Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Melt

Ready for a trick question...

Today's Ha'aretz reports on the reason for the decline in enrollment at Israel's Universities Judaic studies courses and the connection with Israel's "Disengagement" from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron:
"What do the roots of the rebellion against the disengagement have to do with the closing of the Talmud Department at Tel Aviv University? A great deal. What's the connection between rabbinical invective and the decline in popularity of Judaic Studies at the universities? ".

Here's the "answer" according to Gideon Samet of Ha'aretz:
It's very direct. Here's the connection: the false identification of Judaism with political fanaticism

As I see it, the reason for the decline of enrollment within the Judaic studies departments at Israel's universities is not as a result of any connection between Judaism and politics, but as a result of Israeli society "disengaging" itself from its Jewish identity and heritage.

Here's a clear example that proves this point from another article in Ha'aretz:
Next year a surprising new subject will be added to the subjects on which every high-school student must be tested for the matriculation exams (bagrut) - multiculturalism. In the framework of an experimental program that will be run only in Jerusalem, students from three different populations will study together in one class - secular Jews, religious Jews and Arabs.

For three years, the students will learn that each sector in Israeli society has a different identity and culture, and these differences should be stressed rather than blurred for the sake of the common "melting pot."

When the government of the State of Israel decides to "Disengage" itself from the Land of Israel (and discriminates against any who oppose their decision), when the Supreme Court rules that any national park that is on land where an Arab village once was must have a sign declaring that fact with how many refugees currently exist as a result, and when as part of the mandatory matriculation exam one must now study multi-culturalism - why on earth would one want to study Judaic studies, when clearly the State is trying to distance itself through its policies from all things Jewish and to replaced with an "melting pot" of Israeliness?!?


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