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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Israel's moral stance on Iran

Moshe Feiglin explains what Israel's stance on the events in Iran ought to be (Hat Tip: NY Nana).
"Israel does not interfere in Iran's internal affairs." That is more or less the reaction of Israeli officialdom to the unrest in Iran. Nobody questions this response. We have become accustomed to the fact that our response is not important. What does the oppression in China have to do with us? Why does the war in Chechnya concern us? Why is the slave trade in Sudan our business? And even more so, what does it matter what we think about Iran?

Every imbecile on the globe allows himself to interfere, express his opinion, create tension and propose himself as a negotiator in our small and troubled country. We roll out the red carpet for the British ambassador or for the French foreign minister when they land here, and then they run off to sympathize with our enemies in Ramallah and Gaza. We look on passively as the U.S. ambassador interferes in the dealings between Israel and its Bedouin citizens in the Negev or the Arabs in the Galilee. It seems clear to us: They have the right to tell us what to do, but we do not have the right to tell them what to do.

Why? Because when we decided to found the state of the Jews on Christian values - on the laws of England, Turkey and Rome - we left our Jewish ethics by the wayside. In effect, we told the nations of the entire world that they are the moral compasses, and they decide who is ethical and just. In truth, their interference in our affairs is our own fault. The flip side of that coin is our feeling that we have no moral right to intervene in ethical issues in other countries.
Read the whole thing (yes, he does say what Israel's stance ought to be and why).

Once again, Feiglin nails it.

Feiglin's thinking is - in many ways - more compatible with Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) thought than with traditional religious Zionism. In the weekend JPost, Jonathan Rosenblum writes of a rapprochement between the Haredim and the State.
With Sabbath demonstrations dominating news coverage, it would have been easy to overlook a small recent item in these pages. Yet the latter story may tell us more about the future of haredi-secular relations than the recent protests. Post military correspondent Yaakov Katz reported on a special program under which the IAF has been recruiting haredi men, most already married with children. Already there are 250 haredi men in the air force, and the Intelligence Corps and navy are gearing up for their own comparable programs. Of those enlisted in the air force program, more than 60 percent have applied for officer training - the highest rate of any group of enlisted men in the IDF.

Obviously this program serves the interests of both the IDF and the haredim. The former, faced with declining enlistment, is able to tap into a vast reservoir of intellectual talent. The latter receive high-level training in sought-after professions and the possibility of relatively secure jobs in the IDF. Even beginning IDF salaries are higher than most would receive in kollel.

Yet even if self-interest plays a large role in the bargain between the IDF and the haredi soldiers, this program could only have come into being in the wake of changing attitudes to the state within the haredi community. Today, it no longer occasions surprise in many haredi neighborhoods to see bearded men, who until recently were learning full-time in kollel, walking around in uniform. That would not have happened 20 years ago.

The reasons for the change are many. One is the waning of Zionist ideology. Who today thinks about the classical Zionist project of creating a "new Jew" who will be the antithesis of everything with which the name Jew was associated in the Diaspora? The demise of Zionist ideologues is mirrored by the decline of anti-Zionist ideology. Mea She'arim and a few offshoot communities are the last bastions of classical anti-Zionist ideology.

No haredi would describe Israel as "the Jewish state," and certainly not as the "the first flowering of the Redemption." But there is a general recognition that the fate of 6 million Jews cannot be separated from the security of Israel. As traditional anti-Semitism increasingly takes the form of demonization of Israel and the application of standards to its defense of its citizens to which no other nation in the world is subjected, haredim, whose historical consciousness of Jewish persecution at the hands of the nations is well-nurtured, find themselves identifying with Israel.

And finally, Israel is the center of an undreamed-of renaissance in Torah learning after the Holocaust. Government support has played a not-inconsiderable role in that rebirth.
Read the whole thing. From where I sit, somewhere in Jerusalem, Rosenblum has nailed it as well. The future of this country is people who think like Rosenblum and Feiglin - and not people who think like the Ehud's (Barak and Olmert) or Tzipi Livni. Just look at the demographics, and at who is coming and who is leaving. The future of this country is as a Jewish state - and not as the 'state of the Jews' or the 'state of all its people' - and if the state is Jewish, we may all come around to agreeing on its religious significance.


At 10:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Moshe Feiglin is much closer to Hardal - Orthodox Judaism plus Zionism. It is fair to characterize many haredi Jews as Jews who believe in Israel based on G-d and the Torah. The HaRav saw the future of the Jewish people in the same light. First, Israel would achieve physical redemption and the restoration of its independence. The second stage would witness the spiritual redemption of Israel and the actualization of its sovereignty under Heaven. In a word, Israel would become a "light unto the nations." It is the second aspect of Israel's rebirth that is just beginning to come into view. Israel refers not just to the land but to the entire Jewish people and their destiny. Israel's re-emergence will not only redeem Jews, it will change the direction of the entire world as well. The nations then will come to Jerusalem not to tell the Jews what to do but to learn from G-d and to absorb the light of the Torah they had rejected long ago. All of the above is the essence and the goal of true Zionism.

At 12:54 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Carl, thank you for the hat tip.

I wish so much that Moshe Feiglin had been PM, but there is a next time...when I was sent the original video of him by a friend in Toronto,and his family history in Israel,it was probably the first time in my life that I was so impressed with any man since David Ben Gurion, who I saw at Brandeis when I was a teen, who had what it takes to be PM...he puts Israel first, and is dedicated to the present and the future of Israel, and knows the past so well.

I have no doubt that Jerusalem would be what it already is: the capitol of the Jewish homeland, Israel. Where does the U.S., or any country have the right to decide?

G-d forbid if Hussein is ever given a say in this.


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