During the first three Wednesdays in February, as part of an Edah/JCC series, I had the opportunity to discuss the crisis affecting Religious Zionism, especially after Gush Qatif and Amonah. There are so many issues upon which it touches that I found the effort dizzying. There is the ongoing kulturkampf against the Torah, the self-evident fatigue of secular Zionism (aka Post-Zionism/Post-Judaism), the millenial disappointment engendered in Religious Zionist circles (of the Rav Kook variety) by the so-called ‘Disengagement,’ the smug self-satisfaction of the religious community that refuses to take responsibility for its own religious and moral short-comings, the cognitive egocentrism that inheres to Israeli evaluations of the rise of Hamas, the loss of faith in our security forces created by the bloodlust of the police (and the interim PM) at Amonah…The list just keeps on going.
My basic point was, and remains, that we have to recast our thinking about Zionism and the religious significance of the State of Israel. To begin with, as Samuel Butler put it, ‘Extremes are alone logical, but they are always absurd.' So, I think we have to summarily reject both the Leibowitzan denial of any religious significance to the State and the messianism of Rav Kook, père and fils. The former borders on religious fascism and the latter, well, we all know what it does….
What’s left? That will come, אי"ה, in the next post.