Monday, December 05, 2005

Why I am not a Religious Zionist (dati leumi)

Dear Friends,

This is my first post on this blog, and also the first one in a series on Zionism.

1. What is Religious Zionism?

As a reaction to secular Zionism, which was basically the Jewish version of 19th century nationalism, Religious Zionism emerged. The essential idea is to find religious justifications for secular nationalism. By reclaiming the Holy Land as defined by the Torah. The state to be created would by run on Halacha, Jewish religious law, or rather the Religious Zionists' understanding thereof. Through all this, the coming of Moshiach would be hastened.

2. Practical Implications

The forethinker of Religious Zionism, R. Kook, wanted his state to have male vote only, forbid or limit the right to land ownership and even the mere presence of non-Jews. If any of my dear readers wonders what this kind of state would be like, I recommend them to visit the Islamic "Republic" of Iran. There you have the state inforce things like religious dress rules for women. You also risk penal sanctions for playing music with female voices in it.

3. Criticism

Human rights come first and must absolutely be respected. If any extremists are reading this blog and disagree with my statement, let me cite the Talmud: "Kavod haBrios doche lo saasei she beTorah". Considering this, what about a state based on Torah law, with the limitation that it would respct human rights? Well, sorry, but that's antithetical to the Jewish concept of free choice. Even if the state enforces only laws that don't limit one's human rights, it takes away your free choice. And it would, at least in the RZ view of Halacha, create permanent inequality between citizens. One more fundamental point is yet to be mentioned: How do we know that state would bring Moshiach? We don't. It's just a claim they make. Can we predict future? I don't think so.

4. Religious Zionism today

Apart from Meimad, a small Avoda-aligned movement which sees the state as divine grace, but agrees with disengagement and doesn't want to force religion on people, most movements that have roots in Religious Zionism or who consider themselves to be Religious Zionists, joined the "Orange" movement against disengagement from the occupied Gaza area. They ignored that one should always do what saves Jewish lives (pikuach nefesh), except if that would mean to commit murder, idolatry or incest. For them, the country seems to be so important that they're willing to continue having Jews die because there is no peace, in spite of Torah. Some of the most extreme Religious Zionists have even gone as far as murdering, Yigar Amir y'sh killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin z''l and Eden Natan Zada y''sh murdered some Arabs during the recent disengagement from Gaza. Some individuals I talked to couldn't find anything wrong with these murders, and almost all Religious Zionists I asked favor ethnic cleansing, the forced deportation of Arabs from the Israel and occupied territories to Arab countries such as Jordan.


At 7:48 PM, December 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jewropean,

I hope you will enjoy blogging. I am no Religious Zionist either and find your thinking interesting - I belong to a different direction altogether.


At 8:00 PM, December 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club, dear Jewropean, I'm looking forward to learn more about your life philosophy and your way of life. Vered

At 11:31 AM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Hayim said...

Good luck for your new blog... I'll try to keep an eye on it!

At 2:29 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Chajm said...

I'll try to answer in english :-)

As far as I know, there is no religious reason to "remove" arabs from Eretz Yisrael because the torah only speaks about seven nations living there when the bnej yisrael came into the land. Mischnah Torah: Yad Hachazakah 15:4... So, the torah doesn't talk about "ethnic cleansing".
- Be religous OK (some stream of judaism)
- Be a zionist OK
- Be a Zionist who is observant: fantstic
but Religious zionism... don't know...

At 5:26 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger The Jewropean said...

Hi Chajm,

Actually I completely agree with you. But the actual reason they mention for the "population transfer", ie ethnic cleansing is that they say Goyim have to pledge on respecting mitzvos Bris Noach and Jewish rule over the land. And since they want a Palestinian state, they would have to be removed.

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