hasn’t taken its full rightful place in the modern world?

In the new edition to my book, I end with 50 pages of Palestinian responses. I decided to give the Palestinian narrative the last word in my book, precisely because I believe that that perspective needs to be read, especially by Jews. Those letters appear in the Israeli edition, which will be coming out this year. I am not afraid of the contrary perspective. Maybe it’s time for all of us to let alone voices that are uncomfortable for us to hear.

With kind regards,