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Like the Kingdom of Judah, Judea and Samaria today are far more religiously and politically conservative than the rest of Israel

Like the Kingdom of Judah, Judea and Samaria today are far more religiously and politically conservative than the rest of Israel; a major proportion of the settler movement, if not a majority, is dominated by nationalist-minded Orthodox Jews. This is increasingly the case in Jerusalem as well, where the ultra-Orthodox haredim form a plurality and constitute the most potent political force in the city. That portion of Israel inside the Green Line, particularly the urbanized stretch along the Mediterranean coast from Tel Aviv to Haifa often referred to as “North Tel Aviv”, reflects many of the characteristics of the ancient northern kingdom. Dominated by secular values, far more prosperous and diversified economically, it is the heartland of what has been termed recently “the start-up nation.” The coastal area and its elites have little sympathy for the settlers, the haredim and the political and religious values they espouse.

Dov S. Zakheim, “The Geopolitics of Scripture,” The American Interest (July/August 2012), .9

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The basic problem with Jewish life today is its overwhelming emphasis on crisis

The basic problem with Jewish life today is its overwhelming emphasis on crisis. We fight. We “weigh in”. We identify enemies and proclaim loyalties. We hold high-level meetings to discuss our “brand”. We defend Israel as though our lives were at stake or criticize Israel with the passion of a democratic evangelist. We accost those Jews who fail to enlist in the cause, as though any minute we may need them to storm Washington, as we did in the decades when a million of our brethren were imprisoned behind Soviet lines.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with combating activism or fighting the Iranian bomb. There are dangers out there, both political forces and simple ignorance that put Jewish life at risk. Our crises are not manufactured. But just as an individual’s life cannot be defined solely through his struggle for survival, isn’t there something disturbing about a Jewish identity defined principally by the constant effort to put a halt to terrible things? Welcome to fire extinguisher Judaism.
What’s missing is a coherent content to our identity, a positive message, a set of beloved things and ideas – other than ourselves and our organizations and the state we’ve built – to which we proclaim allegiance, in which we invest time and effort to understand, which we embrace as possessing the keys to ourselves and our future.

David Hazony, “Welcome to Fire Extinguisher Judaism” Moment (May/June 2010), 20.

“All Zionists agree also that an undivided Jerusalem must remain Israel’s capital”

All Zionists agree also that an undivided Jerusalem must remain Israel’s capital. This is a matter of intense importance, not only to Israel and its supporters, but to humanity as a whole. During the nineteen years that Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, thirty-four of the thirty-five synagogues in the Jewish Quarter were contemptuously blasted into dusty rubble. Thirty-eight thousand Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives were wantonly destroyed; many tombstones were used to pave Jordanian army latrines. Even Christians residing in Israel weren’t not allowed to visit their shrines in the Old City.

Roland B. Gittelsohn, Partners in Destiny: Reform Judaism and Zionism (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1984), 10.

“To understand Zionism in anything more than a superficial sense, we need to examine its indigenous origins in Jewish tradition”

To describe Zionism purely as a modern, socio-political phenomenon makes about as much sense as to explain my career entirely in terms of events since the day I was ordained a rabbi, as if my genetic heritage, my childhood and adolescence, my undergraduate studies and extracurricular activities had nothing to do with making me what I am today.

 

Of course there have been external tendencies and trends which have helped shape the nature of Zionism, among them Emancipation, Enlightenment, massive anti-Semitism, and the burgeoning of nationalism throughout the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But these have been like the winds and rains which influence the ultimate growth of a tree. Without seeds and roots, wind and rain would produce only gullies, not living organisms. To understand Zionism in anything more than a superficial sense, we need to examine its indigenous origins in Jewish tradition.

Roland B. Gittelsohn, Partners in Destiny: Reform Judaism and Zionism (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1984), 1.