Israel / Jewish / Jews / Judaism / Zionism

“…how did a people that envisions itself in prayer as a community of tents, itinerant in the wilderness, become so fixated on construction projects?”

The fact that Oz is an outspoken opponent of occupation and the policies required to attend to it cements his bona fides in making this argument, which is the strongest I know against the moral perversity of the kinds of anti-Zionism that discredit the right of Jews to a nation-state and that subject Israel to disproportionate scrutiny of its security policies to the point of using its failings as means of contesting its legitimacy. Jews, as envisioned in such ideologies, are meant to play a poetic, pristine role in history—in order to serve the convenient theological and political narratives of how the West wants to understand Jews and Judaism. The rendering of the Jews from poetry to prose makes us, in the eyes of our detractors, defilers of the romantic image that both we and they have broadcast of ourselves for 2,000 years, but that only they remain attached to, perhaps because the suffering involved was ours.

Still, how did a people that envisions itself in prayer as a community of tents, itinerant in the wilderness, become so fixated on construction projects? What happens to Judaism as an organizing set of ideas when its core operating mythology—a story of journey and restlessness—is wrenched away in a blaze of military glory, and replaced with an older, loftier, yet dustier version of prophetic arrival, a story that has not been road-tested in thousands of years?

Yehuda Kurtzer, “Unsettled”, Tablet (5 June 2017) [http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/235527/unsettled-2]