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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
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Secular Coercion

Too Many Religious Officers and a Constitution

When a drafter of Israel's Constitution says there is a problem because too many IDF commanders are religious, we need to worry about what kind of Constitution he is drafting.
Religious-Soldiers

In an interview last week with Makor Rishon, Dr. Arye (Arik) Carmon, head of the Israel Democracy Institute said,

“as the number of religious commanders in the army increases, we’re in for bigger problems.”

Dr. Carmon is not only the president of the Israel Democracy Institute, but he is one of the senior members of a group of people trying to put together a Constitution (“by Concensus”) for the state of Israel. A Constitution that is supposed to represent all of Israeli society and our shared values.

HIS CLARIFICATION

Following the publication of his statement last week, Carmon felt that there was a need to clarify what he really meant.

Carmon said (with my comments added in [italics]):

“As someone who was injured during my army service [yes, because that now gives any statement he makes automatic legitimacy], and whose sons fight shoulder to shoulder with their brother’s [see previous comment], the religious soldiers, the alumni of the National-Religious educational system, I have much respect for them, to the soldiers and commanders in the IDF whose contributions to the security of Israel are priceless [did he mention that some of his best friends are religious too?].It’s important for me to clarify that in the heat of the interview, my words were not understood properly [Actually, I think we did understand them properly].

I meant, that as long as there is no solution for the source of the authority in the IDF in general, and specifically, including the integration of women [because listening to women sing, is the biggest problem the army faces], the problems will grow and increase. As the number of religious soldiers and commanders grow, since the authority of their Rabbis is what rules for them, the size of the problem will get larger. More and more officers and soldiers will find themselves indecisive when they face this conflict.

Any other way to understand my words is mistaken.”

I’m honestly not sure what is worse, the original statement or his clarification.

Carmon is clearly afraid of two things, that the soldiers have a moral authority and value system that he doesn’t share, that supersedes blindly following orders, and that religious soldiers are blocking his coercive goals of secular-democratic supremacy.

His first problem is that religious soldiers listen to a higher moral authority, and he is afraid of the conflict that religious soldiers might have, especially if there are too many of them, and how that will affect their following orders.

Though logically that doesn’t make sense, because if there are more religious soldiers who share a common moral thought process, the conflict is unlikely to trickle down, as obviously immoral and illegal orders will be identified and stopped higher up in hierarchy – as they should be.

But, Carmon is thinking of two specific issues – one he states, which is the integration of women, and the other, which I believe he implies, is not following orders in case of another Expulsion/Disengagement – the classic Israeli argument of moral/religious right vs. the tyranny of the majority- the Jewish-Democratic state conflict.

Carmon has firmly placed himself firmly on one side of that argument, the secular side that immorally kicked out 8000 Jews from their homes and let a terrorist state develop in Gaza, and would do so again in Judea and Samaria if they could.

ONE SIDED CONCERN

Yet Carmon apparently doesn’t have a problem with too many left-wing pilots or reservists, hundreds of whom famously signed onto petitions saying they won’t follow orders to attack our enemies. You would think that he would find an identifiable group who seditiously and openly called for disobeying orders to attack the enemy to be far more worrisome than religious soldiers and officers, with a healthy and respected value system. But as you’ll see later in the article, he doesn’t.

To my knowledge, Carmon has never said that as the number of Left-wing pilots grows, the problems will increase. No, he specifically said the problem is with too many religious commanders.

SECULAR COERCION

Also, I find it strange that Carmon is so concerned with the integration of women into the army, without concern for the overt secular coercion he is trying to implement with that act.

With so many demanding that the Chareidim enlist en mass into the army, it’s statements like Carmon’s that quite rightfully scare the bejeebers out of the Chareidim.

Everyone talks about integrating Chareidim, but so few are talking about the legitimate demands and requirements that the Chareidim (and National-Religious) have, for the environment they will be encapsulated within for three full years.

Carmon seems to lack of the understanding that he can’t use the army to promote his secular values, to force religious people (of all stripes) to be placed in situations that are religiously difficult or impermissible. Instead he is demanding that religious Jews compromise on their values – but not he on his.

Integration into the IDF isn’t a one-way street, yet for Carmon it apparently should be. That’s called secular coercion.

I won’t even mention that the primary mission of the army is to defend the citizens of Israel in the best way possible,and not to get involved in experimental social engineering.

 HIS CONSTITUTION RADICALLY CHANGES THE ‘JEWISH’ IN JEWISH-DEMOCRATIC

I find it a worrisome thought that Carmon is one of those in trying to draft a Constitution for Israel, a document that is supposed to be a unifying document that combines our common denominators.

His draft already calls for “limited” public transportation on Shabbat, and the legalized opening up of cafes and entertainment centers (while keeping most commercial enterprises closed – which is already the case, for the most part).

Considering that only Israel’s weakest population will be the ones forced to work on Shabbat is of no concern to his self-proclaimed Jewish-based humanistic democracy. In fact, it will result in more people being forced to work on Shabbat than ever before.

His secular-humanistic-democratic values are definitely not socially just, nor very Jewish.

Carmon is simply coming from a position that looks down on religious values as secondary to his secular “democratic” ones.

THE RELIGIOUS ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY

This is hardly Carmon’s first statements against the religious “enemies of democracy“, as he expressed in a previous article that talked about the religious undermining Israel’s democracy and humanistic value system.

“National religious rabbis are also increasingly undermining democratic sources of authority.”

Carmon believes the “Jewish” component of the state should not based on the broader, more comprehensive religious value system that Judaism is built upon, but only on more limited, “humanistic” values, that he selectively interprets and decided has higher priority and value.

This results in his questions:

“Will the enemies of democracy prevail and turn Israel into a state of diminished freedom? Or will Israel remain true to itself as a Jewish nation-state that fulfills the values of freedom, human dignity, and equality? Will we be wise enough to develop the liberal character of the state – a strategic asset – or will we lose our democratic values, and with them our place in the family of nations?”

Nothing about actual Judaism though.

DEFENDING THE REAL FIFTH COLUMN

And If you’re not sure what  democratic freedoms Carmon is promoting, you only need look earlier in that same article where he rails against Israel trying to take steps to defend itself from foreign interests.

“…anti-democratic measures pushed through by populist politicians in the Knesset. Thus, for example, the Knesset recently decided to launch a parliamentary investigation into the sources of funding of human rights organizations operating in Israel.”

Carmon is referring to the investigation that wanted to disclose foreign and enemy government’s funding of NGOs in Israel, who try to manipulate both our democracy and ability to defend ourselves.

Somehow he wildly links this to:

“…a series of proposed bills designed to inflame the volatile relationship between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.”

If you want to talk about fifth columns, Carmon could have easily picked the example of foreign funded NGOs, with their foreign funded value systems and goals, directly trying to undermine Israel’s democracy as well as the IDF’s ability to actually defend us. But instead he chose to single out religious officers loyal to the state of Israel.

CONCLUSIONS

As you can see, there appears to be a common thread to Carmon’s statements.

Any Constitutional draft Carmon produces will need to be reviewed with a fine tooth comb, to weed out his obvious and inherent bias – but probably, it should just be thrown completely into the trash, as the bias will be embedded far too deep.

Instead, Israel should seriously consider the Alternative Constitution proposed by the Institute for Zionist  Strategies, a document which is actually more unifying, more democratic, and of course, more Jewish.

About the Author: JoeSettler blogs at The Muqata.blogspot.com and occasionally on his own blog at JoeSettler.blogspot.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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5 Responses to “Too Many Religious Officers and a Constitution”

  1. Israel must decide whether it will fully embrace a Torah Constitution or be a secular state. Meanwhile this quasi secular-religious state will continue to bring heavy tolls on Israeli citizens, continual criticism on its double standard policies, and divide among all israel. What we all need is Mashiach. But short of that, a government not ruled by religious extremist. Keep State affairs separate from religious interest and entities.Let them be self supportive, without the subsidies of the Goverment.

  2. David Laloum says:

    The quotes misrepresented and misinterpreted in this article look at two things:

    1) The connection (or absence thereof) between ethical/moral behaviour and religion – ie: the fact that one follows a particular religious authorities "commands" does not per se make the actions ethical/moral – in fact it is an abnegation of moral judgement. (the lazy man lets someone else think for him!)
    The rabbi's that over the years have been jailed for crimes ranging from paedophilia to fraud demonstrate that religious titles/position are no measure of an individuals moral worth – and even less of the value of an individuals commands in terms of morality/ethics. Religious authorities have no monopoly on ethics (or lack thereof) – and therefore it is ludicrous to attempt to connect the two.

    2) The question of Authority – which is where many Haredim follow all commands given by their religious authority / rav / Gadol (see article at http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/do-you-practice-gadolatry/2013/01/31/).
    This puts the public services and especially the defence forces in the difficult situation where some individuals will follow the commands of an external "authority" in preference to both the chain of command and the dictates of their own ethics/morals.
    There are already in place valid mechanisms for soldiers to refuse to follow orders that infringe on ethical/moral areas – but how does one cope with a soldier who refuses to follow orders because his "Gadol" said so?

    3) Kol Isha – this seems like a bit of a red herring in the discussion!

  3. Rachel Cohen says:

    this would be laughable if not sad. seriously! they badger the religious for not doing army service. then they complain that too many relgious in the army! what next?

  4. Too bad you left out the cogently-argued parts about this traitor's defence of his fellow traitors (5th column foreign/enemy-funded subversives, underminers, etc.) you pompus stupid ass. Btw, why are many Anglos so primitively write the plural form of words with an apostrophe ("rabbi's"). Idiot. Jarring.

  5. Ahron Ebert says:

    Why do you call him an Anglo? He is from Australia not England where Anglos and Saxons come from.

Comments are closed.

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