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Selected Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane,
[Who does not want settlements and throw Jews off their land if not the secular and Leftist and who are the settlers if not all religious Jews. Reading this article I realized why the problems of settlements and why Jewish expulsion exists today. bg)
Galut in Israel
There is no word that is referred to with greater contempt in Israel than “Galut” exile. The Galut, the Diaspora, we were told, is a hated thing that has bred in the Jew inferiority complexes, physical fear and mental abnormalities. Those who continue to live there are bluntly chastised and told to come to Israel and become “normal.
True. But what is not often spoken about and what is not enough proclaimed is the fact that it is totally possible to be a sabra, a genuinely free soul, and nevertheless be beset with all the complexes and problems of a galut Jew. It is, in short, quite possible to be a galut Jew in Israel, and the land abounds with many of them.
All this is by way of explaining in greater detail the startling JDL announcement that it was setting up its international office in Israel! “Mah inyan shimita eytzel Har Sinai?” (What is the connection between Sabbatical Year and Mount Sinai?) was the outcry. What purpose is there for JDL in Israel? Are there troubled neighborhoods? Is there anti-Semitism? Are there Panthers? With slight tongue in cheek, let us leave aside the question of whether there are Panthers in Israel (of whatever breed) or if there are anti-Semites (of whatever faith) or if there are troubled areas (of whatever trouble). Let us go directly to the question: JDL in Israel – why?
The All Mighty has been kind to Israel. He allowed it to survive its Arab enemies without totally defeating them. He gave the Jewish state victory and survival without a total peace. Had it been otherwise, who knows what conflicts and hostilities would have erupted in Israel! There exist within Israel problems of such magnitude and with such a potential for explosion that they threaten the very existence of the State. These problems may be summarized as follows:
Religion – There is a basic conflict between two large segments of the nation concerning the place of religion in national life. To the religious Jew, the very essence of the Jewish people is derived from a religious concept. It is a Torah that must guide the national life. Hence the demands for public observance of the Sabbath, the laws of kashrut and, above all, the laws of personal status such as marriage and divorce. Bitter disputes have arisen revolving about these areas, particularly the right to marry and divorce at will, but no religious problem so affects the future of Israel as the definition of “Who is a Jew.”
The religious Jew, if pressed to the wall, can survive without a compulsory Sabbath law; if Jews do not observe this Sabbath, they can, hopefully, observe the next one. Massive and permanent damage to the Jewish soul will not occur if a national law banning unkosher food is not passed; if the Jew eats ham on Monday, there is hope that on Tuesday he will be brought around. But the question of “Who is a Jew” is quite another matter. If “today” is not observed properly, there is no tomorrow. If the halachic definition of a Jew as one who is born of a Jewish mother or who converts ACCORDING TO HALACHIC is breached today, what may happen is that, within the next ten years, there will be two nations within Israel, with special listings kept of those Jews whose families are religiously Jewish and from whom one can choose a spouse. That “nation” will be separate from the other one, and bitterness, recriminations and division will make it impossible for the State to endure. In short, what is at stake here is the very unity and survival of ONE Jewish people.
The great obstacle to recognition by all Jews of imperative need to accept the halachic definition of a Jew – for the sake of Jewish unity – lies the galut that has crept into Israel. None have been so crippled by this disease of inferiority and shame of being Jewish as some of the staunches sabras within the Jewish state.
So much of the opposition to ALL religious definitions and observances comes from an attempt on the part of large segments of sabras to escape their Jewishness. It is no coincidence that so many of the same leaders in the fight against religion are also leaders in the fight to “de-Zionize” Israel. The mind boggles at the thought! Israel without Zionism! Israel free of Judaism and Jewishness! Yet, this is what thousands and thousands of Israelis are now expounding. One does not, now, speak of the many who have seized upon this as a rationale for their demands that Jewish immigration to Israel be curbed because there are not enough houses for Israeli-born Jews. These are people who merely use the concept because they are concerned with immediate personal problems. What must concern us, more, is the sabra who ideologically proclaims himself an Israeli first and a Jew second; who looks down upon Jews in the Diaspora and sees little connection between himself and them; who demands that religion and nationality be sundered and who finds more in common with non-Jews when he travels abroad than with Jews (and who all too often consciously avoids Jews when he travels outside of Israel).
Such a Jew is a galut Jew, pure and simple, though born in Mishmar Ha’emek a kibbutznik of the first order. When the son of the mayor of Jerusalem writes a book and candidly states his Israelism over his Jewishness as he sits next to his non-Jewish wife, we are faced with a serious problem. It is not only that those who cut away their Israelism from their Jewishness and who deride Zionism have no right to be in Israel (for it is only the eternal Jewish foreigners to come from Russia or Yemen and take away the land from the Arabs). What is being evidenced here is an embarrassment at being Jewish. When a Jew outside of Israel cries out: “Nihyeh b’chol hagoyim” (Let us be amongst all the nations”), the Jew inside Israel proclaims “Nihyeh k”col hagoyim” (Let us be as all of the nations”). In the end it is the same. It is an attempt to escape the uniqueness of the Jewish people with all its obligations and responsibilities. It is an effort to do away with two things. Achdut Yisroel, the unity of the Jewish people, and its immediate and necessary corollary, Ahavat Yisroel, the love of the Jewish people, the need to run to their aid whenever they may be and the ability to recognize that problem of a Jew in Moscow is as much a problem for the sabra as the shelling of Beit She’an.
Written July 23, 1971
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