Uri Avnery writes: Of all revolutionary movements of the 20th century, Zionism was the most successful and enduring. Communism. Fascism and dozens of others came and went. Zionism endures.
But is Israeli society really Zionist, as it claims loudly and repeatedly?
Zionism was basically a rebellion against the Jewish existence in the Diaspora. In the religious sphere, it was a reformation more profound than that of Martin Luther.
All prominent Jewish Rabbis, both Hasidic as anti-Hasidic, condemned Zionism as a heresy. The People of Israel were united by their absolute obedience to God’s 613 commandments, not by any “national” bonds. God had strictly forbidden any mass return to the Land of Israel, since He had exiled the Jews for their sinful behavior. The Jewish Diaspora was thus decreed by God and had to remain, until He changes His mind.
And here came the Zionists, mostly atheists, and wanted to bring the Jews to the Land of Israel without God’s permission, indeed abolishing God altogether. They built a secular society. They held abysmal contempt for the Diaspora, especially for the Orthodox “ghetto Jews”. Their founding father, Theodor Herzl, held that after the foundation of the Jewish State, no one outside it would be considered a Jew anymore. Other Zionists were not quite so radical, but certainly thought along these lines.
When I was young, many of us went even further. We disclaimed the idea of a Jewish State, and spoke instead of a Hebrew State, connected only loosely with Diaspora Jewry, creating a new Hebrew civilization closely connected with the Arab world around us. An Asian nation, not identified with Europe and the West.
So where are we now?
Israel is re-Judaizing itself at a rapid pace. The Jewish religion is making a huge comeback. Very soon, religious children of various communities will be the majority in Israeli Jewish schools. [Continue reading…]