Israel and judaism

Sharing the Wisdom of My Last Paragraphs on Israel

Different nations have, or are presumed to have, specific characters and characteristics.  We all “know” that the Scottish are averse to spending money, that people of Irish descent love to drink and to fight, that French are romantic, that Israelis are arrogant and so on and on.  Different nations have personified images.  We all are…

Between Yesterday And Today

An Israeli story Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creep in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death.                                            Macbeth Clearing my bookshelves from items which I’ll no longer need, I randomly came upon two clippings that…

From Mystical Experiences To West Bank Atrocities

Introduction Clearing my bookshelves from a mass of newspaper and magazine clippings, I came upon a paper I read once on the mystical teaching of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. Unlike most rabbis who rejected the secular Zionists aspiration to establish a state (believing that it should be built only by divine intervention) he believed that,…

A Paradox Named Israel

The state of Israel will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets and will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex.                                                                    
                                                                         (From the Israeli Declaration of Independence) 
Considering all the new states that emerged during the last century, Israel is probably the most difficult and problematic in any attempt to find a fitting definition that will signify and characterize its nature.  It is a sovereign state, but has no borders.  It claims Jerusalem as a Capital but the city is not recognized as such by any other state.  It came to being as a Jewish state because it was declared thus by the United Nations, but the entity that established it and existed at the time of the declaration had little, if anything, in common with what Israel considers Jewish.  It also is a champion in violating the decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council.  It claims that its right to exist is enhanced because of the fate of the Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, but at the same time it neglects the few survivors from the Extermination Camps who are still alive.  It asserts that it has a right to exist as a Jewish state because of the history of oppression and persecution the Jews suffered during many generations, but does the same to the Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank.  It claims to be a democracy but its laws, especially those enacted in the last years, closely resemble the discriminating laws of Nazi Germany.  It bases its subsistence upon a strong army but essentially it has lost every war since 1973.  Its army specialized in and is good mainly for fighting stones-throwing kids while its masked soldiers break every single night into Palestinian homes and bully the sleeping families, especially the young.[1]  The acknowledged identity and prestige of its citizens is based upon army service, but it supports and sustains hundreds of thousands yeshiva students who do not serve.  It also does not draft Arabs even though they form about 20% of the population.  It boasts a somewhat Spartan-like mode of existence but the legacy that still affects our life even today, is that of ancient Athens, while what we remember from Sparta is mainly the enslavement and oppression of the Helots.  Israel establishes its commonality, at least that of the Jewish population, upon Jewish derivation but because it legally defines Judaism according to the Orthodox definition, a large fraction of the population doesn’t fit into that category and ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t even consider themselves denizens of a Jewish state.  It cannot claim ethnic commonality as ethnically Israelis belong to many different  extractions.  Can Israel fit into any definition?  I think that it’s possible if we look at it not so much in terms of a political entity but rather as an interesting, in some respects even exciting, social experiment.

Writing The Second Volume Of The Bible

The state of Israel came into being on May 14, 1948. David Ben Gurion was the father and its first Prime Minister. He read a Declaration and after 2000 years a new baby state saw the light of the day. The old state lasted about 1000 years and produced a Bible and a baby religion. The baby religion attached the Hebrew Scripture to its own Bible and together they have had an immense influence upon the whole Christian world. The natural question is: what will the new state produce?