Israel inherited—and could not avoid—the radical disagreements that had always made Zionism so alive. The early battles among Zionist thinkers lingered on. Bialik and others had advocated the creation of a secularized “new Jew,” an ideal which religious Zionists emphatically rejected. Herzlian Zionists believed that the Arabs would welcome the Jews with open arms; Ahad Ha-Am was skeptical; Jabotinsky warned of perpetual conflict. In some ways, Israel achieved independence too early; it gained sovereignty before any of these—and many other—debates would be resolved. Israel swept together religious Jews who now had to share a society with secular Jews who rejected everything they stood for and secular Jews who saw in their religious counterparts the very reason for the passivity that had led to the Holocaust. Israel’s Ashkenazi elites knew nothing about and cared not at all for the Mizrachim, while those Jews from North Africa could not abide the secular Western European Jews who seemed the very antithesis of what sustaining the Jewish people and its traditions was all about.
Daniel Gordis, “Tradition, Creativity, and Cognitive Dissonance”, The Jewish Review of Books, vol. 6, no. 3 (Fall 2015), 7-8.