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(illustration) Photo: Shutterstock
(illustration) Photo: Shutterstock
 
 

Religious Zionism's struggle

Op-ed: Moderate Judaism cannot exist alongside rabbis who forbid soldiers from listening to women sing

Yoaz Hendel
Published: 12.26.12, 20:01 / Israel Opinion

Two boys are living in the belly of religious Zionism. One believes in the Land of Israel, the other believes in the nation of Israel. One is extreme, nationalist, belligerent and aloof. The other is moderate and soft - a Zionist who leads and serves. Esau and Jacob live together, but they are very far apart.

 

The animal known as religious Zionism does not exist in the State of Israel anymore, just as there is no secular Zionism. The only thread that connects the kippah-wearing person from Havat Gilad and the kippah-wearing person from north Tel Aviv is the thread of the kippah itself. There is no common ideology. The gaps are huge – and not only with regards to evacuation of settlements or disobeying orders. The differences become clearer when the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel is discussed.

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Over the past few decades the two boys have been in the process of getting a divorce, and they are not doing it through the rabbinate, as is customary. The home cannot contain two approaches that are so vastly different from one another. Unification is good for a few mandates, but it does not allow for an in-depth examination of the questions that trouble religious Zionism: The status of women, goyim and seculars.

 

Moderate Judaism cannot exist alongside rabbis who blur images of women in brochures and forbid soldiers from listening to women sing. Israeli media have long since viewed religious Zionism as one body. Now they are making the same mistake during the election campaign.

 

Like biblical Rivkah, Naftali Bennett is a product of this internal struggle. His mission is impossible – to live under the same roof with representatives who receive their orders from rabbis and politicians who have appointed themselves messengers of God. Bennett is a worthy man; serious and grounded. We know each other; we come from similar backgrounds; but I will not vote for him because his political home is different from my opinions. I do not know how to live with some of his political home's worldviews.

 

Last week Bennett made a mistake when he said he would refuse orders to evict Jewish settlers. It was a mistake; no more, no less. It is difficult not to err when the two boys are in the belly. Rivkah, Esau and Jacob's mother, also erred. The State of Israel cannot contain disobedience, regardless of which camp it comes from. The State must show sensitivity when it comes to the evacuation of settlements by those who live in them, but it cannot tolerate disobedience. Bennett is well aware of this, although some of his voters think otherwise.

 

The struggle within religious Zionism did not begin during Bennett's interview on Channel 2. It has been going on for a long time. There are religious people on the left and right; there are religious extremists and moderate religious people. Bennett represents the movement's centrist bloc; the largest bloc - he represents Jacob. Those who are a part of this bloc serve in the army, pay taxes and are moderate in their religious views. This bloc does not refuse orders.

 

The other bloc, which is becoming more and more extreme, concerns me more than the extremists from the left. Likud does not need Bennett's slip of the tongue to recognize this.

 

 

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