Monday, April 11, 2005

On Neo-Satmarism: The Word from the Out of Step Jew

In line with my postings about the crisis of Religious Zionism, I thought I"d quote this posting by 'An Out of Step Jew':

We have written often in the past of the terrible strain that the hitnatkut (disengagement from Gaza) is having on the religious –Zionist community in Israel. There has been talk of a "disengagement" from Zionism and the Sate of Israel for betraying the messianic vision and some rabbis and small groups of people have changed views and habits as a result. Some of the more extreme reactions though were a long time coming as a certain group of religious-Zionists have been drifting to the anti-Zionist haredi camp for a long while. This is just the excuse to make the break that would have come otherwise.
But no matter the group or the views (the very few and very young fanatics aside) in the back of everyone's mind is the knowledge that come what may, we still have to live here. The country must be defended, the land must be settled, Torah must be learned and a living must be made.
Lately, I have been hearing of and from groups of American religious-Zionists, or American haredi-Zionists and those from Chabad who have always supported Israel but whose eagerness to destroy the State of Israel as it is now constituted can only be described as neo-Satmarist. The neo-Satmarist ideologues seem to have adopted a scorched earth policy where any and every fact, article or myth that weakens Zionism and the infrastructure of the Jewish state must be circulated and believed. The American neo-Satmarists have decided that without a Jewish presence in Gaza the Jewish State has no justification.
Of course, the neo-Satmarists don't have to live here. They don't have to live with the consequences of soldiers who disobey orders or of young boys and girls who attack soldiers and policemen. They don't have to continue building their lives and raising their children on the rubble that they hope will come but can walk through thst rubble back to their homes in Teaneck, Beverly Hills, Skokie, Jamaica Estates and other hitnachluyot on the West Bank of the Atlantic.
You can criticize Israel and its government all you want. But that is no reason to de-legitimize the lives of nearly six million Jews who decided, for good and for bad, to live and build a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.
There was never room for the destructive Satmarist ideology in this Jewish world, this is not the time for a neo-Satmarist revival.


Oysvurf said...

With all due respect to out of Step Jew, his view is black and white.

First off, there are certainly "neo-Satmarists" here in Israel - probably even nore so than in the US (those people were never connected to Israel in any event - armchair Zionists or ant-Zionists can rock their rocking chair any which way they want to depending upon the weather).

Secondly, there IS what to learn from the separation of Satmar and the Charedim from the State. Sure, they carried it out to a warped extreme into a very sick lifestyle. However, we can't sacrifice all our Jewish values on the altar of Zionism or even the State. If we do so the result is Gen. Elazar Sten, Judge Elyakim Rubestein, Yonatan Bassi, and Shin-Bet Jewish Section Commander Menachem Landau. Is that what we want for our chidlren?

Some separation from the state is good. Modern Orthodoxy hasn't had much experience living under an oppressive regime (except a few short years in the 1930's in Germany - during which it failed miserably at dealing with the situation). It's time to start learning how to.

No one is suggesting that we destroy Israel - but we must set our red lines very clearly.

Joe in Australia said...

I'm no fan of Satmar, but it's not appropriate to use their name as a term of abuse. Satmar is a large and community and their ideology is much more complex than opposition to the State of Israel.I'm sure you don't like it when people use "Zionist" to mean "racist" or "colonialist", but by calling your ideological enemies "neo-Satmarists" you're using a similar technique and mischaracterising both groups.