Sunday, May 20, 2012

J.Post May 20: Haredim and Zionism

Sir,– [My initial impression from reading Martin Stern's "Why haredim should not be Zionists", was that it was written by a haredi living in Manchester trying hard to present himself with the most fragile excuses why not to make Aliyah. A deeper analysis, I feel unfortunately, indicates a far more serious misunderstanding of the meaning of Zionism and its pivotal role in Jewish history.]

In contrast to Martin Stern, I would have proposed the following title: “Why every Jew must be a Zionist.”

Stern himself adopts the secular Zionist narrative that relates its beginning, with Theodor Herzl in the 19th century. I posit that Jews have “yearned” for and dreamed of Zion for well over 2,000 years.

[Psalm 137 states very poignantly how at the rivers of Babylon Jews wept when remembering Zion and pledged their hearts, minds, and right hands, to not permitting Jerusalem to fade from their memories. This yearning and desire for Zion has been incorporated in the Jewish psyche throughout the vicissitudes of our history and most certainly did not originate with or was it dependent on their persecution. The Land of Israel provides the most natural, nutritive, and supportive environment, where the Jew can utilize the latent gifts of his genius to the benefit of all mankind, and it calls out to him to come home.]

Religious Jews were at the forefront of the moves to return to Zion, and many individual luminaries, Hassidic groups as well as followers of the Vilna Gaon, made their way to the Holy Land despite its desolation and depopulation.

The grievances cited by Stern about the army or the Supreme Court pale in significance when one understands the meaning and challenges of Jewish sovereignty in our own homeland.

God works in mysterious ways and the fact that secular Jews were the prime movers of the return to Zion in the 20th century should disturb us no more than His choice of Gideon or Yiftah to come to the aid of His people in time of need.

The Jew must recognize that miracles take place for Israel every day. The miracle of our army; our achievements in the in-gathering of the exiles while maintaining a robust economy; our hi-tech world leadership; our yeshivot and our universities all serve to glorify and enhance His name.

Petah Tikva

[Image Credit: Effi B.]