Former Israeli ambassador to US Michael Oren..
(photo credit: Hyungwon Kang / Reuters)
WASHINGTON – Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren told CNN’s Fareed
Zakaria on Sunday that Israel is “predicated on having a Jewish majority,” and
that any final-status agreement with the Palestinians will require their
recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
“It means the Jewish state is
permanent and legitimate,” said Oren of such recognition, adding, “We’re not
asking the Palestinians to do it upfront.”
Zakaria asked Oren what that
would mean for Arab Israelis, who are more than 20 percent of the population,
and why a religion should be the basis for a state’s identity.
responded that the Jews are not just a religious group.
“The Jews are a
people, and we have a right to self-determination,” Oren said. “We are a
Oren said he had been instructed by the State Department
not to talk about the peace process openly.
But he added that, “with
creativity and good will,” he believed the two parties will be able to solve the
problem of Jerusalem’s status, one of the conflict’s thorniest issues.