web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 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 Promised Land Of Paradox

Front-Page-121313

Shavit writes rapturously about Ein Harod. “It is imprinted on every Israeli’s psyche. In a sense it is our Source, our point of departure.” The pioneers of Ein Harod became, in the words of a visiting Zionist luminary, “the heroes of the new generation…. You are taking us back to the source.” But there was a moral cost to be exacted: “The Arabs of the Harod Valley,” writes Shavit, “stand in the way of the Jewish liberation movement that needs to remove them from this valley.” Eventually the fire of Jewish independence “will blaze out of control. It will burn the valley’s Palestinians and it will consume itself, too.”

Shavit’s euphoria over kibbutzim becomes a cry of lamentation once the struggle for independence engages the armies of five Arab nations and marauding local Arabs attempting to annihilate the nascent Zionist state and its Jewish inhabitants. The miracle of Jewish statehood, he writes, is based on “denial”: “The nation I am born into has erased Palestine from the face of the earth.” As his chapter on the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from Lydda in 1948 (previously excerpted in The New Yorker) is intended to demonstrate, Israel’s “unhealed wound” of moral corrosion began at the very moment of its birth.

Villages were destroyed, land was confiscated, Arabs fled from their homes to become displaced refugees beyond the borders of the fledgling Jewish state. But, as Shavit writes, “There is no time and no place for guilt or compassion.” Israel, after all, would absorb more refugees from Arab states than the number of Palestinians it expelled, while “the vast Arab nation doesn’t lift a finger to help its Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

Once Shavit’s focus shifts to the new wave of Zionist settlers after 1967 his moral indignation boils over. “For upper-middle-class secular Ashkenazi Israelis like me, peace was not only a political idea…. Peace was our religion.” But Jewish settlements were “a calamity in the making.” The Left, his Left, “realized that occupation was a moral, demographic, and political disaster.” Precisely why the return of Jews to their biblical homeland in Judea and Samaria was a moral calamity, rather than an extension of the earlier kibbutz imperative to settle the land of Israel, he does not say.

Shavit’s demographic argument is equally fallacious: the ratio of Jewish settlers to West Bank Palestinians (now 1:4) is considerably higher than the ratio of Zionists to Palestinians during the golden era of Ein Harod in the 1920s. Politically, the Jewish state is lacerated internationally for its settlements. But one way or another, long before 1967, European Christians and Middle Eastern Muslims had found ways to humiliate, persecute, and eventually exterminate Jews. The current international delegitimization of Israel for its settlements updates millennia of anti-Semitism.

As Ein Harod was Shavit’s model of Zionist morality, and Lydda became its shameful price for statehood, Ofra – the first religious Zionist community established in Samaria after the Yom Kippur War – epitomizes the “futile, anachronistic, colonialist” disaster of settlement. Shavit cannot contain his rage and rhetoric. Gush Emunim settlers “challenged secular Zionism and democratic Israel and demanded to establish in Samaria its own Ein Harod.” But “settling occupied territory was illegal and immoral and irrational,” he writes – at least when done by religious nationalists. So the return of Jews to Judea and Samaria became “the foundation of the last colonial project of the twentieth century.”

Ofra ”taints” Israel – and taunts Shavit – with its emulation of Ein Harod, the pride and joy of socialist Zionism. As in Ein Harod, Ofra founders understood, but disregarded, “the inherent contradiction” between their settlement and the surrounding Palestinian population. “We did what our forefathers did in…Ein Harod,” an Ofra founder reminds Shavit: “We followed Labor’s ethos and used Labor’s methods.” Ofra, Shavit concedes, “is Ein Harod’s grandchild” – but also “a grotesque reincarnation of it.”

About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.


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 Promised Land Of Paradox”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Aerial view of Yemenite Village of HaShiloach, Old City of Jerusalem and Mt. of Olives.
Jews to Double Presence in Old Yemenite Village of Shiloach, Silwan
Latest Indepth Stories
Arab children look at pictures of two of a kind - Arafat and Barghouti.

What was the world reaction to a relatively light blockade of Gaza compared to the deliberate killing of Jews and destruction of Israel? A rebuke at the nature of the collective punishment on all of the people in Gaza. Consider the Sayreville, NJ case again. Imagine the football team, school and community participated in all […]

Jordan's King Abdullah

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

The Kinneret/Sea of Galilee

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Bibeye doctor

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

Does it not seem ironic that just on the day all of Israel is joyously celebrating another year of having concluded the public reading of the entire Pentateuch, we must mournfully and even tearfully commemorate the death of the individual who imparted to us God’s Torah in the first place?

Why is “Palestine” worthier of “statehood recognition” than ISIS, another terrorist gang seeking it?

More Articles from Jerold S. Auerbach
Front-Page-081514

Times reporter Anne Barnard reported (7/15) that Israel was to blame (so her Palestinian sources asserted) for its continued “occupation” of Gaza – which, Barnard failed to note, ended nearly a decade ago.

Jerold S. Auerbach

During much of the 20th century, elite American colleges and universities carefully policed their admission gates to restrict the entry of Jews. Like its Big Brothers – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – Wellesley College, where I taught history between 1971 and 2010, designed admission policy to perpetuate a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite.

Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers (Harper) explores the lives of seven Israeli paratroopers in the Six-Day War who, his subtitle suggests, “Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.” It offers a fascinating variation on the theme of Israel at a fateful crossroads, in search of itself, following the wondrously unifying moment at the Western Wall in June 1967 when Jewish national sovereignty in Jerusalem was restored for the first time in nineteen centuries.

In death as in life, Menachem Begin remained who he had always been: a proud yet humble Jew.

Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.

One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Nearly sixty-five years ago Israel declared its independence and won the war that secured a Jewish state. But its narrow and permeable postwar armistice lines permitted incessant cross-border terrorist raids. For Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the mere existence of a Jewish state remained an unbearable intrusion into the Arab Middle East. As Egyptian President Nasser declared, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel.”

For anyone with historical memory the expulsion of Jews – by the Romans, English, French, Spaniards, Nazis, and Muslims – instantly evokes tragic episodes in Jewish history. Now the state of Israel expels Jews from their homes. Something is amiss in Zion.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-promised-land-of-paradox/2013/12/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: