February 24, 2019


Mourning for Religious-Zionism (Shayna Abramson, FEB 22, 2019, Times of Israel)

I've wanted to write about the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) - Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) deal for a while now, but I don't know what to say. I am struck, over and over, by the verse from the scroll of Lamentations, which mourns Babylon's expulsion of the Jews from the land of Israel: "About these I weep; my eyes drip water, for a comforter, a restorer of my soul, is far from me -- my children are desolate, for the enemy has become strong."

It is no wonder that this verse is stuck in my head, because I am in mourning for the Religious-Zionist project, and nobody can say anything to comfort me. The enemy -- the temptation of immorality -- has become strong, but so too, the enemy -- the "other side" in this conflict has become strong, if they can drive us to give up on our own morality.

I don't mean to sound like a religious fanatic, but to me, this is a religious issue. I believe it is a violation of Judaism to support a party that seeks to oppress people as part of its platform -- as Otzma Yehudit does, as reflected in its policy towards Palestinians. So when I see a party that claims to be a representative of Religious-Zionism make a deal with that party, I become upset not as a left-wing humanist, but as a religious Jew. I think if the Religious-Zionist mainstream is ready to make a deal with such a party, we can honestly say that Religious-Zionism has failed -- at least, if we assume that the goal of Religious-Zionism is to create some sort of moral state, or to serve as a redemptive (and therefore, by definition: moral) project for the Jewish people.

It hardly seems fair to condemn Bibi now for accepting his party's founding objective.

Posted by at February 24, 2019 9:53 AM