April 6, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Yair Sheleg on Religious Zionism at a crossroads

Haaretz : Historic decision for religious Zionism

During the past decades, two different streams have been claimants to religious Zionism. One of them, which we'll call "the spirit of Bnei Akiva," regards Zionism as part of a general process of returning to historic reality, of integration with and consideration toward the family of nations. Therefore, it has also adopted the values of modern culture.

The other stream, referred to as hardali (nationalist and ultra-Orthodox), is itself divided into two.

Its "messianic" component regards Zionism as part of the process of mythic redemption, which is supposed to lead to the renewal of the Kingdom of Israel and realization of the ideal of a solitary people who "ignore the goyim."

The "earthly" component of the hardali stream did not nurture plans of redemption, but it also failed to understand the significance of responsibility and the new conditions of sovereign life. It believed that the same halakha that developed in the Diaspora could also continue to be maintained under conditions of sovereignty.

The common denominator between these two components of the hardali stream is a blindness to the reality of Israeli life and to the fact that a failure to internalize what the conditions of sovereignty mean is liable itself to lead to their ruin.

Due the fact that both of these streams wear similar knitted kippa and serve in the IDF, the sharp differences in worldview were blurred - not only for those looking in from outside, but even more critically, within the stream itself.

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