A pro-Netanyahu rally
A pro-Netanyahu rally
Photo: Motti Kimchi
A pro-Netanyahu rally

Religious Zionism is put to the test

Opinion: The movement's uncompromising unity behind Netanyahu despite his corruption indictments ignores a considerable difference between its vision of the Jewish state and reality in Israel

Motti Shklar |
Updated: 12.01.19 , 12:52
This week's Torah portion speaks about one of the tests Abraham the Patriarch went through on his journey after his destiny.
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  • The Lord makes Abraham a grandiose promise to become the father of many nations and says to Abraham: "Arise, walk through the land in its length and in its breadth, for I will give it unto thee."
    A pro-Netanyahu rallyA pro-Netanyahu rally
    A pro-Netanyahu rally
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    As part of the first test on his journey to inherit the land, Abraham looks for a burial plot for his deceased wife Sarah and discovers the yawning chasm between his vision and its realization. The bible tells us the story of the acquisition of the plot in great detail.
    The message is hard to ignore - at no point does Abraham demand ownership over the land because of a divine promise, but he insists on buying the plot for its full price. He humbly accepts the gap between the ideal and reality.
    This kind of behavior should inspire us, but it's not reflected in our leaders and especially among the leaders of religious, political, and rabbinical Zionism – who hold their peace during one of Israel's most dire times and adopt an "all or nothing" attitude.
    הצהרה אביחי מנדלבליט על תיקי נתניהו הצהרה אביחי מנדלבליט על תיקי נתניהו
    Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit
    (Photo: EPA)
    The reports about the heads of religious Zionism all uniting in support of Prime Minister Netanyahu and condemning Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's decision to indict Netanyahu beg the question, whether is there a genuine attempt to reconcile between ideal and reality.
    The national-religious movement embraces victory culture over a dialogue culture designed to connect the various sectors of society.
    The religious Zionists supported the Gavison-Medan Covenant in the past - a proposal for the relation of religion and state in Israel, intended to retain the state's Jewish character while minimizing religious coercion.
    This support stemmed from the realization that there is a considerable difference between their vision of the Jewish Sabbath and Israeli reality.
    Why can't this approach be adopted in other issues? It is time to take a clear stance against those calling to protest the judicial system, even if the criticism is legitimate.
    If we loyally cleave onto a person or a bloc through hell and high water, the loses will outweigh the gains. It is time to lead Israeli society into dialogue, not power games.
    When Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz said that the nation of Israel will come out of this crisis stronger, one should hope he refers to a similar feeling from the world of sports - when die-hard fans of two rival teams unite together in support of their national team and wish for its success. In this instance, the attorney general, the state prosecutor and the police are all on our team.

    First published: 12:52 , 12.01.19
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