What is most decisive about the character of a nation is what its people look up to and admire. Sometimes what people look up to and admire is a myth.
Consider Israel’s “Declaration of Independence.” The Declaration is taught and public schools, and Israel’s Supreme Court has said it embodies the “credo” of the State of Israel.
It so happens, however, that the first sentence of the Declaration, which states that the Jews became a nation in Eretz Israel, is a lie. The Jews became a nation at the Law-Giving at Mount Sinai, hence, before they ever entered the Land of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that foundational falsehood on June 14, 2009 at Bar-Ilan University. There he had the audacity to negate God’s Covenant with the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state on the land chosen by God for the Jewish people.
David Ben-Gurion was the most prominent signer of the Declaration, a document that implicitly rejected the Sinai Covenant. The document was also signed by four rabbis. Whether they understand the text or not, their signatures sanctified a falsehood.
The State of Israel is more or less based on that falsehood. To be more precise, the State of Israel is based on a Gentile concept, namely, the nineteenth-century European concept of territorial nationalism. How ironic that Israel is forsaking the territory God promised the Jewish people.
For Jews to look up to the Declaration of Independence as the credo of the State of Israel is to desecrate God’s Name and make the State a form of idolatry. Is it any wonder that this State expelled 8,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and may render homeless 300,000 more Jews residing in Judea and Samaria?
What word or concept best describes such a State? How did this State obtain its enormous power? What is there about the institutions of this State that enables it to commit such an outrage against the Jewish people? Shouldn’t upright and thoughtful Jews expose the pernicious nature of those institutions and strive to reconstruct them? Shouldn’t Rabbis, professors, and serious journalists be in the forefront of this effort?
It was indicated above that what best describes the character of a nation is that which its people look up to and admire. In America, people look up to Hollywood celebrities and outstanding athletes. Hence America is now in free fall. Three things preserved that country: its Constitution, its free market economy, and its Judeo-Christian tradition. All three are disintegrating.
Are Jews in Israel oblivious of what preserved them as a nation during 2000 years of dispersion and statelessness? Obviously it was not the “credo” of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Indeed, nothing has been a greater threat to the credo of the Jewish people—to their Torah—than their present state—I repeat, the state.
It was the state via its Cabinet and Knesset that foisted the anti-Jewish Oslo Accords on the Jewish people. It was the state via its Supreme Court that handed down the anti-Jewish ruling that Gaza, Judea, and Samaria are “belligerent occupied territory”—a perfidious lie rooted in the monumental lie pronounced in the first sentence of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. But now lies are facilitated and hallowed as truths by the Court’s dictum that “everything is justiciable,” a dictum that logically includes all the laws and precepts of the Torah.
Only one name adorns Israel’s Declaration of Independence: Theodor Herzl. All honor to Herzl, but he is not the teacher of the Jewish people. Indeed, his book, The Jewish State, relegates the supreme teachings of the Prophets and Sages of Israel to the home and the synagogue. From The Jewish State we learn that public law does not need their teachings. In fact, from Herzl’s spiritual descendants we learn that the state does not even have to be led by a Jew!
We find this absurd yet logical consequence in statements of two of the greatest Zionists, David Ben-Gurion and Vladimir Jabotinsky. Both avowed the charming democratic principle that an Arab has the right to become the prime minister of the “Jewish” State—a right sanctified in the egalitarian credo of Israel’s Declaration of Independence! And lo and behold, another Zionist—who looks up to nothing—has pledged that an Arab will head the projected state of “Palestine.”
The lesson is clear: the Jews of Israel had better look up to God, and this they can only do by affirming the Sinai Covenant and by adorning statecraft with the supernal wisdom of the Torah.