Thirty years later, following the Six-Day War, he declared: “There is no redemption without extensive Jewish settlement.”
But the words of the Founding Father have been ignored by Israeli prime ministers, on the left and right, who realize that weakening the settlement movement would permanently eliminate the religious Zionist challenge to their shared vision of a secular, post-Zionist Israel.
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Ironically, the miraculous victory of 1967 that momentarily bridged the secular-religious chasm reaches its forty-fifth anniversary with Israelis more deeply polarized than ever. Whether the state of Israel will ultimately include the Land of Israel is the question that frames the wrenching struggle over Israel’s Jewish identity that remains the unresolved legacy of the Six-Day War.
Did the stunning military victory in an unwanted defensive war culminate in the “occupation” of someone else’s land – or the liberation of the ancient Jewish homeland?
The euphoric national cohesion prompted by a miraculous victory forty-five years ago has dissipated.
Sadly, the legacy of the Six-Day War is persistent acrimonious conflict over the meaning of Zionism and the Jewish identity of the state of Israel.
Jerold S. Auerbach is the author, most recently, of “Against the Grain: A Historian’s Journey,” published by Quid Pro Books.