In the midst of Jerusalem's many cafes and restaurants, occasionally one can find a dairy restaurant with an English sign in the window proclaiming "glatt kosher." Not surprisingly many people, both native Israelis and tourists, assume that this means "very kosher." This innocent mistake is actually quite amusing since "glatt" is Yiddish for "smooth," which refers to the check of the lungs on a kosher animal following ritual slaughter to ensure that there are no wounds. In other words, the term "glatt" only refers to meat products and has absolutely no relevance for dairy products. As is the case frequently in life, things are not always what they appear to be.
With this in mind, I would suggest a word of caution regarding the new loyalty oath. While many on the right are understandably celebrating what they regard as a truly positive step - a rare moment of Israeli leadership disregarding hypocritical political correctness and potential international criticism in order to unabashedly assert the Jewish nature of the country – nevertheless the oath and the events surrounding it should be further examined.
In addition to the oath further strengthening the confusing term "Jewish democratic state," it would be a mistake to believe that any oath will be a panacea for the many complex problems that Israel faces vis-à-vis its non-Jewish citizens. Moreover, what would happen to someone who orally pledged allegiance but then subsequently acted in ways that contradict the pledge? Would such a person lose his citizenship? Does anyone actually believe that the Supreme Court will just sit quietly on the sidelines and not interfere?
Steep price tagPlacing legal technicalities aside and assuming for a moment that there actually is some merit to the oath, the question that anyone who is genuinely happy over this development should be asking himself is "why now?" More specifically, if for years successive Israeli leaderships have rarely taken a firm stance in regards to anything overly "Jewish," especially if in doing so they would be exposing themselves to all the predictable knee-jerk criticisms, then why is the current leadership deliberately doing so now?
Although one would hope that the leadership is finally starting to connect to and listen to the real Jewish voice on the street, a voice that is far more attached to the country and tradition then what many have been made to believe, there might be a steep price tag here. Considering the external pressure on the government to continue with the so-called peace talks, coupled with its own internal fear of being labeled as the one responsible for their breakdown as a result of the cessation of the Jewish building freeze in Judea and Samaria, it seems far more likely that the loyalty oath is a ploy to placate right-wing elements as a precondition for receiving their support for another freeze.
If so, then this is simply part of the continued illogical and blind march to the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria and not some sort of changed consciousness permeating the leadership. I hope I'm wrong, but as "glatt kosher" dairy restaurants show us, things are not always what they appear to be.