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Duma murder suspect, Amiram Bne-Uliel. Moral degeneration
Photo: Reuters

Religious Zionism must disengage from zealots

Op-ed: The halachic definitions used by rabbis in regards to the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria have nothing to do with a democratic regime, with the era we live in and with the civil principles guiding the State of Israel.

The "price tag" group, which has been preceded by its actions for a long time now, failed to shock the Religious Zionism movement until the Duma arson. Gadi Gvaryahu, founder of the Tag Meir organization, was the only one who realized as early as several years ago that things were beginning to get out of control.

 

 

Why did it happen? Why has moral degeneration spread among a group of young offspring of this public's leaders? How did a group of criminals come out of this idealistic group - Religious Zionism - which is committed to the State of Israel?

 

The truth is quite simple and even embarrassing. The chances of the Jewish settlement project in Judea and Samaria of succeeding were unclear from its very beginning, and there are different opinions about it internally and externally. Its main problem was and remains that those who led it and went with clear conscience to the place most populated with Palestinians never thought about having to shape a diplomatic plan which would determine its borders and the political status of the Palestinians living there.

 

Are we annexing the land and granting them civil rights? Are we withdrawing from certain parts - with or without an agreement - and leaving them part of the land? Is there any chance for an autonomy, just like former Prime Minister Menachem Begin tried to suggest at the time in the Camp David Accords? What exactly is the plan?

 

Duma arson. How did a group of criminals come out of an idealistic group committed to the State of Israel? (Photo: Hassan Shaalan) (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
Duma arson. How did a group of criminals come out of an idealistic group committed to the State of Israel? (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)

 

The Israeli Left has a plan. One can oppose it, but it has a plan. Religious Zionism has no plan. It is not engaging in political negotiations. The discourse it is holding is not with reality but with God and with the commitment to the Land of Israel.

 

Because the discourse on the future of the territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War has left the political level and entered the religious level, we hear rabbis talking about the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria while using all kinds of halachic definitions which have nothing to do with a democratic regime, with the era we live in and with the civil principles guiding the State of Israel. The comprehensive policy towards the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, which has been adopted by Religious Zionism since the start of the settlement, is to ignore their existence. Perhaps they will somehow disappear.

 

If you go to Judea and Samaria communities and to the large Zionist-religious public which supports them even though it doesn’t live there, you will discover that most members of the young generation are unaware of the international dispute over their future. As far as they are concerned, it is definitely Israeli land, and the Arabs living there are not welcoming us because of their viciousness and theft. God promised us the land and it is our holy duty to hold on to it.

 

With such a dominant discourse, when the realpolitik is completely mixed with a biblical and halachic discourse alongside frustration over the fact that the State of Israel is not being run "according to the Torah" and does not determine its values, borders and agenda according to a biblical agenda, there is no wonder that the most frustrated people decide to act.

 

We are talking about a group of young religious people, who honestly believe in the Jews' superiority over the Arabs, a superiority they learned about at home. Pay attention to the "Revolt" group's plan: Appointing a king, building a temple, eliminating idolatry, expelling the gentiles and religious coercion in the public domain. Their entire language is out of touch with modern reality in an embarrassing and depressing manner.

 

I don’t know what the solution is for the situation in Judea and Samaria, and I'm not sure that an Israeli withdrawal from the territory and the establishment of a Palestinian state are a good solution. But we clearly need a realistic plan.

 

In order to implement any realistic plan, we must disengage from the zealots: The rabbis, their students and their supporters. Complete and full detachment. If only I were certain that the religious public is capable of such a move.

 


פרסום ראשון: 01.07.16, 11:39
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