Beyond the Cusp

February 9, 2014

Israel as the State of the Jewish People

One of the major hurdles that are causing an impasse in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been the demand for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the State for the Jewish People. Under Islamic law, Sharia, any land that was once under Muslim rule must never fall under other than Muslim rule and if it should then forcing a reversion back under Muslim rule becomes an imperative for the entirety of Islam. But this tenet of Islam is only the excuse behind the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish State; their real motivations are simply the destruction of Israel as being Jewish and that is the driving force behind their refusal. The refusal by the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish nature of Israel is actually a secondary problem facing those who insist that Israel be defined as a democratic Jewish state. Their major difficulty is the secular Jews who do not view Israel as Jewish but simply desire that Israel be defined as a multiethnic pluralistic democratic state and to simply ignore any reference to the Jewishness of the majority of the citizens of Israel. Many of these Jews are simply secularists who happen to have been born of Jewish parents but who do not follow the commandments and traditions of the Jewish faith to a greater degree.

                          

This situation is far more than just a bothersome and tedious argument between the religious and/or Zionist sectors of Israeli society with the secular, post-Zionist sector of Israeli society; it is a struggle for the heart and soul of Israel as to whether or not it will be justifiably defined as the Jewish State. This dispute over how to define the nation of Israel has become more heated over the last couple of decades as more and more Israeli Jews are returning to their faith and roots and the study of Torah has become more mainstream. The original large majority held by the secular and often socialist Zionists who held the controlling hand in the formation of the governance after Israel was founded in 1948 has seen their majority dwindle away until they are facing the fact that Israel has become increasingly religious and Zionist. This is taken as a direct threat to the comfort of those who purport that the government should be purely secular and that in order for Israel to be considered a partner in what they see as the civilized world, they hold dearly to the principle that there must be a separation of the state from any religious influences. Unfortunately, their belief that there should be no religious influence on the government does not hold in the other direction, they also hold the opinion that the state should have the final say and ability to overrule and control the functions of religion within the society. Needless to say, they see absolutely no discrepancies in holding these two opposing views as they view religious observance and religious influences on the nation and the society as a detrimental effect fraught with superstitions and antiquated ideas and ideals. Their actions reflect a trepidation that the growing influence of religious ideas and ideals into Israeli society might rub off on them and corrupt their pure core concepts of good governance and its need to be completely removed and independent of the evil influences of religious principles, especially Jewish religious principles, as their fear is that the society will favor Jews over non-Jewish citizens. Much of this unwarranted fear stems from their lack of understanding of Jewish laws, traditions and the importance it places on equal treatment with an emphasis on equality before the law.

 

Any competent and complete study of Jewish law, Torah, reveals commandments that Jewish society is required to treat the stranger no differently that it treats another Jew. The stranger amongst the Jewish People has the same rights and actually a few additional rights stemming from not having to fulfill certain religious duties which a Jew is expected to fulfill. The stranger has every secular right that a Jew is allowed and is to be treated fairly by the courts, allowed security in their possessions, respect given their religious practices providing such does not cause Jews to break any commandments or violate the Noahic Code, and generally see no difference in any legal pursuit or action. These secularists also refuse to acknowledge that it was from Jewish societal laws that much of modern western civilized laws are based. This is even more true when one refers to the founding basis of the United States and its laws of governance and rights granted the people. It is also the basis for why in the United States any legal immigrant has near equal rights and responsibilities as an American citizen enjoys or is obligated. The ideas and ideals of a limited government comes from Torah which insists that any King of the Jewish People is forbidden from acquiring great wealth, horses, cattle, lands or other trappings of advantage or benefit over the peoples that they rule. Needless to say, these laws worked as well as the United States Constitution has limited the rise and overpowering of the Federal Government trampling over the individual States’ rights and powers. Any ruler of the Jewish People is also directed to spend inordinate amounts of time studying Torah so that they will be familiar with its restrictions and follow the law in an exemplary manner as an example for the population to also act according to Torah and keep the commandments. The secularists by attempting to reduce, if not eliminate, any religious influence over Israeli governance and also impede those who have strong religious beliefs from attaining high office, especially in the judiciary, are actually going against Torah and its guidelines of equality and acceptance of others who have different beliefs.

 

There have been some notable instances recently which exemplify this struggle for the heart and soul of Israel. Not the least has been the arguments over how to include the Haredi in the mandatory induction of youth into the IDF or National Service. Despite his campaigning as a pro-Zionist, pro-settler and renunciation of his father’s animosity of the religious, Yair Lapid has recently made numerous statements of positions which are diametrically opposed to his campaign promises. Just as his father before him, Yair Lapid has shown contempt for the Haredi and spoken out against dedicated Torah study as an unnecessary and wasteful endeavor which has little place or service of the nation of Israel. His most recent rant declared that his Yesh Atid Party would leave the government, presumably forcing new elections, if any new enlistment law covering the Haredi youth did not include sentencing them to incarceration and not simply calling for a fine or loss of government benefits. Any law which called for a loss of government benefits on any Haredi refusing a lawful draft would actually be even worse than a jail term as it would preclude their ability to study Torah full-time, the argument at the core of this debate. The Supreme Court declared the Tal Law unconstitutional voiding it thus removing the automatic deferment for anybody who studied Torah full-time in a structured arrangement from IDF or National Service. The Tal Law had been in effect since the formation of the State of Israel in 1948 and had just recently been challenged by leftist organization on the grounds that it was discriminatory. I am unaware of any people other than Haredi who had attempted to utilize the Tal Law to gain deferment from service on the grounds of full-time Torah study but if such were permitted then the law was not discriminatory. The leftists claimed that the law discriminated against secular Jews and non-Jews unfairly but since nobody from either group ever attempted to have the Tal Law applied to them, there is no case of it being denied to any other than Haredi draft age youth. Perhaps there is the solution to drafting a replacement law for the Tal Law, simply pass a new Tal Law that is worded almost exactly the same but include specific guidelines which make the law applicable to anybody who desires to take up full time Torah study in a structured environment. By allowing such a deferment to go to any citizen of draft age would remove any discriminatory application. It might be necessitated that an additional allowance be included determining that Haredi Torah schools be opened to other than Haredi who desire to study Torah full time. I would hope that the Haredi would welcome the additional interest in Torah study and willingly allow such applications and look upon them favorably.

 

Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid has also taken a pro-two state peace plan position which is diametrically opposed to his campaign statements of support for those communities east of the 1949 Armistice Lines, the Green Line. He has praised United States Secretary of State Kerry and Israeli Justice Minister and lead negotiator Tzipi Livni on their efforts to forge a solution which will be tailored such that Mahmoud Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership will approve and sign said agreement. Yair Lapid has made statements degrading and ridiculing Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party, the same man with whom an agreement was reached that either both or neither would join the coalition and also agreed to back the Jewish residents beyond the green line and fully support a Zionist agenda. I wish I could say that this contemptible reversal by Minister Lapid is surprising but he appears to be following and walking in the exact same footprints as his father, Tommy Lapid, walked in his brief political career. Just like Tommy Lapid and his Shinui Party, Yair Lapid is leading his party in a path that castigates the Haredi community and compromises a true Zionist view for the rights of the State and people of Israel. The polls have reflected this similarity as his father’s party entered the Knesset with six seats in its first election and failed ever after from returning and Lair’s party had an impressive nineteen seats in his first elections and polls have shown a steadily decreasing strength over time to where they are indicating that the Yesh Atid Party would only receive half that number if elections were held today. One can expect that number to continue to dwindle if Yair continues to fall away from his campaign promises and aligns further to the left and post-Zionist positions.

 

The erosion of support for Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid Party is further proof that the people of Israel are returning to their religious roots and supporting a Zionist settling of all the lands of Israel and departing the leftist, socialist roots that ruled supreme for over fifty years after the founding of Israel. Where this will eventually lead has yet to be made clear. The optimistic side tells me that we will not need wait too much longer before we witness a change in the direction and attitudes of those who decide the path that the governance of Israel will take. The “old guard” will soon be replaced by a younger generation who appear to be less restrained in their enthusiasm and display an enviable level of energy and vigor. The future appears promising providing Israel can survive the remaining years of trial by fire and onslaught of an orchestrated drive to eradicate the Jewishness of Israel. Much of this has been aided by the absence of the full and unbridled support from the administration in Washington.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

    Comment by OyiaBrown — February 9, 2014 @ 4:53 AM | Reply


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