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The Likud: A Dead Man Walking

The Likud is a dead man walking, and no one can enliven that intellectually sterile party. This means that political Zionism is dead. It died in May 1996 when Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister and said his government would abide by the Oslo Peace or Israel-PLO Agreement which the Labor Party had foisted on the nation in September 1993.

Unknown to the general public, Oslo presaged the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state in the Land of Israel, a state Netanyahu unlawfully sanctified on June 14, 2009 at Bar-Ilan University. Let us probe the little known perfidious nature of the Likud via political Zionism.

It never entered the minds of political Zionists that the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel was to culminate in the construction of the Third Temple and the restoration of Jewish law. The founders of political Zionism, such as Herzl and Pinsker, started from the failure of liberalism to solve the Jewish problem, but continued to see the solution in liberal terms, as a merely human problem. As Leo Strauss has written:

The terrible fate of the Jews was in no sense to be understood any longer as connected with divine punishment for the sins of our fathers or with the providential mission of the chosen people and hence to be borne with the meek fortitude of martyrs. It was to be understood in merely human terms: as constituting a purely political problem which as such cannot be solved by appealing to the justice or generosity of the nations …

Accordingly, political Zionism was concerned primarily with nothing but the cleansing of the Jews from millennial degradation or with the recovery of Jewish dignity, honor, or pride. The failure of the liberal solution meant that Jews could not regain their honor by assimilating themselves as individuals to the nations among which they lived or becoming citizens like all the other citizens of the liberal states: the liberal solution brought at best legal equality, but not social equality; as a demand of reason it had no effect on the feelings of the non-Jews…

Only through securing the honor of the Jewish nation could the individual Jew’s honor be secured. The true solution of the Jewish problem requires that the Jews become “like all the nations” (I Sam. 8:20), that the Jewish nation assimilate itself to the nations of the world or that it establish a modern, liberal, secular … state.

The political elite that led this movement succeeded in establishing a secular state, but they failed to solve the Jewish problem or restore the honor of the Jewish people. Political Zionism could not solve the Jewish problem because of the narrowness of its original conception. This was understood by cultural Zionism, which saw that political Zionism lacks historical and cultural perspective. The community of descent “must also be a community of the mind, of the national mind; the Jewish state will be an empty shell without a Jewish culture which has its roots in the Jewish heritage.” But as Strauss points out:

One could not have taken this step unless one had previously interpreted the Jewish heritage itself as a culture, that is, as a product of a national mind, of the national genius. Yet the foundation, the authoritative layer, of the Jewish heritage presents itself, not as the product of the human mind, but as a divine gift, as divine revelation. Did not one completely distort the meaning of the heritage to which one claimed to be loyal by interpreting it as a culture like any other high culture? Cultural Zionism believed to have found a safe middle ground between politics (power politics) and divine revelation … but it lacked the sternness of the two extremes. When cultural Zionism understands itself, it turns into religious Zionism.

The Likud never took an honest step toward religious Zionism, indeed, never understood what Zionism is all about.

The term Zionism is obviously derived from “Zion,” one of the most sacred words in the dictionary of authentic Judaism. Zion is the dwelling place of God’s glory. It is the Sanctuary of the Torah, the Holy City which surrounds it, the Holy Land of which Jerusalem is the eternal capital. From Zion, from Jerusalem, the word of God—the Truth—shall come forth.

Viewed in this light, the Likud has been a small-minded party conceived in falsehood. Consistent therewith, the Likud pursued the false and defeatist policy of “territory for peace.” It constantly deceived the nation by obscuring the truth about the implacable nature of Israel’s enemies and the fatal character of the Oslo Agreement. The Likud remains a dead man walking while Benjamin Netanyahu continues to abide by that perfidious agreement.

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