web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



The Two-Pronged Assault On Religious Zionism


         Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza was presented to the world as a strategic bid to enhance prospects for peace between the Palestinians and Israel. Proponents of the move argued that removing all Israeli civilians and military personnel from Gaza would take away the source of Palestinian grievances. Once fully appeased, the Palestinians would be forced to behave responsibly, abjure terrorism and build their state – first in Gaza, and then in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem as well.


 

         This was the pretext of Israel’s withdrawal. But it wasn’t the subtext. The subtext of the withdrawal – telegraphed to both Israelis and the international community – was that the withdrawal was cause the demise of Religious Zionism at the hands of the leftist progeny of Labor Zionists. That is, the operation wasn’t about peace with the Arabs. It was about cultural supremacy within Israel.

 

         In the countdown to the withdrawal, the Palestinians did everything they could to make clear the move would not enhance the chances for peace. They triumphantly declared that then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to expel Gaza’s Jews was an admission that Israel had been defeated by the Palestinians. Hamas was ascendant and both Hamas and Fatah declared repeatedly that they would continue their terror war until all of Israel was destroyed. And as the pretext crumbled, the subtext became more prominent.

 

         Haaretz editorialized six weeks before the expulsion of Gaza’s 8,000 Jews, “The disengagement of Israeli policy from its religious fuel is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the disengagement, religious Zionism’s status will be different. The real question is not how many mortar shells will fall, or who will guard the Philadelphi route [connecting Gaza with Egypt], or whether the Palestinians will dance of the roofs of Ganei Tal. The real question is who sets the national agenda.”

 

         Religious Zionist leaders were in a horrible bind. If they responded to the demands of their own people and fought fire with fire, they knew – given the Left’s control of the media – they would be demonized for years to come. And they knew that if the Left succeeded in destroying their reputation among rank and file Israelis, they would be powerless to defend Judea and Samaria.

 

         So in the end, Religious Zionist leaders disappointed their followers, making do with mass protests in the countdown to the expulsions and then allowing the IDF to carry out the expulsions largely unchallenged. While they failed to save Gaza’s Jews from internal exile, they at least succeeded in preventing the demise of Religious Zionism as a political and social force in Israel.

 

         Their success was acknowledged by Haaretz. In the weeks that followed the expulsions, Haaretz columnist Orit Shochat bemoaned the fact that the campaign against Religious Zionism had not succeeded. As she put it, “Soldiers who experienced the evacuation won’t travel to an ashram in India because they discovered that there is an ashram next door. The same Jewish religion that they hadn’t seen up close for a long time embraces them into its fold with a song and a tear for a common fate. They have now sat arm-in-arm at the synagogues in Gush Katif, they have now felt the holiness mixed in sweat, they have now moved rhythmically and sung songs. They have stood in line to kiss the Torah scrolls. They are now half-inside.”

 

         Zionism’s revolutionary message to Jewry was that after 2,000 years of powerlessness, Jews would again become actors on the global stage. But Zionism has many movements and not all of them are equally revolutionary. The two most significant Zionist movements today are Labor Zionism and Religious Zionism.

 

         The inherent weakness of Labor Zionism is that it was never aimed specifically at enabling Jews to be Jews. Rather, its purpose was to enable Jews to be socialists. Understanding that the anti-Semitic climate in Europe in the early 20th century rendered Jewish assimilation into a larger socialist sea impossible, Labor Zionists argued that by establishing a Jewish state Jews would be “normalized” and accepted as regular people and socialists by the nations of the world. That is, Labor Zionism’s message was assimilation on a national rather than on an individual one since conditions in Europe precluded individual assimilation.

 

         Labor Zionists have been confounded by the endurance of anti-Semitism and its transformation of Israel, though anti-Zionism, into the International Jew. The world’s refusal to accept Israel as an equal has been shattering for them. It has caused Labor Zionists to abandon Zionism in the hopes that by doing so they will finally be accepted as equals by the nations of the world. At its core, Labor Zionism is outward seeking rather than inward looking.

 

         In contrast, Religious Zionism is inward looking. It seeks to turn Jews into actors on the international stage as Jews. It also seeks to make Judaism responsive to the imperatives of an empowered people as it was responsive to the imperatives of Jews as a powerless people during the generations of exile. Because of its specific message to Jews as Jews, Religious Zionism is a pure revolutionary ideology.

 

         Religious Zionists are a finger in the eye of the Labor Zionists for their stubborn devotion to Judaism and their relative indifference to whether Israel is accepted by the anti-Semites of the world. And Labor Zionists are not alone in their angry rejection of Religious Zionism’s message. They are joined by the non-Zionist religious establishment.

 

         The non-Zionist religious establishment feels threatened by Religious Zionism’s attempts to reinvest Judaism with its nationalist mission for the Jewish nation. And, unfortunately, the non-Zionist religious establishment is joining forces with the Labor Zionist establishment to attack Religious Zionism.

 

         In early May, a panel of three non-Zionist rabbinic judges on Jerusalem’s High Rabbinic Court published a ruling in a divorce case declaring all the thousands of conversions carried out under the auspices of Religious Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman, and the state’s Conversion Authority he headed, null and void. The court argued that Druckman did not investigate sufficiently whether the converts were committed to observing all the mitzvot. Piling on to the non-Zionist establishment’s act, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week removed Druckman from his position as head of the Conversion Authority.

 

         Both Rabbi Avraham Sherman, who wrote the rabbinical high court’s decision, and Druckman’s fellow Religious Zionist rabbis agree that the dispute is an attack on Religious Zionism’s view of the role of religion in Israel rather than a strictly halachic disagreement. In his ruling, Sherman wrote of Druckman and his Religious Zionist colleagues in the Conversion Authority, “All these rabbis have one thing in common. They all see in conversion a sacred commandment as part of their national responsibility. In other words, the conversion is not primarily the spiritual and religious need of the individual convert who wishes to join the Jewish people and accept upon himself all the commandments. Rather, conversion is a means of improving the spiritual situation of the entire Jewish nation living in Israel. It is a way of bringing Jews closer to their Judaism.”

 

         The Religious Zionist movement is up in arms over the ruling, which its leaders are calling an act of aggression and halachic malfeasance. Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who heads the hesder yeshiva in Petach Tikvah and is considered a leading rabbinic authority in Religious Zionist circles, called Sherman’s ruling “a desecration of God’s name” and said that if it is not overturned he would set up independent conversion courts outside the aegis of the Chief Rabbinate.


 

         Between the Labor Zionists’ attempts to destroy Religious Zionism politically, and the non-Zionist rabbinic leadership’s attempts to demonize it religiously, Religious Zionism has been under tremendous pressure in recent years. One can only hope its leaders will have the wisdom to persevere. Israel and the Jewish people need Religious Zionism more than anyone will ever admit.

 

         Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of each month.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Two-Pronged Assault On Religious Zionism”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arabs burn tires in Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Arab Violence in Jerusalem Forces Police to Return Law and Order
Latest Indepth Stories
Keeping-Jerusalem

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty


n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

More Articles from Caroline B. Glick
Abbas

On November 24 Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo.

Last week at the UN, President Obama did something he had never done before. He discussed Israel and the Palestinians without once attacking Israel. He didn’t blame Israel for the absence of peace.

Imagine if 100 million Americans participated in the Tea Party movement. And then imagine that the movement had no impact on American politics. Finally imagine that in the wake of the Tea Party movement, Republicans embraced President Obama’s positions on spending and taxation.

According to Israel Army Radio, Prime Minister Netanyahu has offered to extend the moratorium on Jewish property rights in Judea and Samaria for an additional three months in exchange for Jonathan Pollard’s freedom. That is, if Obama pardons Pollard, who has served 25 years of a life sentence for transferring classified documents to Israel, then Israel will agree to extend the ten-month moratorium on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, due to expire next week, for another three months.

According to Israel Army Radio, Prime Minister Netanyahu has offered to extend the moratorium on Jewish property rights in Judea and Samaria for an additional three months in exchange for Jonathan Pollard’s freedom. That is, if Obama pardons Pollard, who has served 25 years of a life sentence for transferring classified documents to Israel, then Israel will agree to extend the ten-month moratorium on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, due to expire next week, for another three months.

In a much discussed article in the current issue of The American Spectator titled “America’s Ruling Class,” Prof. Angelo Codevilla describes the divide between those who run the U.S. – the politicians, bureaucrats and policy establishment – and the rest of the country.

In a much discussed article in the current issue of The American Spectator titled “America’s Ruling Class,” Prof. Angelo Codevilla describes the divide between those who run the U.S. – the politicians, bureaucrats and policy establishment – and the rest of the country.

Iran is on a winning streak. As it sprints towards the nuclear finishing line, it finds itself – and its allies and clients – being wooed by one and all. In contrast, Israel has never been more isolated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-two-pronged-assault-on-religious-zionism/2008/05/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: