Yoram Kaniuk

I envy Chelsea and Marc

Op-ed: Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding shows that it’s easier to be Jewish in America than in Israel

The royal wedding of Chelsea Clinton and her Jewish partner Marc Mezvinsky shows us that it’s easier to be a Jew in America than in Israel – this is so because the Jewish nationality is still recognized in America, while in Israel we do not have such nationality, as the State doesn’t recognize it. What we have is a Jewish religion – which has no trace of its glorious past.


Dear Chelsea and Marc were wed without their history being erased. Their royal wedding featured a priest and a rabbi. Yet they were not there to summon religion, but rather, tradition. Marc brought along his Judaism, and Chelsea brought along her progressive Christianity.


I was of course touched by this, for several reasons. Fifty one years ago I married a Christian woman, and we’re still together. We were wed in a secular ceremony, but we read a chapter in the Book of Ruth uttered by my wife: “for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”


Chelsea makes a sweet, pleasant impression. Let her God be with her. Yet I live in a Jewish State that does not recognize my Jewish nationality. When the people of Israel headed to the Diaspora they were called B’nei Israel. The only Jew in the whole Bible was a Babylonian called Mordechai, whose name originated from god Murdoch’s name. When the people of Israel were dwelling in their own land, religion was separate from nationality. There was a Temple and there were priests, yet there were also prophets who stormed in with morality, ethics, and the spirit of God.


And today? These days, two people joined forces in order to prevent the Jewish people from existing as one people. One of them, Eli Yishai, is a racist ignoramus. The second one, Lieberman, represents 300,000 quarter-Jews, but after they voted for him he gave in to Yishai and Rabbi Eliyashiv in order to maintain a stronger status among the religious.


Condemned by Jewish zealots

The legislation known as the Conversion Law shall pass because the powerful forces are pushing towards a racist, blood-based Judaism similar to the most terrible regime we had known, thereby turning Judaism into a creed. Yet there is no Jewish creed. There is Jewish nationality, which is being trampled.


This is why I envy American Jews. I envy Marc, who married Chelsea. Their son can be Jewish, but my grandson cannot, because his mother and grandmother are not Jewish according to halacha. And this is overseen by rabbis who do not only turn a blind eye to belligerent, wild religion which haredi and nationalistic Judaism has become here, but also allow haredim and kippah-wearing settlers to yell out “Nazis” at Jewish soldiers and police officers.


A non-Jewish American told me that had someone yelled out “Nazi” at an American soldier, that person would be sitting in prison for a long time. Yet our military leaders do nothing in order to reject such improper conduct.


So yes, I envy enlightened American Judaism, which allows people to be Jewish. In Israel too we have progressive, wonderful Jewish streams, yet they are being condemned by Jewish zealots who linked Jeremiah to Joshua Bin-Nun. Oh, how I would wish to be like Marc, here in the land of the Hebrews, whose establishment I fought for.


I insist on being Jewish, and Judaism is important to me, yet they turned me into a Jewish minority in my own home. I already asked the minister without portfolio in charge of minorities to help me, now that my first grandchild had been born. Chelsea and Marc won’t have such problems, yet when the Israeli Knesset will categorize the Jewish people, Marc will be considered Jewish, but my grandson won’t.



פרסום ראשון: 08.03.10, 18:48
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