The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


The Issue Is Judaism

Filed under: JudaismIsrael’s SovereigntyZionism/Nationalism — eidelberg @ 12:53 am Edit This

The announcement of the New Jewish Congress, which convened in Jerusalem on November 27, 2007, contained one very meaningful and potentially powerful statement: “The Sovereignty of the Jewish Nation over the Jewish State of Eretz-Israel.

This statement recalls a policy paper I wrote several years ago entitled: “Must the State of Israel Perish for Israel to Survive?” By the “State” I mean, primarily, its political and judicial institutions: the Knesset, the Cabinet, and, above all the Supreme Court. These institutions must “perish,” meaning, they must be replaced by radically different ones. They must be replaced by institutions that do not fragment the nation into an absurd multiplicity of rival parties, that render the people powerless between elections, and that undermine Jewish national identity. The so-called Jewish State of Israel is an institutional catastrophe, as was known to eminent people in Israel in 1951 after the first two elections.

What was not known, and what is not understood to this day, is that very concept of a “Jewish State” is an oxymoron. As noted in The Myth of Israeli Democracy:

The modern concept of the “state” has its origin in Machiavelli. According to Machiavelli, the “state” and its laws are based solely on the autonomy of human will. This makes the idea of a “Jewish State” a contradiction in terms. Awesome consequences follow. The State of Israel was founded as an instrument of “Zionism.” This Zionism, however, was based not on the Torah but on the territorial nationalism of gentile Europe. But just as European nationalism supplanted Christianity, so Zionism was intended to supplant Judaism, that is, to make Jews a “normal” people—a nation like all other nations. This means that Zionism was to endow Jews with a new identity: Jews would cease to be Jewish.

This was the fundamental intention of the founders of the state. Like Herzl—all honor to him—they wanted to relegate the Torah to the home and the synagogue. The wisdom of the Prophets and the Sages would be severed from public law and statecraft. To achieve this revolutionary objective, it would be necessary to disillusion the people about the prophecies concerning Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.

Withdraw from this heartland and you shatter the historical memory of the Jewish people. Not security, not peace, not demographics, not democracy—no, what is at stake is here is nothing less than Judaism.

This is why the very words “Judaism” and “Eretz Israel” were deleted from the Soldiers Code of Ethics when Yitzhak Rabin became both prime minister and defense minister after the June 1992 election. If further proof is wanted that the key issue is Judaism and not peace or security etc., recall the following facts:

● Rabin appointed Shulamit Aloni, an ultra-secularist, as minister of education, who proceeded to emasculate the Jewish content of the public school curriculum.

● Yuli Tamir, the current minister of education, proposed to have inductees take their oath on the Declaration of Independence instead of the Tenach.

● Foreign minister Tzipi Livni supported the Gay parade in the name of “multiculturalism.”

● The High Priest of multiculturalism, former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, ruled that Judea, Samaria, hence eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, constitute “belligerent occupied territory”—a ruling contrary to the Court’s own precedence.

To these secular elites add President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Just as Sweden’s government renounced the country’s Swedish nationality after a large influx of Muslims, so Israel’s ruling elites want to transform Israel into “a state of its citizens.”

These elites are well aware that such is the high birthrate of religious Jews that, unless they take drastic measures, the political ascendancy of the religious community is inevitable. Today’s ruling elites, however different from the founders of the state, share the same goal: to make the Jews a “normal” people, which can only mean that Jews must cease being Jewish.

Thus, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit proposed to rescind the foundational law of the State, the Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to Jews. “Israel,” he said, “should become like every other country” (The Jerusalem Post, October 31, 2007, p. 1.) This is tantamount to saying Israel should not be a Jewish nation and become a multicultural state or society.

Fortunately, most people in Israel want their country to remain Jewish. This being the case, all patriotic organizations should unite and advocate institutional reform that empowers the people; more precisely, that shifts power from parties to the people. How?

(1) Make members of the Legislature accountable to the people in constituency elections.

(2) Make the Legislature independent of the Executive and endow it administrative oversight.

(3) Replace multi-party cabinet government with a unitary executive in order to fix responsibility on one person—the president—who represents the nation, not the “state.”

(4) Democratize the mode of nominating Supreme Court judges and have their nominations confirmed by the Legislature on national television.

Empowering the people is the key to making Israel more Jewish as well as more democratic. Zionist organizations should support the above reforms.