Israel Palestine Infos
November 27, 2010
The Original Sin
A FRIEND of mine in
For this Pole, Jews are
people who wear a long black kaftan and a big black hat. In almost every
souvenir shop in
This distinction between
Israelis and Jews would not have surprised any of us 50 years ago. Before the
foundation of the State of
IN SCHOOL we acquired an ardent love for the country, the language and the Bible (which we considered the classic book of Hebrew literature.) We learned to regard with disdain - if not worse - Jewish life in the Diaspora. (All this, of course, before the Holocaust.)
In 1933 I lived for half a year in Nahalal, the legendary communal village. Seeing it for the first time, I marveled at the communal hall building, the milk processing plant and the large agricultural school for girls (in which Moshe Dayan was the only male pupil). Out of curiosity I asked about the synagogue and was shown a ramshackle wooden hut. “That’s for the old ones,” one of the local boys told me pityingly.
One cannot understand what happened since then without knowing that in those days almost everyone believed that the Jewish religion was about to disappear, together with the Yiddish-speaking old people who still stuck to it. Poor geezers. If somebody had predicted that the Jewish religion would dominate the future state, people would have laughed.
ZIONISM WAS, among other
things, a rebellion against the Jewish religion. It was born in sin – the sin of
secular nationalism, which had swept through
Zionism rebelled against the Halakha (religious law) which forbade Jews to “ascend” to the holy country en masse. According to the religious myth, God exiled the Jews from the country in retribution for their sins, and only God had the right to bring them back. Because of this, practically all the important rabbis – both the Hassidim and their opponents - cursed the founders of Zionism. (Needless to say, these curses – some of them very juicy ones – do not appear in Israeli schoolbooks.)
Before all the international inquiries preceding the establishment of the state, delegations of Orthodox Jews appeared in order to oppose the Zionist delegations.
But David Ben-Gurion, who refused to wear a kippah even at funerals (where most atheists do wear kippahs as a gesture towards the beliefs of others) thought that it was worthwhile to get the Orthodox to join his government coalition. Therefore he promised them to free a few hundred Yeshiva (religious seminary) students from military duty and to pay for their studies and upkeep, so that they would not be obliged to work for a living.
The consequences were unexpected. That little gesture has grown to monstrous proportions. Today one could man several army divisions with those shirkers from army duty. They now constitute 13% of the entire yearly crop of those liable to the draft. Moreover, 65% of all Orthodox male citizens do not work at all and live on the public purse.
The situation is absurd: the state is paying for the upkeep of a large and growing population of Torah-shielded parasites, who undermine the state. The state pays hundreds of thousands of young religious people in order to keep them from – God forbid – working. It pays them generous subsidies so they can produce more and more children (from 5 to 15 per family) most of whom will also neither work nor serve in the army. One can calculate exactly when the economy will collapse, together with the welfare-state and the “citizens’ army” based on conscription.
The whole phenomenon is
an authentic Israeli invention. All over the world, Orthodox Jews do work like
everyone else. During one of our visits to
This experience had an
amusing side. We were both wearing an emblem with the flags of
“The flag of
“No, the other one!” the man insisted.
“The flag of
The man turned and spat on the floor, exclaiming loudly “Tfoo, tfoo! Tfoo!”
THE ORTHODOX camp in
The Sephardi religious tradition has always been far more tolerant that the Ashkenazi one. It includes the teachings of geniuses like Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), the personal physician of the great Saladin. Maimonides forbade religious students to make a living from their studies and ordered them to go out and work. The Sephardis have their own traditions, garments and symbols.
But lo and behold, upon
Last week, a miracle occurred. A Sephardic Rabbi, Haim Amsalem, rebelled against Rabbi Ovadia and his party, demanding a return to the Sephardic traditions of tolerance. He was promptly excommunicated.
IN THE early days of the state, the Orthodox Ashkenazis, though extreme in their religious beliefs, were moderate in national affairs. Not only did they not celebrate the Independence Day of the Zionist state or salute the flag of the Zionist heretics, but they also obstructed the nationalist adventures of David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres. Later they opposed the annexation of the occupied territories – not because of any excessive love for peace or the Palestinians, but because of the Halakhic ruling that forbids the provocation of the Goyim, because it could cause harm to the Jews.
When the Orthodox set up
settlements, they did not do so with any ideological fervor, but solely because
of the need to find housing for their ever-growing numbers of offspring. The
government gave them cheap land only beyond the Green Line. Nowadays, the
largest settlements are Orthodox – Beitar Illit, Immanuel and Modi’in Illit –
the last of which is located on land stolen from the Arab
WHEREAS THE large religious camp opposed the new Zionist movement, a religious splinter group supported it. In the religious camp they were a small minority. Between the two sides, ardent hatred was the rule.
Thanks to the massive
support of the Zionist leadership, the “national-religious” camp grew in
This would not be so terrible if the two opposing religious factions neutralized each other, as was indeed the case 50 years ago. But since then, the opposite has happened. The national-religious have become more and more extreme on the religious level, and the Orthodox more and more extreme on the nationalist level. The two factions are very close to each other today and together constitute an Orthodox-national-religious bloc.
The youngsters of the
national-religious faction despise the lukewarm religiosity of their fathers and
admire the robust religiosity of the Orthodox. The youngsters of the Orthodox
faction are seduced by the nationalist melody, unlike their fathers, for whom
The union of the two
factions is based on the essence of the Jewish religion, as fostered in
There are now three religious educational systems – the national-religious, the “independent” one of the Orthodox, and “el-Hama’ayan (“to the source”) of Shas. All three are financed by the state at least 100%, if not much more. The differences between them are small, compared to their similarities. All teach their pupils the history of the Jewish people only (based, of course, on the religious myths), nothing about the history of the world, of other peoples, not to mention other religions. The Koran and the New Testament are the kernel of evil and not to be touched.
The typical alumni of these systems know that the Jews are the chosen (and vastly superior) people, that all Goyim are vicious anti-Semites, that God promised us this country and that no one else has a right to one square inch of its land. The natural conclusion is that the “foreigners” (meaning the Arabs, who have been living here for 13 centuries at least) must be expelled - unless this would endanger the Jews.
From this point of view, there is no longer any difference between the Orthodox and the national-religious, between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Seeing the “youth of the hills”, who terrorize Arabs in the occupied territories, on screen, one cannot distinguish among them anymore – not by their dress, not by their body language, not by their slogans.
The source of all this
evil is, of course, the original sin of the State of