Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Religious Zionism at a Crossroads (The Other "Disengagement" - Part 2)

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of articles by religious Zionist personalities discussing the future of religious Zionism in the wake of "Disengagement". With the expulsion of Jews, destruction of Jewish communities, dismantling of Synagogues and houses of Torah study in the Land of Israel taking place - being carried out by Jewish soldiers and police, as ordered by the Jewish government of the Jewish State of Israel, we have reached the moment of truth.

I have no doubt that the entire religious Zionist movement is doing a collective soul searching to see where we may have gone wrong, what lessons can be learned from this tragedy and what are the plans for the future. At the same time, and no less important, I envision that this soul searching is being done by every individual Religious Zionist Jew in Israel, as well.

Among the questions that are being asked:

* Did we place too much emphasis on the value of the Land of Israel and settlement, and not enough on reaching out to our Jewish brothers and sisters to help them understand the values which we hold to be so dear?

* Were we remiss in not working to strengthen the Jewish educational curriculum of Israeli public schools and other bodies, leaving them to be run by Meretz, as opposed to solely focusing on our own institutions?

* Can we still work together with the State of Israel as a partner, when we feel betrayed by nearly all of her major institutions: the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the Army, the Police, the media...?

* Who are now the partners of Religious Zionism? The secular public, or the ultra-Orthodox who choose to separate themselves from the workings of the State?

* Is it possible, with greater involvement, for Religious Zionism to make a meaningful difference in the above mentioned bodies and institutions? If not, what implications does one draw?

* Is there anyone in government today that we can rely on? Who are our leaders?

* How do we reconcile the conflicting opinions that emanated from Religious Zionist Rabbis as to how to respond and protest the "Disengagement" (refusing orders, blocking roads...)? Are we a united, single camp, or divided, competing factions?

The answers to these questions will have a tremendous effect on the future of the State of Israel, and the unity of the Jewish People... The question that remains is:

* Who ultimately decides what the answer of the Religious Zionist movement will be?


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