A few days ago, this appeared on Ynet, as well as ion other English-language News sites; Rabbi: Disengage From State.
“A prominent Jewish messianist has called for religious Jews to disengage from the State of Israel due to the evacuation of Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip last summer.”
“In a new book entitled ‘Between Light and Darkness,’ Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, a leader of the Chabad Chassidic sect that believes its Chief Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the messiah, says religious Jews should view the secular government as an “administrative body, like the British government who controlled Israel before the country’s establishment.”
The article itself is a must read, but with some important conditions and qualifications.
For Instance, the article attributes Rabbi Wolpe as saying; “The religious Zionist public should prove that the State is unholy, and cannot serve as a means for achieving salvation. It must not pray for the country’s wellbeing. We are now in exile and are waiting for the kingdom of the house of David.”
It seems to me that we must seperate and make a distinction between the State, the Medina, the “Authority”, and the country.
Understand that this writer refrained from saying Hallel in any way, shape or form this past Yom Hatsma’ot because of the feeling that in no way should we be displaying any support or kinship with an evil, vindictive “authority.”
However, when we speak about the country and the country’s well-being; the country is us; you and me, the people and our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who fight to defend it.
Ynet reports that “In the book itself, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is referred to as a ‘false Messiah’ and as Haman, the historic nemesis of the Jewish people.”
“The bulk of the book is dedicated to the disengagement plan and to the uncertainties it spurred within the religious Zionist public.”
“‘So many prayers were said from the bottom of the heart in the last year, in a bid to prevent the eviction and destruction,’ Wolpe writes. ‘The heart must wonder, why did God do this to this land? How is it possible that such a wicked man like the prime minister was able to jump over so many political hurdles, until he achieved his goal, the crime of the withdrawal’ he asks, and answers:
‘It is we that gave him the power. We determined that him, his state and his government are the beginning of our salvation. We blessed him before an open bible every Saturday. With such powers, it is no wonder that the false messiah storms forward without stopping, while taking his devotees and the rest of the Israeli people down to the abyss with him.'”
Rabbi Wolpe is correct; “it is we that gave him the power”, that it was those who voted for Sharon[rather than voting for a faith-based party such as Herut which featured Baruch Marzel] under false pretenses who brought him into power. MB
But this writer did not, nor I doubt, did most others bless him each Shabbos for the prayer many of us say is for the IDF, not for the Prime Minister and his government, or if many did, it would be for the Prime Minister and his government to uphold their obligations and responsibilities to the nation that they govern. To all of this, Arik Sharon and his Ministers, government and Knesset have total abrogated their responsibilities for leadership, security, civil and human rights for ALL of it’s Jewish constituents under law. MB
Rabbi Wolpe wrote in his book categorizing Sharon as a “False Moshiach.” Maybe he perceived this, but categorically NOT! Not even close! Dare this writer venture the opinion that any religious Jew who saw Arik Sharon as “Moshiach” is a heretic. MB
Rather than Rabbi Wolpe’s premise that religious Jews must “disengage from Israel”, the fact is that in the run-up to the Expulsion and on the day of the deed, large numbers of religious Jews didn’t do enough actions, didn’t appropriately use the time of the event (vacation time) to our advantage, didn’t put their lives on hold, didn’t forgo that summer vacation, the 5 star accomodations in the Gallilee, etc. The Jews didn’t pass Hashem’s test and so the event happened.
Rather than Rabbi Wolpe’s scenario, let’s propose another way via of pertinent links, two or three other tacks;
“Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, formerly representing Agudat Yisrael in parliament, is working to draft joint ‘red lines’ for all right-wing and religious political parties.”
“Rabbi Eichler said that his efforts are aimed at foiling a divide-and-conquer approach from being effective against the religious and right-wing parties. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used such an approach successfully after the last elections, according to Eichler, ultimately destroying both the Torah world and the Jewish communities of Gaza and northern Samaria. “‘And his hand is still outstretched for more,’ the former MK warned.”
“Rabbi Eichler said that he is working on drafting key non-negotiable positions for all religious and right-wing parties to agree upon ahead of coalition negotiations for the next government. He is seeking to prevent a situation in which, among the right-wing and religious parties, ‘in order to get some extra kneideleh [matzah ball], one [party] will enter [the coalition] at the expense of another.‘”
“The first stage in forming his envisioned right-religious coalition, Rabbi Eichler said, is forming a single Hareidi bloc including Shas, Agudat Yisrael and Degel HaTorah. However, Eichler admitted that such a bloc is difficult to generate. Shas, he said, is concerned about losing traditionalist, but not Orthodox, voters to the secular parties should the Sephardic movement agree to join Ashkenazi Hareidim in one party.”
Moshe Feiglin was recently interviewed regarding his Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership faction within Likud). He spoke about a study made by Manhigut Yehudit to ascertain the ideals of Likud members.
“According to Feiglin, the campaign managers were encouraged by the ideals of Manhigut members but embarked on an extensive study to determine which of those ideals are most important to the average Likud voter. “When they came back to us with these four points, we were very encouraged, as it showed that the Likud voters are in fact very healthy.”
The four Manhigut points most valued by Likud members were:
1. Family values. “As odd as it sounds, nobody is mentioning family values,” Feiglin said. “People don’t know, but today, if you decide to build a family in Israel, you are punished to the tune of thousands of shekels a month.” Feiglin provided an example of an unmarried couple, with three or four kids even, paying about a tenth of the taxes a married couple in the same situation would pay. He said Manhigut members have long spoken and written about preserving family values and that legislation to address the specific law discriminating against married couples was already being put forward by Manhigut’s Michael Fuah.
2. Education. Feiglin said the average Likud member answered in the affirmative to the following question. “Do you think that every Israeli kid – not necessarily religious – should have one hour a day of Jewish tradition, Jewish history or Jewish values – not religious learning, but Jewish learning?” He said the pollsters were stunned by the results. “If I would ask NRP voters or Hareidi voters I could understand, but these are Likud voters,” Feiglin marveled.
3. Security. “We are not only talking about completely erasing the Oslo process, the Oslo direction, but going back from that direction,” Feiglin said. “[The Likudniks] all agreed that only Moshe Feiglin can really go away from that direction. Not only that, but our platform that talks about annexing the land and declaring sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel still in our hands gets a very good response as well.”
4. Supreme Court. “Manhigut Yehudit is talking about coming out with a new law that judges of the Supreme court will be elected by the people, not by themselves, as is the current practice,” Feiglin said. “It can either be directly or through the Knesset, but definitely elected by the people and representing the people’s values.”
“Sharon’s departure from the Likud maintains and even intensifies the political earthquake shaking Israel in the past weeks. But what began with the victory of Amir Peretz in the Labor party and continued with Sharon does not seem to be the last word. All the political evaluations, all the calculations and strategies, all the time worn truths have collapsed. An important reality is becoming clear — a truth that the belief based public must take note of. The new line dividing Israel has been revealed.”
“It was always just under the surface, but now it is unmistakable. Israeli society divides into two: Israelis and Jews. There are those who see themselves first as Jews and only then as Israelis. And there are others who see themselves first as Israelis and only after that as Jews. When Sharon left the Likud, this divide became obvious and can no longer be ignored. From the Likud and to the right are the Jews. From Sharon’s party and to the Left are the Israelis. Public opinion on all pertinent issues in Israeli life — peace, security, economy, education, society and foreign relations — are essentially formed by the question: Who are we first? Israelis or Jews?”
Baruch Marzel is a Tzaddik by accounts of many Rabbis I know. He and Political Professor Paul Eidelberg (of the small Yamin Uisrael Party) have joined forces under the banner of the Hazit Party (the Jewish National Front). The article linked here, The Baby Had A Bad Heart sums up the founding principles of Marzel, Eidelberg and their newly formed Hazit party.
“The baby was born as a miracle. But 20 years later it was discovered that the baby was born with a bad heart. To survive, the infant, now an adult, needed a heart transplant. Before the operation could take place, however, brain damage set it. It was too late.”
“This is how some rabbis read the story of the secular State of Israel, now under the heartless and brainless government of Ariel Sharon. We have a serious issue here.”
Dr. Eidelberg then lays out some facts:
“First, the policy of “land for peace” pursued by both Likud and Labor governments is truncating the State, thus postponing the settlement of the country as foretold by the prophets of Israel.”
“Second, the Labor government of 1992-1996 deJudaized the curriculum of the public schools, such that countless students now believe that Arabs have as much right as Jews to the Land of Israel. Labor’s object: to transform Israel into ‘a state of its citizens,’ i.e., a conventional secular state.”
“Third, both Labor and Likud governments pursued an immigration policy that allowed hundreds of thousands of non-Jews to enter the State of Israel, clearly to diminish the power of the religious Jewish community, whose birth rate far exceeds that of non-religious Jews.”
In view of these facts, the State has become a barrier to Israel’s complete redemption. …The religious parties, despite their good deeds, have actually facilitated this anti-Jewish agenda. Three facts demonstrate this assertion.
First, were it not for Shas joining the Labor-Meretz government in 1992, that government would have died before it was born, and Oslo would never have happened.
Second, the National Religious Party joined and propped up the 2003 Sharon government despite its coalition guidelines, which bound the signatories to the Oslo Agreement.
Third, United Torah Judaism, which denies that the State is an instrument of the redemption joined the Sharon-Peres government of 2004, which doomed Gaza and northern Samaria and their 25 Jewish communities.
The point is, disengage from the government, vote them all out, and send them away on a rail, but don’t disengage from Israel, from the Land of Israel and from Jewish destiny.
In a future post, I will deal with the pros and cons of each tack regarding how best to bring about Jewish faith-based govenment in Israel. MB