Sunday, July 24, 2005

It's Not About Democracy, Stupid... (and it never was)

Much talk has been made about how the "Disengagement plan has been pushed through in rather undemocratic means. In particular, there has been much said about the particularly undemocratic measures taken in order to prevent last week's march to Gush Katif from taking place.

The various examples can be found in the following articles:

1) Nobody is Listening - Ari Shavit and Yair Sheleg - Ha'aretz
2) Democracy and Disengagement - Evelyn Gordon - Jerusalem Post
3) The Settlers Show Their True Colors - Caroline Glick - Jerusalem Post
4) Anti-democratic and stupid - Ofer Shelah - Yediot Achronot

As true as the arguments made in the above articles may be, what can't afford to be overlooked, is that the struggle that we are facing today is not over Israel as a democracy, or whether or not Israel should be "Disengaging" from parts of the Land of Israel.

The true conflict in the State of Israel was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future, over exactly what type of state we are trying to create here, and what the national aspirations of such as state are to be. Democracy and "Disengagement" are mere signposts along a much longer road whose ultimate destination has yet to be determined.

Is the State of Israel meant to be a Jewish State, consistent with the mission set forth by G-d for the Jewish People, as set down in the Torah (both Written and Oral), or are we meant to be "K'chol HaGoyim" - a nation like all others, whereby there is nothing inherently unique or special about the State of Israel, aside from the fact that there is a majority of Jews living there who dictate the policy of the state?

This is the true challenge and conflict facing the State of Israel today and the Jewish People. For the majority of the history of the State of Israel, the government has been forced to deal with external issues (security), as opposed to dealing with the internal rifts that developed within the Jewish People, particularly in Israel. Today, with "Disengagement" upon us, we are being forced to begin to deal with these internal conflicts and challenges.

As such, the political left in Israel has shown that their opposition to the anti-"Disengagement" segment of society is not on democratic grounds or t heir not following / accepting the rule of law, but in the threat they pose to the left, in their opposition to Israel being a state like all others. On the other side of the coin, it is less than honest for the right to portray this as fight over Israel as a democratic state as many on the right have tried to do. Thee fight over disengagement is not over strengthening Israel's democratic system, as far as the right are concerned, but over protecting the Land of Israel, and trying to shape Israel as a truly Jewish State.

It is my fervent hope that the Jewish People will be able to rise up to the challenge and collectively work together to build a State in Israel that will be a source of pride for all of the Jewish People.


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