Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Israel’s New Pioneers and Dreamers - Book Review

Yossi Klien Halevi, Like Dreamers. New York: Harper, 2013.

The Six Days War (1967) represents a turning point in Israeli utopias. The founding Israeli ethos was to establish a perfect egalitarian society. After the war, a new utopia moved forwards based on territory and holy sites. Two movements stood as the carriers of these visions  – the Kibbutz and Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful). One replaced the other: while the Kibbutz was declining the settlement movement in the West-Bank was rising.

Like Dreamers by the journalist Yossi Klien Halevi masterly portraits this transformation. Halevi examined the life of seven young men of Brigade 55 of the Paratroopers’ Battalion who were called for reserve duty in May 1967, before the outbreak of the war, and served their county for five decades. All these men were determined to mark a change on Israel, and they all succeeded in their task.   However, time changed them as well. Over the years, their goals were transformed, and their actions took them to new and even surprising places. The Kibbuznik Arik Achmon of Netzer Sereni became one of Israel’s top capitalists; the singer-poet Meir Ariel from Kibbutz Mishmarot turned religious; Avital Geva from the Kibbutz Ein Shemenr became a leading conceptual artist and one of the founders of Peace Now; Udi Adiv from Kibbutz Gan Shmuel was engaged in treason and gave military secrets to the Syrian intelligence. From the religious Zionists paratroopers, rabbi Yoel Bin Nun established Gush Emunim together with Hanan Porat; Yisrael Harel has transformed a vision of greater Israel into a vibrant movement that left marks on Israel’s landscape.
From historical perspective, the remarkable rise of religious-Zionism as Israel’s leading pioneering movement came as a surprise, and Yossi Klien Halevi traces its growth in depth. Religious Zionist youth in the early days of Israel suffered inferiority complexes. They didn’t fit the Zionist socialist secular ethos and they did not take part in the ultra-Orthodox scholarly community. The Israeli victory in 1967 allowed the Bnei Akiva youth movement graduates to become leaders.

Yoel Bib-Nun and Hanan Porat were graduates of Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and they believed that the rise of Zionism represents the first steps of a messianic process. The smashing victory in the war, and the occupation of the biblical heartland of Israel, promoted this view. The devastating results of the Yom Kippur war (1973) brought forward the idea of building a massive settlement movement in the territories, and religious Zionist youth played major roles in that emerging power. Settlements were created in order to declare Jewish ownership on the land, and not to allow any government to trade “land for peace.” From the first settlement in Sebastia (1974), all Israeli governments were “coerced” by determined pioneers, motivated by messianic zeal, and almost nothing could stop them.  Some governments opposed the settlers, some embraced them. The fact of the matter is that today, there are about 350,000 Jews living in settlements in the Judea and Samaria. The dream of Greater Israel has turned into hardcore reality. One of the strengths of the book is in the clear portrait of how the settlement movement was created and rose.

In 1990’s the settlers had to face one of their crucial moments. Itzhak Rabin, the head of the Labor Party, was elected as Prime minister in 1992, and a year later he signed a peace agreement with the PLO, based on Land for Peace resolution. The settlers responded with massive demonstrations, and on the margins, even violence. One of the interesting discussions in the book was over the events that brought Yoel Bin Nun into the margins of the settler’s community. During Rabin’s tenure, Yoel Bin-Nun was able to develop direct relationship with the Prime Minister. It was because Bib-Nun had changed his mind. Halevi writes: “The search for political realism and consensus was, for Yoel, a theological imperative. That was the audacity of Yoel’s new theology: political pragmatism as precondition for redemption” (p. 449).  Bib-Nun was willing to give up the vision of greater Israel. He came up with a plan to divide the territories into Jewish and Arab cantons: Jews would vote in Israeli elections, Arabs in Jordanian election. Rabin was willing to listen, and Bib-Nun became the only settler who had access to him. However, the situation dramatically changed when on November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, an Orthodox Jew and supporter of the settlements. Amir told in his arrest hearing that he was motivated to kill Rabin by a certain rabbinical ruling that sentenced him as a rodef – a pursuer, and according to the Halacha, rodef’s sentence is death. 
A few days after the assassination an “Assembly of Self-Reckoning” took place by religious-Zionist rabbis. When Bin-Nun approached the podium, he couldn’t control his emotions and he threatened to give to the police the names of rabbis who supported the assassination. As a result of his speech, the Israeli Police started interrogating rabbis for incitement, and the settler’s community got united behind their rabbis. Yoel Bin-Nun’s life in Ofra became unbearable, he received death threats and he even needed body-guards to escort him for his daily prayers in the synagogue. He had to leave Ofra, and he moved to Kfar Etzion, where the community was less fanatic. The founder of the settlement movement was treated as a rodef, hence excommunicated.

Like Dreamers explore also the decline of the Kibbutz movement. Of four individuals discussed in the book, only one, Avital Geva, actually remained Kibbutznik while all the rest left. The book explains in length the inability of the kibbutz system to reform, faced with economical and ideological challenges. The pro-communist leaning of the kibbutzim caused them a severe blow, when the Soviet Union decided to support the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The kibbutzim also were unable to develop the talents of their members, something that also caused frustrations and eventually many defections.

The best example of these challenges presented in the book is in the story of poet-singer Meir Ariel. Ariel is a well know figure in Israel, arguably one of Israel’s best poet-singers, sometimes he is also being referred as Israel’s “Bob Dylan.”  After he died in 1999, the Israeli postal service issued a stamp in his honor. 
Ariel was born in Kibbutz Mishmarot in 1942. The kibbutz had a strong socialist lean but Ariel rebelled against all indoctrinations, and his poetry always symbolized a request for normalcy. Ariel used to work during the days in the cotton fields of the kibbutz; at nights he was leading a musical and cultural revolution, when he started playing in a new style (rock), singing about relationships and love rather than national myths.
During the 1980’s Ariel discovered God. During the Lebanon War of 1982, while he was recruited to military reserves, he met a newly observant Chabad Hassid who introduced him to Kaballah. After the war, Ariel’s wife, Tirza, got into an argument with Mishmarot’s leadership over her work placement, and she decided to leave. Meir followed her, and they moved to Tel-Aviv, where his interest in Judaism grew stronger. But what did it mean? Ariel tried to explain: “One day I realized that I can’t circumcise my son and marry [in a religious ceremony] and celebrate holidays without understanding what it’s all about. I believe in God, I believe that the Torah is the true version of existence, to the formation of the world.” Ariel, however, was unwilling to institutionalize his beliefs. He said: “My faith in God is entirely personal and I don’t feel any need to join any camp.” (p. 436)

Is it the irony of history that Ariel turned religious? How could one of the most notable sons of the socialist Kibbutz movement discover God? Actually, Ariel was not alone in his search for spirituality.  There is a growing trend in Israeli secular society of curiosity toward the Jewish bookshelf, together with a growing New Age movement. It doesn’t mean that more Israelis are turning Orthodox; it means that many feel emptiness regarding their heritage, and their secular egalitarian Israeli ethos cannot fill their needs. Ariel was one of the harbingers of this trend.   

Like Dreamers  is an excellent read. It offers interesting narratives that tell the story of modern Israel after 1967. Although it is written in a non-academic style, it offers deep insights into the Israeli society. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

American Evangelical Movement’s Atitude toward Israeli Territorial Compromises

 During the last century, many American evangelicals developed a very supportive attitude toward the State of Israel. For them, the success of Zionism, the territorial expansions of 1967, and, especially, the capture of the Temple Mount, were understood as a sign of the imminent return of Christ. Therefore, would Israeli withdrawals from territories caputered in the war produce a religious dilemma to that movement?

In the United States in the mid-twentieth century, evangelism emerged from the fundamentalist controversy. The fundamentalists condemned the modernists for denying fundamental Christian beliefs and for rejecting the Christian faith. The debate was about the level of acceptance of modern scientific discoveries and the level of acceptance of academic biblical criticism.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the evangelical movement greatly expanded. In 1979, Evangelicals emerged as a considerable force in American political life with the formation of the Moral Majority. This coalition of conservative forces, led by Jerry Falwell, benefited from his television ministry. Currently, Evangelical Christianity is the largest of all religious movements in the United States. [i]

The interest that fundamentalist and evangelist Protestants exhibit in Jews and in the concept of the return to Zion, as well as their support of modern-day Zionism, is deeply rooted in Christian millenarian beliefs regarding the second coming of Christ and the establishment of a thousand-year kingdom of God on earth.

From the mid-nineteenth century, messianic concepts began to penetrate Protestant denominations in the United States; by the end of the century, millenarianism had taken root among the more fundamentalist groupings of American Protestantism. A major school of thought in Fundametalism is Dispensationalism, which maintains that events connected with the End Times have not yet begun, but they are imminant.  

American fundamentalists put major emphasis on Biblical prophecy analysis and they look for clues in contemporary events to support their theory that the end of days draw near. the creation of the state of Israel plays a major role in their end-time scenario, and especcially Israeli expension to its biblical borders and the conquering of the Temple Mount. Therefore, it would be interesting to examine their attitude to “Land for Peace” solutions which might include a compromise in the Temple Mount. Would they oppose a political solution?

In order to answer these questions, this lecture will discuss the teachings of Hal Lindsey, a major evangelical pastor. He leads a megachurche, and he masters the media with his own radio, internet, and television shows.


Lindsey was born in 1929 in Houston, Texas, served in the Korea War, and acquired his religious education at the Theological Seminary in Dallas. In 1969, he wrote his best-known book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold over 15 million copies and transformed its author into an important and central figure.

I have chosen to focus on the Lindsey’s thought because of the extensive attention he devotes in his works to the Jewish question and the role of the State of Israel for contemporary Christianity. Lindsey can certainly be considered one of the most prominent advocates of Christian Zionism.

This lecture focuses on two essays written by Lindsey written in different times and analyzes the narrative they present regarding his attitude toward the Jews and the State of Israel. We begin with Lindsey’s most famous book. The Late Great Planet hearth from 1969.

In his book Lindsey attaches unique importance to the establishment of the State of Israel and the conquest of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in the Six Day War (1967). He views the survival of the Jewish people as an exceptional phenomenon, particularly given their history of persecution and distress. He believes that the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel is an event predicted in the Biblical prophecies, and forms part of the realization of the messianic vision of Christ’s return and the end of history. The renewal of Jewish nationhood and the conquest of Jerusalem should lead to the building of the Temple on its historical site on the Temple Mount. These events must occur before Christ returns to establish his eternal kingdom and to convert the Jews.

Lindsey is aware of the presence of the Muslim mosque on the site of the ancient Temple, and recognizes that this mosque is of great importance to Islam. His response is vague: “Obstacle or no obstacle, it is certain that the Temple will be rebuilt. Prophecy demands it.”

According to Lindsey, the sacrifices must be reinstated in the Temple. At the same time, a prince will emerge in Rome and form a peaceful alliance with the Jews; he will become the leader of the Western world. This leader must then break the alliance and desecrate the Temple, an event that precedes the countdown of seven years of Great Tribulations preceding the return of the King Messiah. Interestingly, the role of the antichrist in Lindsey’s description is not filled by the Jew, as is customary in early dispensationalist literature.

Lindsey predicts the conflict in the Middle East will continue to deteriorate until it threatens the entire world. He claims that international forces are already beginning to prepare for a world war. After the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, a world war will erupt as prophesied by the Book or Revelation. Forces from across the world will attack the State of Israel. These forces will meet in Armageddon – the Valley of Megiddo – for a war that will reach the gates of Jerusalem. This is the final apocalyptic war, leading to the End of Days.

Just as humanity realizes that it is facing extinction because of the war, Jesus will appear to save it from self-destruction. When he returns, he will rule the world, and a period of 1,000 years will ensue, after which a further rebellion against his leadership will be crushed. Thereafter, Lindsey conclues, human history will change and there will no longer be such a concept as humanity without faith (secularism).

We see that the narrative of this book reflects the function of the establishment of the State of Israel as a catalyst for messianic expectations. The most significant event in this respect is the outcome of the 1967 War and the return of Jerusalem to Jewish rule. Lindsey’s literal interpretation of the Biblical prophecies regarding the End of Days led him to anticipate apocalyptic events in Jerusalem, including the rebuilding of the Temple on its original site. Some of his preditictions in the book went unmet, mostly his forcast that Jesus would return by 1988. It gave a strong blow to his reputation.

In 1994 he published another book, Will Mankind survive, where he revised his theories. In that book, Lindsey painted a highly pessimistic picture of the current generation. The American nation is in a state of decline, with a war of values that threatens to undermine America and the rule of law. Examples of this process, he claims, including the deterioration of public education, the granting of rights to gays and lesbians, and antireligious indoctrination in educational curricula.

Lindsey identifies multiple signs of the impending End: Natural disasters such as earthquakes; the spread of diseases such as AIDS; the global depression; the new world order and the rise of global governments such as the European Union, which was emerging at the time; and, also visits to earth by creatures from outer space, whom he identifies as demons exiled from heaven. According to the statement in Scriptures, before the believers are raptured up to heaven, evil will be expelled.

 Lindsey’s study of the Book of Daniel convinced him that the conquest of Jerusalem in 1967 may be of greater prophetic significance than the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

From his eschatological forecasts, Lindsey moves on to the question of land for peace. He presents collected data describing the process of armament of the Arab states, and notes that despite the objective dangers, Israel agreed to forego territory in the Gaza Strip and Jericho, and is discussing the return of additional territory.

Lindsey argues that although God protects Israel, the leaders of the country should still be concerned about the future. Apart from the fact that Israeli is a small island in a sea of hostility, a study of the Biblical prophecies shows that an apocalyptic war will soon erupt before the return of the redeemer.

After nuclear bombs were used against Japan, Lindsey claims it may be assumed that the mass annihilation described in the Scriptures was a prelude to the redemption of the world and will come in the form of a nuclear war. Unconventional weapons are now held by countries he describes as “insane,” such as Libya, Iraq, and North Korea.

During the Yom Kippur (1973) War, Lindsey notes that Israel was caught unaware and almost defeated on the battlefield. At the time, Israel began to threaten “Operation Samson,” which was the use of atomic weapons that would destroy the Arab nations, yet at the same time also destroy Israel. Lindsey concludes that a nuclear scenario is not unreasonable.

“Land for peace” is an international slogan that led Israel to relinquish territory to Yasser Arafat, its mortal enemy, According to Lindsey. However, Israel needs these territories as a buffer zone enhancing its security and enabling it to overcome its numerical inferiority. Accordingly, he concluded that any return of territory constitutes an existential threat to the State of Israel if it is attacked by the Arab armies. In this case, the “Samson scenario” will become very real. Does the world want Israel to rely solely on its nuclear strength? This, Lindsey argues, is the apparent conclusion being drawn in the Middle East. Lindsey opposes such a development and warns against it.

If, Lindsey argues, after making territorial concessions, Israel is subjected to an attack by the Arab armies with their numerical advantage in war including the use of tanks, artillery, and surface-to-surface missiles it will have only one option: a nuclear offensive. Accordingly, Israel faces a choice: to launch a preemptive strike and face global condemnation or to wait for the Arab attack and respond with nuclear weapons in order to survive.

According to Lindsey, the Biblical prophecies predict an apocalyptic war, and in the nuclear era annihilation by means of unconventional weapons is a real possibility. From this perspective, an imminent nuclear war in the Middle East is a rational scenario. His analysis leads to a demand to awake and take action to prevent this pessimistic scenario.

An analysis of Lindsey’s theological approach raises a paradox. On the one hand, he anticipates a nuclear holocaust as a prelude to the return of Christ, an event for which he longs. On the other hand, he believes that the weakening of Israel through political agreements will lead to a nuclear war, because he does not believe that the Arab side desires peace, and the entire process is merely a tactical move designed to weaken Israel and facilitate its downfall. Accordingly, he argues, “land for peace” is a certain recipe for a nuclear war in the Middle East – the very war he eagerly awaits. Yet rather than aspiring to such a scenario, he opposes further Israeli withdrawals in order to hamper its realization. His position entails an inherent contradiction; he might rather have been expected to encourage war and chaos in the Middle East, as a key interest of those who desire the immediate return of Jesus, or, at the very least, to adopt a passive position regarding such a possibility.

Therefore, a question arises as to why Lindsey advocates an approach that seems contrary to his own interests. The answer lies in the Divine promise that those who are concerned for the well-being of the Jews will be blessed - I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you” (Genesis 12:2–3). For Lindsey, the blessing he enjoys by promoting the well-being of the Jews is apparently more important than the theoretical possibility that his redeemer will return through a bloody war in the Middle East, a possibility he seeks to prevent.

In his first book, Lindsey emphasized the importance of the Temple Mount in the realization of the Biblical prophecies. He returns to this theme in his book from 1994, albeit with some nuanced changes. Now, however, he quotes more moderate elements, such as Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who claim that the ascension of the Temple Mount should be the product of a process of popular spiritual uplifting, rather than the product of an act of violence such as blowing up the mosques on the site.

According to Lindsey, the End of Days events include the interruption of the rituals on the Temple Mount by the antichrist. As such, these rituals must first be resumed and a functional priesthood reinstated. However, these comments do not constitute support for active steps by individuals, and certainly not in a violent manner. Lindsey claims that a way must be found to rebuild the Temple without destroying the mosques on the Temple Mount, and without fueling religious tensions and wars. He even uses the term “fanatics” to describe those who attempted to blow up the mosques, such as the members of the Jewish Underground. He argues that the problem can only be resolved in a miraculous manner through Divine intervention.

The importance of Jerusalem to Lindsey is that he believes the city will be the arena for the events of the End of Days. Accordingly, in 1967, securing Jewish control of the city was a more important event than the establishment of the State of Israel in terms of the realization of the Biblical prophecies. This also explains why the city is the focus of international attention.

The issue of the Temple Mount illustrates Lindsey’s desire to avoid encouraging active steps to expedite the End of Days. He realizes that any attack against the mosques on the Temple Mount could lead to war and danger, and he clearly seeks to avoid such a possibility. Once again, we see a paradox, whereby he warns against any exacerbation of relations between Jews and Arabs, despite the fact that he views this development as an integral part of the End of Days. The question of the Temple Mount is arguably the most volatile issue in the relations between Israel and the Arab states, and the only remaining sign of the imminent return of Christ yet to appear. However, Lindsey considers it vital that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount remain under Jewish sovereignty, so that any territorial compromise in this area can be expected to arouse hostility and anger on his part.

In summarizing Lindsey’s theological approach, we can see that the Jewish resurgence in the Land of Israel is perceived as a tangible catalyst marking our period as that before the End of Days. The attempt to interpret the Biblical prophecies in a manner that suggests imminent redemption is the product of the Jewish success. Although Lindsey believes that these signs can be interpreted as the harbingers of imminent salvation, he does not believe this should lead to activism or to efforts to expedite the end. On political questions, Lindsey tends to prefer the passive approach.

Some substantial paradoxes may be seen in Lindsey’s approach. On the one hand, he anticipates that the Savior will return as the result of a nuclear war in the Middle East, yet on the other he is alarmed by the possibility of deterioration and escalation. He argues that returning territory to Muslim ownership as part of the political process is dangerous for Israel, because it will be obliged to use atomic weapons when the Arab plot is revealed; therefore, he opposes such compromises. He claims that the establishment of the Temple is the final stage that has yet to occur in the events preceding redemption, yet he opposes any activist steps in this respect. He regrets the decline of America and attempts to fight against this trend, yet he is aware that the Biblical prophecies relating to the End of Days leave America out of the picture.

Lindsey’s opposition to “land for peace” is the product of a political calculation, not a theological attachment to the Whole Land of Israel. This is not an absolute precondition from his perspective. The exception to this is the question of the status of Jerusalem. On this matter, according to his desired scenario, a number of events must occur on the Temple Mount and in the Third Temple that is due to be established. Accordingly, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem must remain under Jewish control.

In principle, Lindsey is not opposed to giving up land. However, he does not believe the Palestinians and believes that their apparent moderation is merely tactical, rather than strategic. He is concerned that compromises will weaken Israel and enable its enemies to act from within. However, he does not have any theological opposition to compromise. The question of the final status of Jerusalem, on the other hand, is certainly a substantive one. As such, on this matter no compromise seems possible, because key End of Days events must erupt on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem under Jewish control.

To sum, the evangelist stream, which was represented here by the approch of Hal Lindsey, does not show substantive opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state, provided this does not jeopardize the State of Israel. They show a flexible approach to the “land for peace” approach. However, for Chrisitan Zionists, Jerusalem consists a red line; on other topics they are more flexiable.

[i] According to Religious and Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, based on interviews with more than 35,000 American adults, 26.3 percent of U.S. adults belong to an evangelical church. http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Zionism, Bible, and the Messianic Crisis of the West Bank Settlements

This is a lecture I gave at Duke in September 2012:
In this lecture I would like to discuss the messianic trap that religious Zionism locked itself in, as the result of the 1967 Israeli victory and the occupation of the West Bank. I want to argue that this trap has a lot to do with the Zionist trend of “return to the Bible,” which was prominent in the early stages of Zionist development. The dramatic events that were associated with the success of Zionism, especially after the 1967 war, where Israel captured territories that are known as the Biblical heartland of the ancient Land of Israel, opened the door to an outburst of messianic speculations, but the following stage of messianic expectations involved disappointment and the possibility of prophetic failure.
Whereas secular and religious Zionists live in the same state, the state of Israel, speak the same language – Hebrew- and use the same national symbols, their understanding of those symbols differ. Therefore, the fascination that secular Zionism had in its early stages with the Bible, and the vocabulary of messianic language that it used to describe its actions, were understood differently by seculars and religious. This difference of opinion fuels divisions in the Israeli society and it has a major impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Secular Zionist spoke about their national enterprise as a realization of biblical myth, however their framework was universal and humanistic. Religious Zionism worked to fulfill the biblical myth with substance, with the blend of nationalism and religiosity.
The settlement enterprise that was initiated by mostly religious Zionist activists in the occupied territories after the 67 war, was created in order to join hands in what religious Zionism understood as God’s plans for salvation. However, there was an even more pressing need for this enterprise: it came in order to create facts on the ground and to prevent any possibility for territorial concessions, as part of a peace plan. And this is their trap – the religious Zionist activists locked themselves in a dogma, where Zionist territorial expansion is being viewed as a manifestation of God’s will for the redemption of his chosen people.  Would territorial retreats, as part of peace treaties, be understood as a messianic retreat? Can there be a setback from the predestinated process?
Before getting into my discussion on settlements, I would like to discuss the secular Zionist’ fascination with the Bible and about the Zionist messianic message.   Zionism is the modern Jewish national movement, and its early beginning dates from the late 19 century, as the result of rising anti-Semitism in East Europe and failure of Jewish assimilation in the republics of central Europe.
Zionism usually is being described as a rebellion against previous Jewish political and religious behavior. The pre-modern Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East were generally faith based and observant; they used to govern their life by the religious law; and they were passive to general politics, as long as it didn’t affect their own communities. Jews had self government in their own Shtetels.
Modernity was late to arrive to East Europe, where the Jewish masses used to live. The Zionist message was shockingly revolutionary, especially to the Jews of East Europe: it was a rebellion against political passivity, and a rebellion against Jewish exile with its observant way of life.
For the first time, according to the newly created Zionist movement, Jewish identity, was to be framed by nationality, and not by religion. Whereas the traditional Jewish model of self-identity involved keeping the Torah and its commandments, interoperated by the Oral Law,  the Zionist message aimed to present a more holistic model: a return to the motherland, a return to power, a return to a “healthy” way of life, a return to normality. These can all substitute for the religious law.
Although the Bible, and especially the five first books of the Torah, was sanctified in the Jewish tradition, it was the Talmud, the rabbinical oral law, that turned to be the most important text of rabbinic Judaism – the hallmark of religious studies in the Diaspora. The Talmud is a text that was written in its majority in Babylon after the second century AD., which was a Jewish Diaspora, and its context was of exile. Therefore, the Zionist rebellion was also a rebellion against the Talmud and its logic.
Zionist sense of superiority over the Jewish Diaspora was justified, in some ways, by the return to the emphasis on the Bible, which was understood as the link between the mythological past and the present. The Bible enabled the creation of a national myth and to consolidate Zionism’s distinctiveness around its ancestral land. As much as any national movement is required for a foundation story, the Bible served this function for Zionism. However, the religious lesson of the Bible was sterilized:  the role of God as the creator, and the demand for faith and observance were ignored. The Zionist movement used the Bible from a secular perspective: as their national history is being re played in their life time, a repetition of Biblical times. The Bible was for them a national asset, deprived of all the faith base associations.    
As young pioneers immigrated to the Land of Israel in the early 20’s and 30’s of the twentieth century, the Bible served as their road map: they traveled the land with an open bible; identifying places on the map that previously were only part of their religious imagination. It helped the new immigrant to feel at home. Ancient episodes, like the conquering of the land by Joshua, the Hashmonite war of libration and the establishment of an independent kingdom, the Bar kochva rebellion against the Romans – all these fueled their imagination and served as role models. In the words of Professor Anita Shapira: “The Bible was a call for action.”
Although socialist, secularist even at the brink of being anti-religious, Zionism had developed a sense of fulfilling a Biblical messianic prophecy. The Jewish DNA contains a strong messianic message. The destruction of the Second Temple, at 70AD, represents, in Jewish memory, as the beginning of Exile. Rabbinical commentary argues that the exile was imposed upon the nation due to its sins, and only after its complete repentance can the redemption begin, with the coming of the messiah. Therefore, exile has a spiritual essence, which is to prepare the Jews for redemption. According to Biblical and rabbinical writings, some of the events of the end of days would bring about the national restoration of the Jews, with the re-gathering of exiles, the rebuilding of a Davidian kingdom and the re-establishing of the Temple as God’s worship site.
Throughout the ages, Jewish memory had kept the messianic hope alive. The desire to see the restoration of the nation in the Land of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple, for example, is an essential component of Tefylat shemonaesreh (the eighteen benedictions), the daily Jewish prayer. It is also a part of Birkat Hamazon (the prayer for food). Maimonides, the famous 12 century Jewish philosopher and ruler, specified  two out of his Thirteen Principles of Faith, to the end of days – first was the belief in the coming of the messiah and second is in the belief in the rise of the dead.
However, failed messianic expectations caused the rabbis throughout the ages to become very carful with messianism. Barriers were made to constrain acute messianism, and the common rabbinic understating was that it is the role of God to send the messiah, and all  men can do to hasten its arrival was to perfect their religious observant. Redemption and repentance were linked to one another.
Many early Zionist thinkers, and notable of them was David Ben Gurion, the absolute leader of political Zionism and Israel’s first Prime Minister, developed a sense of messianic fulfillment to their actions: they were re-gathering the Jewish exiles back into the land of Israel, they were building a Jewish state (parallel to the Davidian Kingdom), they were redeeming the land from its gentile owners, they were reviving Hebrew as a Jewish language, and they were forced into military conflicts in defense of their national enterprise. David Ben Gurion envisioned Zionism as a “light onto the nations” –a moral and universalist national movement that can set standards for the creation of a perfect society. It was secular messianism, blended with humanism and nationalism that contained the messianic message. The Bible was the ancient model for the national revival and for the social model, as set in the words of the prophets.
One might conclude that the attachment to the Bible and the prophetic message could reach a catharsis after the Israeli victory in 1967 and the conquering of the Biblical land of Israel, in a smashing victory. Truly, many secular Israelis explained the success in terminology of miracles and Divine intervention. However, the amazement calmed as many of the Israeli elites were exposed to the Palestinians problem. It had became harder and harder for them to reconcile occupation with humanism and universalism. In addition, other transformations within the Israeli society, like individualism and capitalism, had shaken the need for a meta-myth. The rise of post-Zionism as a conflicting narrative added to the decline of “old fashion Zionism,” with its harsh critique on the West Bank occupation.  As time progressed, the need for a foundation myth, associated with the bible, was reduced. However, when this secular tension was declining, an opposite tension was evolving within the religious Zionist circles.           
Religious Zionism is a segmant of the Orthodox world that decided to join with the national enterprise, eventhough Zionism was mainly secular. Today, it is estimated that about 15% of Israeli population is associated with religious Zionism (about 1 million people).
Very soon after its emergence, religious Zionism undertook a process aiming to understand how the development of the secular Zionist movement actually represented a stage in an unfolding messianic process. These approaches are identified, in particular, with the religious philosophy of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook (1865-1935).  Many Orthodox Jews found it difficult to identify with the emerging Zionist movement and act within classic Zionist definitions. Zionist rhetoric spoke of the need to “normalize” the Jewish people and make it “a nation like all the others.” The purpose of Zionism was described as being “to build a safe haven for the Jewish people.” All of these definitions are inconsonant with Jewish tradition, which emphasizes a distinction between Israel and the other nations, and proclaims that the Land of Israel has a unique theological function. Accordingly, many of those who developed the religious Zionist approach, integrate the religious purpose as part of the Zionist idea.
These thinkers used the traditional rabbinical technique of pshat and drash (the literal meaning as opposed to the exegetical meaning) to justify supporting Zionist political activity. While ostensibly adopting the general Zionist definition of the movement’s purpose, this approach also imbued it with specific religious meaning: While Zionist activity calls for action in the material realm, simultaneously its innermost core aspires to eternal spiritual life – and this constituted the “real” foundation for the Zionist movement's operations and aims, even if the movement itself was not aware of this. The argument contended that the long-awaited messianic era was about to arrive, and would be realized once secular Zionism chose the true path: the complete worship of God. Zionism would then advance to its second phase, known as the revival of the biblical Davidic monarchy, the reinstitution of sacrifices on the Temple Mount, and the reestablishment of the Sanhedrin.
Though this position was present within religious Zionist circles almost from their inception, it occupied only a marginal position. Thus, although this vision of transformation to a Torah nation was advocated by certain religious Zionist voices during the period immediately preceding the establishment of the State of Israel (1948), it was soon abandoned. Asher Cohen argues that many religious Zionists did continue to aspire for the establishment of a theocratic regime; but, during the transition to statehood, they recognized this was unachievable and unrealistic at the time, as they were a minority with limited public power and status. Accordingly, the vision of a Torah state was not manifested in Religious Zionist's overt political demands. They instead focused mainly on preserving the status quo on religious matters – agreed to during the pre-state era – on the right of the religious public to maintain its own way of life. Overall, religious Zionist leaders confined themselves to recognizing the secular state, while struggling to preserve its religious character in certain fields.
This all changed with the Israeli victory in the Six Day War (1967) in which Israel captured additional areas of its Biblical homeland. These dramatic events led to the strengthening of religious Zionism’s activist wing, dominated mainly by the younger generation of the National Religious Party. Additionally, it created a groundswell of opinion that would ultimately fuel the establishment of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, which would soon after become the dominant stream within religious Zionism.
The Six Day War (June 1967) created a new reality in the Middle East. In the course of the war, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. These areas were not annexed to Israel, and have continued to have the status of occupied territories administered by Israel pending their return in the framework of a peace agreement. Immediately after the war, Israel did not, on the whole, initiate Jewish settlement in the occupied areas, with the exception of East Jerusalem, which was formally annexed to the State of Israel. From the outset, however, this principle was not strictly applied, and soon after the war a number of Jewish settlements were established in the occupied territory.
In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. Although Israel would eventually push back the attacking armies and win the war, the Israeli public was shocked and outraged at both the large number of fatalities Israel suffered and by the military's poor performance, at least at the beginning of the war.
Immediately following the war, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger undertook intensive diplomatic activity aimed at attaining a ceasefire between the sides that would invariably include Israeli territorial concessions. It was against the backdrop of these two events – the trauma of the war and the expectation of imminent territorial retreat – that the Gush Emunim (“Block of the Faithful”) movement was founded in February 1974. Led by young religious Zionist activists, Gush Emunim was supported by both Orthodox bourgeois urban circles and secular supporters of the Whole Land of Israel movement. Gush Emunim sought to prevent territorial concessions and to push for the application of Israeli sovereignty to Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. It attempted to actualize its objectives by settling Jewish communities in the occupied territories.
At the time of its establishment, Gush Emunim did not project a messianic vision. The first settlement action undertaken by activists from the organization came when, without official permission, they established a makeshift settlement at a site in the West Bank called Sebastia. Israeli authorities evicted the settlers several times. Finally, the settlers reached a compromise with Minister of Defense Shimon Peres in which they agreed to instead be housed in a neighboring Israeli Defense Force (IDF) base. This decision effectively led to the establishment of the settlement, despite some opposition within the Israeli government led by Yitzhak Rabin. In 1977, with the rightist Likud party coming to power, settlers suddenly enjoyed enthusiastic support from the government, including provision of financial benefits, assistance in the construction of settlement infrastructure, and legal protection. As a result, the pace of construction in the settlements quickly increased. Since then, the number of Israeli citizens living in the settlements has risen steadily. As of 2010, the settlements’ population was estimated at 300,000, and some 40 percent of the Judea and Samaria territory was included in the settlements’ municipal areas of jurisdiction.
Immediately following its inception, Gush Emunim was joined by a group of Mercaz Harav yeshiva’s graduates under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook, the sone of Rabbi Avraham Itzhak, who soon assumed leadership roles in the movement. The members of this group held a religious perspective, which motivated them to political action. They believed that the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel under the auspices of the secular Zionist movement reflected the first stage in God’s will to redeem His people. Accordingly, the spectacular Israeli victory in the Six Day War of 1967 was perceived as a manifestation of the Divine plan, and as a preliminary stage in the process of redemption.
In general, Merkaz Harav followers then as now, see themselves as implementing the philosophy of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook. They try to integrate the senior Kook’s philosophy into Israeli reality, emphasizing two key concepts: the holiness of the land of Israel and the holiness of the State of Israel. According to the junior Kook, the Land of Israel – comprised of land within the 1948 borders, the territories acquired in 1967, and even Transjordan  – is one unit, a complete organic entity imbued with its own will and holiness. This entity is connected and united with the entire Jewish people – present, past, and future – so that the people and the land are in a complete oneness. Therefore, no one has a right to give away part of the land. Since the unity of the Whole Land came as a result of the actions of the Zionist movement, it could, therefore, be understood as a tool that was and could be further implemented to actualize God’s will. As such, the Israeli state, though secular, should be sanctified as it is part of the messianic process.
According to the Merkaz Harav philosophy, the sanctity of the Whole Land of Israel and the sanctity of the State of Israel are expected to complement and complete one another. However, this has not always been reflected in Israeli reality. After the peace process between Israel and Egypt (1978) and the resulting Israeli withdrawal from Sinai (1982), many Gush Emunim supporters were forced to confront the increasing erosion of their basic beliefs regarding the character and destiny of the State of Israel. The Israeli withdrawal from Sinai, together with the subsequent Madrid talks (1991) and Oslo process (1993), which led to an Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank, provoked a theological crisis for followers of Merkaz Harav's philosophy. The crisis reached new hights with the Disengagement plan of 2005, where Israel destroyed all of its settelements in the Gaza strip, in addition to four setelements in Samaria. The fundamental religious dilemma this presented is of a profound character: How can a state that uproots settlements and hands over parts of the Biblical Land of Israel to Arab rule be considered “absolutely sacred” as it had been? What sublime religious meaning can be attributed to the actions of a secular state which threatens to destroy, by its own hands, the chance of realizing the messianic hope? Could it be that viewing the Jewish state as a fulfillment of the divine will was a mistake?
We are almost 45 years after the Six Days War of 1967, and the question of settlements creates contradicting directions: From one hand there has been a great expansion with the creation of tens of settlements, which are housing more than 300,000 people, but from the other hand a threat over its very existence still remains. For example, in 2006  Israeli Prime Minister at that time, Ehud Olmert, offered the “Ingathering” plan which included an evacuation of a significant number of settlements in Judea and Samaria.
            The settlement movement of Gush Emunim currently is suffering from a major crisis: The dominant power today is of the second generation of settlers, where among some of them the acute messianic tension even higher than of their parents. However, among the second generation, the admiration to the Israeli statehood was replaced with high criticism and intense theocratic beliefs were imerged, as a replacement for the democratic system, which is viewed as a hallow, non-patriotic, post-Zionist system. Pessimistic messianic disappointing statements are replacing the previous optimistic messianic expectations. The prophetic failure led the new generation of settlers into a trend of religious radicalization in effort to block the redemption from falling into a complete collapse.
The secular Zionist admiration to the Bible and the usage of political messianic rhetoric  to describe Zionist goals, created a misleading image that assumed Zionism as a fullfilement of a traditional messianic vision. Messianic religious Zionism locked itself in a dogma that demands Israeli territorial expansion. Post factotum, this misunderstanding led into an impasse in the relations of secular and religious inside the Israeli society and an impasse with the ability to open an agreeable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.          

Thursday, May 24, 2012

נשות הטאליבן והעצמה נשית

בין שלל התיאורים של הסערה הנוכחית ברחוב החרדי, כתוצאה מהגינוי החריף של תופעת "נשות הטליבן" על ידי לא פחות מאשר בד"צ העדה החרדית, נראה שנשכח פרט אחד – מדובר בתופעה מרחיקת לכת של העצמה נשית, אולי אפילו ראשיתו מרד. אולי דווקא מימד זה הוא שמסעיר כל כך.

כזכור, בד"צ העדה הרחדית, הוא זה המתיר כל החמרה. הסוציולוג הישראלי (המנוח) צ'ארלס ליבמן הגדיר את הקיצוניות כנורמה דתית. לשיטתו, בחברות הפונדמנטליסטיות אין גבול להחמרה, ולמעשה אין מי שיעצור אותה. יתרה, מצב של תחרות בין גורמים רדיקלים (למשל העדה החרדית מול אגודת ישראל) מולידה מנגנון טהרני, ולפיו כל המחמיר מוסיף.

כל המתבונן על המרחב הציבורי החרדי בשנים האחרונות רואה תופעת ההקצנה הולכת ומתפשטת. האוטובוסים מופרדים בין גברים ונשים, רחובות מאה שערים מופרדים, וכל איזור ציבורי כמו סניפי דואר ומרפאות מפרידים בין המינים.

לפי הגיון זה נראה שתופעת "נשות הטליבאן", לפיה נשים מכסות את גופן מכף רגל ועד ראש, הכולל גם את הפנים, נראה כהמשך טבעי ואף מתבקש. אולם לא כך הם פני הדברים.

הנסיבות שהביאו את בד"צ העדה החרדית לגנות את הנשים היא לכאורה סכנת פיקוח נפש שנגרמה כתוצאה מסיבוכי לידה שהתקיימו בבית בשל חוסר הרצון ללדת בבית חולים מטעמי צניעות ונישואים כפויים על קטינים. נסיבות דומות  לא עוררו את אותו בד"צ להקים כל זעקה, להפך. פעילי העדה החרדית יצאו להגנת אותה "אם מרעיבה" , שמנעה מזון וטיפול רפואי מילדיה מלפני מספר שנים, וגם נישואי קטינים על ידי חסידי ברסלב היא תופעה ידועה ומוכרת.

מה נשתנה המקרה הזה מן שאר המקרים? נשים הינם מגזר מדוכא בעולם החרדי. עליהן חובת הפרנסה וגידול משפחות מרובות ילדים. הבעלים יוצאים ללימודיהם כל היום ותפקודם בבית חלקי. ניתן לשער ש"בעל המאה הוא בעל הדעה", אבל כידוע לא כך הם פני הדברים. דעתן של הנשים לא נחשבת, אין להם יצוג פוליטי או מעמדי, והן בגדר נוכחים נפקדים. החמרות על אורחות חיים מוטלות השקם וערב, וקולן נדם.

נראה שהדרך היחידה שלהן להשמיע את מחאתן, להיות אלה שקובעות את גורלן, היא באמצעות ההשתלבות בכללי המשחק, ולהמציא חומרות משלהן. רק אז הן לפתע נהפכות למובילות חברתיות, מראיהם החיצוני השונה מצביע כלפי כל על עצמאותן משליטה גברית, ובפועל הדיכוי המיני שמראה הטליבן לכאורה בא לבטא הופך לכלי של העצמה ועצמאות.  

ואולי זו הסיבה בגינה קצפה העדה החרדית: הנה צצה תופעה שבה נשים קובעות לעצמן, ופרנסי הקהילה נותרים ללא תגובה. הרי אין פסול בהחמרה, ומראה של טליבן איננו אסור מן התורה. בעייניהם האיום הנשי חייב להתחסל, והתירוץ לכך נמצא בשלל נימוקים, שכאמור לא נאכפו על מקרים דומים בעבר.

והנה תופעה זו לא נעצרת בלבוש חיצוני, וראשיתו של מרד נשי הולך ונצפה: אותן נשים מסרבות לשלוח ילדיהם לבתי ספר, מסרבות לקיים יחסי מין עם בעליהם ומסרבות ללכת למקווה, הכל בשל חומרת צניעות. האוטוריטה של הגברים נחלשת, והנשים לוקחות את ההובלה לידיהם.

תופעת נשות הטליבן והתגובה החרדית אליהן מראה על הסדקים העמוקים המתחוללים מתחת לפני השטח ביחסים מגדריים, ולא מן הנמנע שסגה זו אך תלך ותתרחב, ככל שקולם של הנשים יעלה מתחת לפני הקרקע.

Monday, May 14, 2012

היהודים והשמאל החזק - מקבילים שאינם נפגשים

לפני מספר ימים, כאשר שוטטתי ברחבי האינטרנט, נתקלתי במאמר פובליציסטי שנכתב על ידי חוקר בכיר לימודי תרבות ומסורת היהודית, היסטוריון אמריקני בעל יוקרה אקדמית רבה המחזיק בקתדרה ללימודי יהדות במוסד אקדמי מכובד מאד. עד קריאת מאמרו לא הכרתי את עמדותיו הפוליטיות, אולם הרעיונות שביטא במאמר לא נתנו לי מנוח. אין בכוונתי לחשוף את זהותו. זו לא מטרת הטור הזה. אני מבקש להתמודד עם הרעיונות שהציג החוקר המכובד. 

החוקר התייחס לספר שמעסיק כיום את היהדות האמריקנית—"משבר הציונות" מאת פיטר בריינט. מתוך מחויבותו לליברליזם, קרא בריינט להחרים את ההתנחלויות. בדבריו על הספר טען מחבר המאמר שאין להפריד בין ההתנחלויות למדינת ישראל כולה, שכן הישראלים בוחרים באופן שיטתי בממשלות שתומכות במפעל ההתנחלויות. המסקנה המתבקשת לשיטתו הייתה שיש להחרים את ישראל כולה. כותב המאמר תקף את מערכת החינוך היהודית של הממסד היהודי האמריקני, שלדבריו מחנכת לערכים צרים, לחוסר היחשפות לאמריקה האמיתית, ולראיית המציאות האמריקנית דרך "עדשות" יהודיות. הוא גם תקף את הקמפיין של הממסד היהודי האמריקני נגד "נישואי תערובת" של יהודים ולא יהודים. הערך העליון שלפיו יש לשפוט את המציאות, טען, הוא הליברליזם. הוא עצמו מחויב קודם כל לערכי הליברליזם.

המאמר השאיר אותי המום. כיצד יתכן שאותו "יהודי חם", מרצה רב מעלות ושבחים בחקר התרבות היהודית, מוסמך לרבנות (ככל הנראה אורתודוקסית), מבטא השקפות שכל כך נוגדות את כל מה שנחשב מקובל על הממסד היהודי? בהדרגה הגעתי למסקנה שישנה דיכוטומיה ברורה בין תפיסת העולם היהודית לבין תפיסת העולם של השמאל החזק. השמאל הליברלי התפתח מתוך הסוציאליזם. הליברליזם עידן אמנם את המסר, אולם ביסודו ישנו גרעין בלתי משתנה. השמאל מאמין, באופן עקרוני, בערך האדם. על פי ההשקפה השמאלית, אסור לשום מחיצה לעמוד בדרכם של בני האדם לשיוויון. משום כך נאבק השמאל בכל ביטוי של בידול: מגדרי, גזעי, מעמדי, דתי או אתני.

על פי השקפתי, הזהות היהודית ביסודה מדירה, משום כך היהדות ומדינת ישראל עומדות תחת הביקורת של אותו שמאל. איך שלא מסתכלים עליה, היהדות הינה מועדון סגור, שדרך הכניסה המקובלת אליו היא ביולוגית. דרכים אחרות קשות ומסובכות במודע. אני מגדיר את היהדות באופן רחב שיכול להתפרש הן כתנועה אתנית, ו/או כלאום, ו/או מערכת דתית הכוללת מוסר וריטואלים. הגדרות סובייקטיביות של זהות יהודית מעולם לא התקבלו כנורמטיביות (כדוגמת הרעיון לגיור חילוני). גם היהדות הרפורמית, הגורם המקל ביותר ביחס להצטרפות לשורות העם היהודי, מגדירה זהות יהודית על בסיס ביולוגי (אב או אם) ומכילה דרישות אמוניות וריטואליות כתנאי לגיור, שכוללים את ההתחייבות לאמונה ביחוד, ברית מילה ושמירת מצוות (לפחות באופן חלקי). חוקי מדינת ישראל מזהים יהודי על בסיס ביולוגי ודתי. החוק הישראלי פיתח עיקרון נוסף של "זרע ישראל", שאפשר הגירת המונים למדינת ישראל על היסוד הביולוגי-דתי, אם למועמד להגירה היו שורשים יהודיים בשני דורות שקדמו לו. המודל הישראלי-פורמלי לזהות יהודית הוא המודל הנורמטיבי בעולם היהודי כולו, ועד היום לא קם לו מודל אלטרנטיבי.

ביסודה עומדת היהדות ההיסטורית על עקרון הבידול והשוני– "עם בחירה", "אור לגויים". מדינת ישראל מהווה ישום פוליטי של עקרון ההבדלות. זוהי מדינה שנוסדה על בסיס צר (מדינת היהודים), שאין כמעט דרך להצטרף לשורותיה למי שאינו חבר במועדון היהודי הסגור. בעיני השמאל החזק נתפסת מדינת ישראל כביטוי מוקצן של כל מה שנתפס כפסול בעיניו.

בעוד שהשמאל הפוליטי מבקש לשבור מחיצות שמפרידות בין בני אנוש בחתירה לחברה אוטופית שבה אין הבדל בין חבריה, בא הממסד היהודי, בישראל ובארצות הברית, ובונה מחדש את המחיצות. רבים מהוגי השמאל, שמוצאם יהודי, מוצאים את עצמם חצויים בין מחויבותם האידאולוגית לבין מוצאם האתני. אולי משם כך נראה שהתוקפים החריפים ביותר של מדינת ישראל באים משורות היהודים (ראו את המקרה של נעם חומסקי כדוגמא).

מתקפות השמאל על מדינת ישראל הן בלתי נמנעות אפוא ואינני רואה כל אפשרות שיפסקו – אפילו כשיגיע השלום. אינני בא לטעון שכל גינוי של מדיניות ישראלית על ידי השמאל הינו אוטומטית ביטוי לאנטישמיות סמויה. אני כן מבקש לטעון שישנה סתירה מובנית בין הערכי המוסר של השמאל ואופן שבו מובנית הזהות היהודית. לאחר השואה הפכה המתקפה על היהודים לדבר בלתי מקובל, ומשום כך נראה בעיני שמוקד המתקפה לעבר מדינת ישראל.  

מדוע אם כך תמך השמאל בהקמת מדינת ישראל ועמד לצידה מחצית מאה? לדעתי, התשובה לכך מצויה בנטייה האינסטינקטיבית של השמאל לעמוד לצדו של החלש. השמאל הפוליטי מונע מתוך תחושה מוסרית של צדק, ולכן הוא מתייצב כמעט באופן אוטומטי לצד מי שנתפס כקורבן. זו הסיבה שבגינה תומך השמאל במאבק הפלסטיני, בעוד ישראל נתפסת כתוקפן אגרסיבי. אולם, אם ניתוח זה נכון, לא ירחק היום שבו יאבדו גם הפלסטינים את תמיכת השמאל, שהרי זהותם הלאומית מתבססת באופן צר מידי על פרמטרים לאומיים ואסלאמיים.

החוקר היהודי המכובד שבו פתחתי את מאמרי אינו דמות שוליים. הוא מייצג נאמנה את ההיגיון של השמאל החזק. אם מדינת ישראל מהווה ביטוי של גזענות, אם חינוך יהודי הופך את הילדים האמריקנים לצרי אופקים ואם ההתנגדות לנישואי תערובת היא ביטוי של חוסר פתיחות, הרי שישנה סתירה מובנית בין האידאולוגיה של השמאל החזק לבין הזהות היהודית (בין אם היא אתנית ו/או דתית). אלה הם קוים מקבילים שאינם נפגשים.