Part 2 of article
Even Avner Shalev, the director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the first person who presents to the world’s most distinguished visitors who we are and what we do here, says that “Israel is not the only answer to the Holocaust.”
Shalev, who as the IDF’s chief educational officer raised generations of fighters on the well-known notion of “No Choice” now claims that “those visiting the Museum should form the impression that Jewish existence in New York, for example, is no less legitimate than in Israel.”
Or in other words, there is another choice.
If there is another choice, Israel is not a must. And if it is not a must, it may have no right to exist. It may even constitute a great injustice. How can we justify the 100-year-old conflict with the Arabs and the tension it causes across the world if the Diaspora is also an option; if Israel is only a caprice?
The Jews in Israel argue that the Jewish people is like any other nation and therefore is entitled to a state of its own. Meanwhile, Diaspora Jews claim that the Jewish people is not like all other nations and is therefore entitled to exist in a separate manner in all states of the world.
Yet at the same time, both parts of this people zealously claim that “We Are One.” Can you find more dizzying intellectual acrobatics than this? A better reason for anti-Semitism?
Organizations sometimes lose their right to exist. At times it happens because they completed their mission, as was the case with the Palmah, for example. Other times it happens because they deviate from their original mission, or because they grew tired of their mission, as was the case with the Kibbutz, whose members lost interest in the collective way of life it was meant to provide.
Could it be that some elements of the Kibbutz syndrome are also present in Israel’s case? Could it be that Israel has grown tired of its mission?
Devotion to the mission requires Israel to distinguish itself from the Diaspora. If there is nothing wrong with the Diaspora, Israel is not a “must,” but rather, only “Nice to have.” As such, it will not be able to curb the de-legitimization or to keep its youngsters here.
And just between us – if Israel is not the answer to the Holocaust, is not a model for a different kind of Judaism, and there is no problem with the Diaspora – perhaps Israel is indeed unnecessary?
Benny Levy is the chairman of the Shivah – Zionism Now non-profit organization