Monday, March 06, 2006

The End of Religious Zionism?

Zvi Grumet writes an opinion piece in Ha'aretz titled 'Too terrifying, too tragic'. The writer says how after making Aliyah he sees "looming is nothing less than the end of religious Zionism."
Grumet cites a few examples of religious Zionists who have lost their faith or are openly antagonistic towards the state and the army.
As someone who made Aliyah around the same time as Grumet and as someone who has investigated the ideals of religious Zionism I feel I am well equipped to respond to these assertions.
Firstly, to make a fact citing a few examples is always going to be problematic. Every rule has exceptions and what makes them exceptions is they go against the rule, hence the people Grumet cites. I have seen a very small number of similar examples, the Shabbat after the disengagement from Gaza I was in a religious Zionist Synagogue and one person walked out during the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel.
I have not seen one other example of this, every Shabbat since I have attended many different religious Zionist Synagogues and each and every one has recited this prayer diligently (with all standing) as well as a prayer for the IDF.
My community recently invited soldiers who are based nearby to eat and sleep by many families in the community. After Shabbat the soldiers, mostly secular, danced with the religious Zionist locals well into the night.
I know several religious Zionists who will always have a snack or a bar of chocolate in their cars to give to soldiers if they pass an army checkpoint.
Of course there will be some people who feel let down after the disengagement and more recently Amona, but the vast overwhelming majority are steadfast in their belief.
Religious Zionism is bigger than any event, I would argue that its foundations and beliefs are the oldest form of Judaism. If anyone asks me what is a good book to learn about religious Zionism I direct them to the Torah.
Religious Zionist youth still have a respect and love for Israel and its institutions that surpasses most other groups. The thousands who were in Gaza during the disengagement were extremely disappointed and angry about what they were witnessing but not one raised a hand against their brother.
This is the essence of religious Zionism; love of our brother, our land and our Torah.

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