Foundation Blog
Judaism Oslo/Peace Process Zionism/Nationalism

Roots, Love, and Personal Loyalty

Commenting on the Torah portion, The Life of Sara (in his monumental ouvre, Frameworks), Matis Weinberg writes: “With the Cave of Machpela, Avraham discovered … the intensity of his love of Sara, the depth of his roots in the earth, and his own need to remain rooted …”

In a marginal note, Rabbi Weinberg quotes Simone Weil: “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and the least recognized need of the human soul.” Unfortunately, Israel’s two most powerful office-holders, Supreme Court President Aaron Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, are oblivious of this simple but profound truth, for they themselves are severed from the roots of the Jewish People. That such men should be at the helm of the supposed-to-be Jewish state is a mockery of Judaism. Indeed, these “post-Zionists” are making Israel rootless, landless, and godless.

Rabbi Weinberg: “The first acquisition of Eretz Yisrael was an act of love, an act which set the stamp of Avraham and Sara on the Land for all its future. It was an act of love sealed in the city of Hebron, which translates literally as ‘bonding.’” But how pallid the love displayed by our secular and religious parties in the Knesset. How they yielded, tamely and uncaringly, to the Oslo or Israel-PLO Agreement of September 1993.

If anything is lacking among Israel’s political and judicial elites, it is love, a caring love for the one and only Jewish homeland. Thus it is that the late Yitzhak Rabin scornfully said of the Golan Heights, “This is tank land, not holy land.” Thus it is that under Rabin’s authority as both Prime Minister and Defense Minister, the words “Eretz Yisrael” and Judaism were erased from the Soldier’s Code of Ethics. Thus it is that Ehud Barak, who was Israel’s Chief of Staff at the time, raised no objection to this mindless deJudaizing of the Israel Defense Forces—and neither did Ariel Sharon.

Returning to Judge Barak: so unloving is he of the Jewish heritage that he instructed Israeli judges, contrary to the 1980 Foundations of Law Act, that Jewish law and principles should not be given a preferred status vis-à-vis American, English, and Continental law. He writes: “It should never be said that a particular [legal] system has the primary claim to interpretive inspiration.” (Imagine a U.S. Supreme Court justice teaching his fellow-countrymen, “It should never be said that the American legal system has the primary claim to interpretive inspiration”!)

By forsaking the Jewish legal and moral heritage, the Barak court has been assaulting the emotions and expectations of the older population, while rendering young people rootless and aimless, placing all at the mercy of personal whim, chance, and accident. Lacking a sense of Jewish national identity and purpose, is it any wonder—as a recent study indicates—that only 58% of the people of Israel are proud of their country? How can they be proud of a country whose government kowtows to Arab terrorists and is even anxious to yield Israel’s heartland, Judea and Samaria, to these murderers?

The loss of Israel’s heartland needs to be understood not only in secular terms—the tendency of most right-wing critics of the Oslo “peace process.” The Jews of Israel are suffering the humiliating and deadly consequences of a godless government, of political and judicial elites who scorn the Torah—and with the compliance of the religious parties!

Without love of the Torah there can no binding love of the Land of Israel. But as Weinberg writes, “The bond to Eretz Yisrael cannot be based on petty nationalism. It is … a uniquely personal bond.” This personal bond to the Land of Israel unites Jews in friendship and solidifies their courage against all enemies.

Alas, where is this unifying friendship, where is this national courage, indeed, where is personal loyalty in the rootless, secular State of Israel, where even the religious succumb to perfidy?

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