SCHIZOPHRENIA IN THE
JEWISH COMMUNITY

December 30, 2000
By: S.R. Shearer

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-  George Orwell

"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

"These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." (Rev. 11:3-4)

PART IV

[This is the fourth in a series of articles dealing with the fighting in the Middle East; the first article, Part I, dealt with the question of who the REAL enemy of Israel is in the Middle East, which is to say, the United States. Part II dealt with the Scriptural basis for Israel in God's "Plan and Purpose in the Ages" - espec-ially as it relates to the fighting that is currently raging in the Holy Land over the question of Jerusalem. Part III dealt with the unavoidable rupture that will ultimately and inevitably occur between the Religious Right (on the one hand), and Israel and the Jewish people (on the other hand). This article, Part IV, deals with the a new kind of schizophrenia that has developed in Jewish society, not only in Israel, but in the world-wide Jewish community - and what it all means insofar as "God's Plan and Purpose in the Ages" is concerned.]


The Church
(The Lampstand)
(Revelation 1:20)



Israel
(The Olive Tree)
(Romans 11:15-26)

"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, ... And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." (Zech. 12:2-3)

INTRODUCTION

In our last article, "The Religious Right and Israel: A Relationship That Cannot Hold" (Part III in our series on the fighting in the Middle East), we spoke of the great social and CULTURAL chasm that has developed in the United States between the Left and the Right, and the impact all this is having on Israel. But what most American evangelicals do not know - or if they do "know," they do not comprehend - is that this same phenomenon is occurring in Israel as well, a phenomenon which, like its counterpart in the United States, is cleaving Israeli society right down the middle. All this, of course, is having a very intense effect not just on Israel, but also on the entire world-wide Jewish community - an effect which is impacting Jews in a very PROFOUND and FUNDAMENTAL fashion. And how is that? - it is driving Jews everywhere (both in Israel and elsewhere in the world) back to their own "Jewishness" and forcing them to confront what it means to be a "Jew."

BACKGROUND

Let's back up a little and see. We begin by reviewing what's happening in the United States. You will be shocked as to how similar the processes that are at work in the United States are to those that are at work in Israel - except that in the one instance (Israel's), God means it for good, while in the other instance (the United States), it is perverting evangelicalism and turning the church into nothing more than a spiritually pathetic instrument of the state. [Again, please see our last article, "The Religious Right and Israel: A Relationship That Cannot Hold."]

In our previous essay, we reported that there is a high-intensity legal and political battle raging in the United States between the cultural Left and the cultural Right that may very well engulf all Americans by the time it is finished. It has been going on now for several decades in front of abortion clinics, gay bath houses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, in academia, etc., and from time to time it has even broken out into violence and bloodshed in such divers, out-of-the-way places as Ruby Ridge in Idaho; Mount Carmel near Waco, Texas; and the Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City.

It's a "grassroots" war that is being driven on both sides by "TRUE BELIEVERS" who very much understand that when it is finished ONLY ONE SIDE WILL BE LEFT STANDING. As far as each side is concerned, it is a conflict between the "FORCES OF LIGHT" and the "FORCES OF DARKNESS." As a result, there is no middle ground; no room for compromise - EACH SIDE IS PUSHING FOR TOTAL VICTORY!

Scholars who have studied the differences that divide the two sides report that much of these differences can be attributed to each sides' differing concepts of the state. The Left in the United States [essentially, the Jewish community, labor activists, feminists, white liberals, gays and lesbians, black activists, Latino activists, the "Hollywood set," the "arts community," etc. (i.e., those who are "outsiders" insofar as the "majority culture" is concerned)] subscribes to a UNIVERSALIST concept of the state which holds that ALL inhabitants within the geographic boundaries of any given state - regardless of race, religion, or ethnic affinity - are citizens thereof; that is to say, that citizenship in a state has very little to do with a common heritage or a common set of values, and everything to do with geography (i.e., the fact that people occupy a common geographic area). Thus, the kind of state the Left subscribes to is one which is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural where "flag-waving," nationalism, and patriotism (as it has been commonly understood in the West, or for that matter, most anywhere else) has very little place. Indeed, words like "patriotism" and "nationalism" lie pretty much outside the Left's lexicon - and it is important to note in this connection that it is precisely this concept of the state that the Jews of the Diaspora (i.e., those Jews living outside the nation of Israel, and most particularly, liberal Jews living in the United States) subscribe to (more about this later).

The Right, on the other hand, subscribes to a wholly different concept of the state - a concept which places much more value on a common ethnicity, a common heritage, a common set of values, and where kinship, religion, nationalism, and "patriotism" play much more prominent roles in the life of the nation than they do in the "universalist" state of the Left. It's here - in the Right's world-view - that concepts like "patriotism" and "nationalism" find their home, and where "flag waving" is part of the "game" - and contrary to, and in almost total juxtaposition to the Jews of the Diaspora, this is the concept of the state that the majority of Jews in Israel (at least "observant" Jews and those that form the opposition to Ehud Barak's present left-wing government in Israel, i.e., the Likud, etc.) subscribe to (more about this later).

THE CIVIC NATION vs. THE ETHNIC NATION

Expanding on all this, Paul Hockenos, in his book Free to Hate: the Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe, writes:

"In the lively academic discourse that has grown around nationalism, scholars distinguish two general concepts of the nation: (1) the civic or democratic (i.e., the "universalist" state of the Left), and (2) the ethnic (i.e., the "nationalist" state of the Right). The civic definition (i.e., the Left's definition), with its roots in the French Revolution, uses "nation" to refer to a body of citizens whose collective sovereignty constitutes a state ... referring to all of the people who live within a state, regardless of their ethnicity, language, (religion), or other characteristics ...

"The ethnic nation (i.e., the Right's definition), on the other hand, is a ... community bound (together) not by a common ... border (so much) ... as by descent, language, customs ... history ... (and RELIGION) ... Rights and privileges are acquired by birth into the ethnic nation (and/or by the acceptance of the culture and religion of the majority group by the "outsider"), and not upon citizenship [based on birth within a given geographic boundary; for example, in Germany - even today - being born within the borders of the German state does not automatically confer German citizenship on a person (as it would in the United States). One must also possess a blood relationship to the German people through either one's birth mother or one's birth father. The same is true for most other European states]. For ethnic nationalists, the (ethnic) nation is a natural unit ... (and) ... each nation has its own unique, mystical destiny towards which it aspires, and which other nations impede at the cost of war ..."

Moreover, in connection with this - and contrary to a lot of what one hears in academia today - it's not the idea of the "civic nation" or "universalist" state that is the most widely accepted definition of nationhood in the world today, but the description of the "ethnic nation" or the "nationalist" state that is the most widespread. For example, that's what Israel is today - an ethnic state; a state, the citizenship of which is based on membership in the Jewish "race" and the Jewish religion. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, that is what being an Israeli is all about! - and not just Israel, but Germany (i.e., "Germany for the Germans"), Russia (i.e., "Russia for the Russians"), the Japanese (i.e., "Japan for the Japanese"), China (i.e., "China for the Chinese"), ad nauseum. ETHNICITY COUNTS IN THIS WORLD - AND THAT'S THE FACT OF THE MATTER!

Hockenos then makes a very profound and exceedingly insightful observation - one which has very crucial and acute consequences for the cultural war (Kultur Kampf) that is being waged right now between the Left and the Right in both the United States and Israel; he says:

"THE ETHNIC NATION IS AT ODDS WITH THE PREMISES OF ... (THE CIVIC) NATION ... AND PRESENTS A ... RECIPE FOR CONFLICT IN THE COMBUSTIBLE (WORLD OF TODAY) ...

In other words, when a large or influential segment of a country's population subscribes to one of these concepts (for example, the Left's concept of a "universalist" state), and another equally large or influential segment subscribes to the other view (for example, the Right's concept of an "ethnic" state), a cultural explosion will be the inevitable result - and that is precisely what the fighting in the United States between the Left and the Right is all about: the definition of "nationhood" and the fundamental understanding of what the state is all about. But more, THIS IS ALSO EXACTLY WHAT THE SPARRING BETWEEN THE LEFT (i.e., the "party of peace" in Israel which is centered around Barak) AND THE RIGHT (i.e., the "hard-liners" which are centered around Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon) IN ISRAEL IS ALL ABOUT TOO.

THE FISSURE THAT'S BEEN CREATED IN
THE WORLD-WIDE JEWISH COMMUNITY

The split in Israeli society over this issue (i.e., the definition of "nationhood") is particularly acute because it illuminates the growing fissure between those Jews who live in Israel as opposed to those who continue to reside in the Diaspora (again, those Jews who live outside Israel, and most particularly, those who reside in the United States). The very real fact of the matter is, the "political" and "life" strategies for those who live in Israel and who want to see Israel continue to exist as a "Jewish state" must - OF NECESSITY - be diametrically opposed to the "political" and "life" strategies of those Jews who continue for one reason or another to reside in the Diaspora.

In the Diaspora, the Jews are "Outsiders" looking in; in Israel, however, Jews are the "Insiders" who in a very real sense occupy a position analogous to the position white, Anglo-Saxon Christians occupy in this country: they are "The Establishment," the "Insiders" who enjoy the "inside track" socially and politically and have things pretty much their own way.

To many Jews, however, this rather new and somewhat novel turn of events has been very disturbing and troubling. It runs counter to everything they have worked for in the so-called "Christian West" for almost 250 years since the French Revolution: the creation of a concept of "citizenship" where "race" and "ethnicity" play little or no part, and where Jews can be granted "full-citizenship" rights alongside Christians while not at the same time being forced to "convert."

Indeed, so successful have the Jews of the Diaspora been in pushing this concept of citizenship in the West, and especially in the United States, that Benjamin Ginsberg, a Jewish political scientist, can write:

"... (Christian) religious symbols and (Christian) forms of expression that Jews find threatening have been almost completely eliminated from schools and other public institutions (in the United States). Suits brought by the ACLU, an organization whose leadership and membership are predominantly Jewish, secured federal court decisions banning officially sanctioned prayers in the public schools and creches and other (Christian) religious displays in parks and public buildings." [Please see Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993)]

THE PATHOLOGY JEWS UNLEASHED AGAINST CHRISTIANS IN THE U.S. IS NOW WORKING AGAINST THEM IN ISRAEL

However, in employing the strategy Ginsberg describes above insofar as the U.S. is concerned, Jews may have painted themselves into a corner in Israel insofar as public opinion in the world at large is concerned - a corner that they may find there is no way out for them on any kind of philosophical (or "public relations") basis. Why? - because, as the saying goes, "What is good for the goose is also good for the gander." In other words, how can the Jews argue with a straight face that multi-culturalism is okay for them as a minority in the United States, but not okay for "minority" Palestinians in Israel? Why is it WRONG to make Christianity and "euro-centraism" the philosophical basis around which the institutions of America are arranged, but it's RIGHT to make Judaism and the Jewish "race" (i.e., "ethnicity") the basis around which the institutions of Israel are arranged? Why are "religion" and "ethnicity" wrong for the United States, but right for Israel?

The Jews in America, of course, would retort that they are not "anti-Christian," and that their sole aim in helping to create a multi-cultural society in the United States has been merely to provide an atmosphere in which they and other minorities (like the blacks, the Latinos, gays and lesbians, etc.) can also FULLY participate in the affairs of the state; that the civilization in the United States remains for all practical purposes a "Christian" civilization if only because the great majority of those living in the United States remain Christian; that all they have aimed at is the removal of the civilization's "rough edges." BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE PALESTINIANS ARE SAYING TO JEWS IN ISRAEL! - and it appears to most "outsiders" to be pretty hypocritical for Jews to argue otherwise.

INCONSISTENCIES: PEOPLE
NOTICE THESE KINDS OF THINGS

Jews of the Diaspora, as well as countless numbers of Jews in Israel, are left reeling at the implications of all this. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT! - CHRISTIANS EVERYWHERE, MANY OF WHOM ARE NOT AT ALL FRIENDLY TO THE JEWS AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL - HAVE RECOGNIZED THE INCONSISTENCY HERE AND HAVE TAKEN NOTE OF THAT FACT, and are, as a result, making use of this inconsistency to undermine Jewish opposition to their efforts to create ("re-create") a Christian society in the United States. [Again, please see our last newsletter, "The Religious Right and Israel; A Relationship That Cannot Hold."]

And not only that, but Palestinians and Arabs (as well as Islamists everywhere) have also noticed what's occurring, and are likewise using this inconsistency against the Jews - that is to say, they (i.e., the Arabs and the Palestinians) are beginning to employ the same strategy against Israel that the Jews of the Diaspora employed against Christians in the West by urging the creation of an Israel where "religion" and "race" count for little or nothing - the kind of "secularized" state that the Jews in the United States have pushed; the kind of state where Judaism would be reduced to the same status that Christianity in this country has been reduced to; in other words, the creation of a religiously "neutral" Israel. After all, say the Arabs, what's the difference in this instance between what they (i.e., the Palestinians) are urging on Israel as opposed to what Jews in the Diaspora have urged on the United States and the other nations of the West.

The fact is, today in Israel religion and racial ethnicity are the means through which "Outsiders" are differentiated from "Insiders." They are the means through which Israel seeks to maintain Israel as a "Jewish state" - a homeland to Jews seeking to flee persecution elsewhere in the world. Liberal Jews - especially those Jews clustered around Barak's peace coalition - seek to minimize this fact. But there it is! - and to deny the fact that today in Israel members of the Jewish religion and the Jewish "race" are very obviously given an "insider" track to those who are not Jews by birth and / or religion is to deny reality itself - and all this despite the fact that some small concession with regard to citizenship has been made in the direction of those Arabs who refused to "cut and run" during and after Israel's War of Independence.

AMERICA'S OIL ELITES SEIZE UPON THESE
INCONSISTENCIES AND USE THEM AGAINST THE JEWS

The inconsistency between what the Jewish community is pushing in the United States and what it is pushing in Israel is so glaring that one would have to be blind not to see it - AND IT IS EXACTLY UPON THIS INCONSISTENCY THAT ISRAEL'S GREATEST ENEMY - THE OIL ELITES IN THE UNITED STATES - HAVE POUNCED ON TO "NEUTRALIZE" THE JEWISH CHARACTER OF ISRAEL AND NULLIFY IT AS A HOMELAND FOR THE JEWS.

And, again, why is it exactly that America's oil elites are so anti-Israeli? Well, it's not necessarily because the oil elites are anti-Semitic on any kind of philosophical or religious basis (the elites are empty of all such thoughts). It has do with MONEY! Specifically, OIL! The Arabs have it and the Jews don't - and, as we indicated in the first article of this series, "The Real Enemy of Israel; It's Not Who You Think," if one is going to pump oil out of a region whose inhabitants despise the Jews, some consideration to the passions of the region must be displayed if one doesn't want his project to go up in flames.

The fact is, to deny that the oil companies are anti-Zionist (if not anti-Semitic) is tantamount to looking at the color black and calling it white. And, furthermore, to say that the oil elites don't call the shots insofar as American foreign policy in the Middle East is concerned is absolute nonsense. [Please see Joseph Churba, The Washington Compromise, 1995; please also see our first newsletter in this series, "The Real Enemy of Israel; It's Not Who You Think."]

It is precisely these oil elites who have seized upon the inconsistency between what the Jews advocate in the United States (i.e., multi-culturalism and a religiously and racially neutral state) and what they are advocating in Israel (a state, the basis of which is "race" and "religion"), and are using this inconsistency as a battering ram to push "secularization" on the Jewish state.

THE AMERICAN ELITES ARE MORE THAN COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT NO ACCOMMODATION WITH ISRAEL OVER JERUSALEM AND THE OTHER "HOLY SITES" IS POSSIBLE WITH A JEWISH STATE WHERE RELIGION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE. The fact is, as far as the oil elites are concerned, if there is ever to be the kind of peace in the Middle East that would leave them free to pump oil (and make money) without the fear of seeing their investment go up in flames in a war between the Jews and the Arabs, then the Israelis must be made to accede to the demands of the Arabs over the issues of Jerusalem, the "Holy Sites," etc.

To this end, elites in both Republican and Democratic administrations in the United States - supported under the table by "Big Oil" - have in recent years supported Labor governments (which are much more open to "secularization" as a policy than are Likud governments), even to the point of interfering in Israeli elections to a degree that would be considered utterly illegal in this country - i.e., sending millions and millions of dollars to Israel in order to ensure a Labor victory over the more hawkish Likud; and even sending American experts at "voter manipulation" like James Carville to Israel in order to doubly guarantee a Labor win.

And not only that, they have managed to secure a great deal of support for this policy from liberal American Jews, to wit: Stanley Greenberg, Philip Gould, Robert Shrum, etc. (as well as almost the entire leadership of Reform Judaism in this country), all of whom joined Carville in helping Barak defeat Netanyahu and the Likud by assisting him in the development of a well-honed election campaign, and funneling liberal Jewish (i.e., "Diasporic") money to the Barak forces.

Barak, of course, won by a landslide: 56 percent for Labor to the Likud's 44 percent - but in this connection, it is important to note that insofar as the Jewish vote itself was concerned, Barak lost: 44 percent to the Likud's 56 percent. In other words, the key to Barak's (and the "peace coalition's) victory was the support of "Israeli-Arabs." [More about this later.]

THE MULTI-CULTURAL PROCESS: STRIPPING
"RELIGION" AND "ETHNICITY" FROM THE PUBLIC FORUM

All of these people - Carville, Greenberg, Gould, Shrum, etc. - have been intimately involved in pushing liberal political agendas in the United States aimed at the creation of a multi-cultural society stripped of its religious and/or ethnic content. Moreover, all of them are adept in creating "outsider" alliances (in the case of the U.S., blacks, Latinos, gay and lesbians, feminists, etc.; in the case of Israel, "Arab-Israelis," secularized Jews, and so forth) aimed at neutralizing "insider" blocs (i.e., those people who belong to majority religious and racial groupings). And one needs to be clear here, this is no haphazard process that Greenberg, et al have been involved in, in the United States or that they are pushing in Israel - it is one which is carefully crafted and which contains its own inner dynamic and rationale.

The process has been described in detail by liberal guru Joseph Raz (a Jew). Raz describes it as a three-staged process. Raz calls the first stage "Toleration." He writes,

"It consists in letting minorities conduct themselves as they wish without being criminalized, so long as they do not interfere with the culture of the majority. To a considerable degree this means restriction of the use of public spaces and public media by the minority. It also usually means that all its activities are to be financed out of the resources of the minority community itself - in addition to its contribution through taxation to the maintenance of the general culture." [This is pretty much where Israel's "minority culture" (represented narrowly by "Israeli-Arabs," and perhaps on a larger scale by Palestinians in both the West Band and the Gaza strip under the control of the Palestine Authority) is at present.]

Raz continues,

"Toleration is eventually supplemented ... by a second liberal policy toward minorities - one based on the assertion of an individual right against discrimination on national, racial, ethnic, or religious grounds ... Nondiscrimination rights go well beyond toleration. They have far-reaching consequences that affect the way the majority community leads its own life. Most obviously, it is no longer free to exclude members of the minority from its schools, places of employment, residential neighborhoods, and so on ... Under a regime of scrupulous nondiscrimination a country's public services, its educational system, and its economic and political arenas are no longer the preserve of the majority, but common to all its members as individuals."

Finally, the third step is reached: the affirmation of "multi-culturalism" and "diversity." Raz writes,

"Multi-culturalism emphasizes the importance to political action of two evaluative judgments. First, the belief that individual freedom and prosperity depends on full and unimpeded membership in a respected and flourishing cultural group. Second, a belief in value pluralism, and in particular in the validity of the diverse values embodied in the practices of different societies. Given those beliefs, multi-culturalism requires a political society to recognize the EQUAL STANDING of all the stable and viable cultural communities existing in that society. This implies the need for multi-cultural political societies to reconceive themselves. There is no room for talk of a minority problem or of a majority tolerating the minorities. A political society, a state, consists - if it is multi-cultural - of diverse communities and belongs to none of them."

BARAK'S "ARAB-ISRAELI" BASE

It's towards this last stage of multi-culturalism that the Left is pushing in Israel. Most on the Left in Israel would, of course, deny that this is what they are pushing towards. Barak certainly would. But stop and think about it for a minute! - where else does he think that the process he is currently engaged in is ultimately heading? Consider just for a minute the dynamic that is driving him! The "hard-core" of Barak's "peace coalition" is made up of "Israeli-Arabs" - about 17 percent of the population. Think about it: 17 percent of the population! That's one-third of the necessary votes Barak needs to form a government. And all these people - ALL OF THEM - are committed to a religiously neutral state!

What this means is, starting with the implicit guarantee of 17 percent of the vote, Barak needs to garner the support of only about 40 percent of the Jewish vote in Israel to maintain the viability of his program. Put another way, that means that Sharon and Netanyahu must secure the vote of at least 61 percent of the Jewish inhabitants of Israel in order to stop Barak - something which, no doubt, is NOT an easy thing to do given the long-standing and relatively widespread support in Israel for the Left; after all, most of Israel's "founding fathers" come out of the "Labor tradition." You say, this is crazy! How could this be? - an Israel shorn of its Jewish heritage? Certainly no responsible Jewish leader could support such a program - but that's precisely what the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset seemed to be favoring when she declared herself last Summer to be in favor of a "SECULAR REVOLUTION" which would make Israel a "secular state" like "all the other nations of the West," and one which, presumably, would give Islam the same rights in the Jewish state that Judaism alone holds today.

The "hard core" of "Israeli-Jews" and "Israeli-Arabs" that make up the center of Barak's present-day "peace coalition" is made up of secularized Hebrew activists steeped in Israel's socialist-labor tradition, together with a large group of "Arab-Israelis." It first surfaced at Hebrew University as a mixed group of Jews and Arab students opposed to Israel's incursion into Lebanon during the Lebanon Crisis of the early 1980s.

The group is dedicated to the coexistence of both Arabs and Jews in Israel - and by coexistence, the peace coalition does not mean a coexistence based on a partnership between unequals, but a coexistence between equals where citizenship in Israel would show no favor between Jew and Arab. In other words, it is dedicated to a "secularized" Jewish state. Not everyone, of course, who supports the peace process is dedicated to "secularization, or has really thought through the implications of such a process, but the "hard core" of the "peace coalition" knows precisely where it is headed. But even here, it is doubtful that most of them (at least the Jews if not the "Israeli-Arabs") have realized that "secularization" would be nothing more than a short stop towards "Islamization" - they don't want to think about such things! It's simply too painful for them to do so.

The coalition received its first real spurt of growth after Menachem Begin declared his invasion of Lebanon a failure and pulled his forces out of most of Lebanon. Israel's Lebanon failure added to the pressure among countless numbers of secularized Jews that "peace needed to be given a chance." The beginning of the Intifada in 1988 simply added fuel to the fire and to the conviction that "peace had to be given a chance." This kind of thinking led eventually to the Oslo Accords - a process that put off most of the hard decisions regarding peace (i.e., the status of Jerusalem and the "Holy Sites") to the end of the process.

Those who were behind the process on the Israeli side - i.e., the American government [acting as the agency of the American oil elites (and which provided the financing and "coalition-building" techniques that Rabin, Peres and now Barak have employed so successfully against the Likud)], the "hard core" of Israel's secularized Jewish community, and finally Israel's Arab citizens - hoped that by the time decisions would have to be made over the status of Jerusalem, etc., the momentum towards "secularization" and a religiously neutral Israeli state would be so great that it would be impossible for people like Netanyahu and Sharon to stop it.

DUMPING JEWISH SYMBOLS

And just how far down the path of "secularization" have the Israeli "peackniks" been able to take the Jewish people. Much further than most people realize.

There is already a good deal of talk in Barak's "peace coalition" (at least in the Arab portion of that coalition) that the very symbols of the Jewish state should be changed. For example, many "Israeli-Arabs" already are saying that Israel should change its flag and national anthem to reflect the reality that one million of its citizens are Arabs. Some have suggested adding a crescent moon to the flag next to the Star of David, or replacing the Hatikva (Israel's national anthem) - with its lyrics about a "Jewish soul." To this end, "Arab-Israeli" Knesset members recently presented two bills in the space of a few days, one denying Israel's definition as a Jewish state, the other repealing the Law of Return. "Arab-Israelis" say that the definition of Israel should be changed to "the state of the Jews and all its citizens." "Israeli-Arabs" describe the two bills as trial balloons that will set the discourse of "Israeli-Arab" politics and prepare the Jewish public for inevitable future changes - i.e., the creation of a "secularized" state.

So far has this kind of thinking progressed in the Barak coalition that seats on Barak's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (the body in the Knesset that oversees Israel's security services and hears its military secrets) were recently opened to "Israeli-Arabs." Following a heated public debate, two Arabs took their seats on the committee for the first time about a year ago.

Secularists in Israel hailed this move as a sign of Israel's growing "maturity" and "liberalism." Opponents wondered whether Arab Knesset members could be trusted on a committee that is privy to Israel's military secrets. All this, of course, prompts very serious security questions. For example, some wonder whether Ahmed Tibi - who served as a top advisor to Yassir Arafat until running for the Knesset (and who still maintains close contact with the Palestinian leadership) - should be eligible to sit on such a sensitive committee or even serve in the Knesset.

DEVELOPING A MINORITY CONSENSUS

All this sheds a good deal of light on the uncomfortable fact that "Israeli-Arabs" are gradually consolidating an identity as a viable voting bloc in Israel dedicated to the "secularization" of the Jewish state, and as a Palestinian state arises next door to Israel that is eagerly reaching out to them as an ally in this effort, the question of Israel's ultimate condition - i.e., whether it will become a "secularist" state, or it will remain a "homeland" for the Jewish community (or, put another way, whether it will become the kind of "Civic State" that the Jews of the Diaspora have historically pressed on the nations of the West, or whether it will remain an "Ethnic State") - comes readily "into play," especially to a population grown weary of war.

SECULARIZATION AS A SHORT
WAY STATION TO ISLAMIZATION

The problem with all this, of course, is that while left-wing Jews might be thinking about a "secularized" national state, most "Israeli-Arabs" and their Palestinian co-religionists have in mind an Islamic state as the end result of this process - with "secularization" as nothing more than a short "way station" on the road towards the "Islamization" of Israel; an Israel which would eventually be joined to the emerging Palestinian state, and which would be forced to accept the return of all those Palestinians who claim to have been displaced by the 1948 War of Independence; an Israel where the Jews would be forced to exchange their "majority status" for a "minority status." And, of course, if that ever happened, Jews in Israel would count it lucky to escape with their lives, all promises from the Muslims notwithstanding. To be sure, not all "Israeli-Arabs" are thinking along these lines - at least not yet. But the very real fact of the matter is, that's the logical end to the kind of thinking that has taken hold of the Arab community, not only in the West Bank and the Gaza strip, but also among Israel's Arab citizens.

ISLAMIZATION

This process, as we indicated above, is called "Islamization," and it has already progressed so far not only among Palestinians in general, but also among "Israeli-Arabs" that today in some Israeli municipalities, "Israeli-Arabs" that oppose the growing "Islamization" process (mostly Arab Christians) are ostracized from the "Arab-Israeli" community by their compatriots.

Haifa University sociologist Sammy Smooha, who has surveyed "Israeli-Arab" public opinion every few years since 1976, says that research he conducted last Spring shows a marked rise in "Islamization" among "Israeil-Arabs" - reversing the earlier trend that had been leading to the gradual "Israelization" of Israel's Arab citizens. For example, in 1995, one-third of "Israeli-Arab" respondents had been opposed to the existence of a Jewish/Zionist state within the so-called Green Line (Israel's pre-1967 borders); but by 1999, that figure had risen to 46 percent. Nearly a fifth denied Israel's right to exist altogether, up from 7 percent in 1995. The proportion who saw some Israeli component to their identity fell between 1995 and 1999 from 54 percent to 36 percent, while those who identified themselves primarily as Palestinians doubled from 10 percent to 20 percent. Finally, and quite ominously, the number who unreservedly support the use of violence against the Jewish state rose from 2.5 percent to 9 percent, while 18 percent supported violence with some reservations, up from 10.5 percent.

The extent to which the "Islamization" of Israel's Arab citizens has progressed can also be measured by the number of mosques that have been built in recent years in Israel. In the first decade after the Six Day War, the number of mosques in Israel increased from 60 to 150; by 1993, 25 years after the war, the number had quadrupled to 240; since 1993 the number has shot up astronomically - and all this does not take into consideration the number of "house mosques" that have developed. Underlying these facts is a sense that, especially since the 1988 Intifada, "Israeli-Arabs" have been overcoming their disparate local identities to crystallize into a "national minority."

Most Israelis continue to feel (perhaps "hope" is the better word) that "Israeli-Arabs," in the end, will not be willing to give up the economic and political benefits of Israeli citizenship in order to join the entity taking shape under the Palestinian Authority. Nonetheless, that appears to be precisely what is happening. Moreover, if Israeli Jews think they will be able to reverse the "Islamization" of their Arab citizens by agreeing to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, they are probably mistaken - it will then be the "Israeli-Arabs" turn to press for greater rights, the annulment of Israel's definition as a "Jewish state," (which means, of course, "secularization"), or - failing that - perhaps autonomy or even secession in areas where they constitute a majority.

THE ORIGINS OF THE ISLAMIZATION PROCESS

As we indicated earlier, the origins of "Islamization" can be traced back to the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Israeli Islamists organized a group known as the Holy War Family which began a campaign of violence and incitement against Jews, and Arabs who "collaborated" with Jews. In 1981, Israeli authorities imprisoned all 70 members of the movement, including its leader, Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish. But the movement surfaced again during the outbreak of the Intifada in 1988, and it was strengthened by the growing Islamic trend among the "Israeli-Arabs," as well as a parallel and sometimes overlapping process of the "Palestinianization" of Israel's Arab citizens, a process (i.e., "Palestinianization") that began to involve Christian Arabs. While the "Israeli-Arabs" who were involved (especially the Christians) by and large shunned violence, they began distributing printed pamphlets for the PLO and using their bank accounts to funnel money to families of jailed Palestinians. Moreover, and more ominously, the Islamic movement's press began to mirror the viciously anti-Semitic and anti Israeli propaganda of Hamas.

Sheikh Darwish has stressed that his call for a"Holy War" by Israel's Arab citizens against Jews and the Jewish state was meant allegorically, as a spiritual struggle for the hearts and minds of Israeli Muslims. But when a gang of Islamists from the Galilee hacked sleeping Israeli soldiers to death in 1992, the movement's true intentions surfaced. This was the first time that "Arab-Israelis" had ever been caught in a violent act against the state. Since then, this trend has escalated. For example, there is evidence that "Israeli-Arabs" were behind several bombing attempts in Haifa and Tiberias and the murder of a number of Jews in the upper Galilee.

GROWING COLLUSION BETWEEN "ARAB-
ISRAELIS" AND THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

Sheikh Darwish also supports the Islamic movement's 1996 decision to aid Arabs who want to run for the Knesset. Until then, most "Arab-Israelis" had shunned the "democratic process" in Israel - but all that has changed now. Islamists in general (both in Israel and on the West Bank and Gaza) now believe that they can use the "democratic process" in Israel to their own advantage. Indeed, Barak's "peace coalition" in Israel would be impossible without the aid of Israel's Arab community - and to this extent, one can say that Barak is actively colluding with the "Israeli-Arabs" in the creation of "secularized Israel" - again, his protests to the contrary notwithstanding. The Palestinian Authority also strongly encourages the collaboration between Barak and the "Israeli-Arabs" - and so much so that it has actually created a department in Arafat's office - the Committee for Contacts with the Residents of Occupied Palestine - which orchestrates these efforts and which presses for tighter cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the "Israeli-Arabs."

And just how tight has this cooperation progressed? - one can get an idea from what happened recently at a cultural festival in Umm el-Fahm, an Arab municipality in Israel which local Arabs and the PA's Ministry of Culture co-sponsored. The event began with the playing of the Palestinian national anthem (the Israeli anthem was not played).

ISRAELI JEWS: RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS

It's not without reason, therefore, that "secularized" Israelis who wish to retain the definition of Israel as a "Jewish state" are worried. On the one hand, they want to maintain the Jewish character of Israel, but if that character has to be defined in "religious" terms, then there is a problem! Most Jews are simply not very religious, and while most of them are more or less willing to show a certain distant respect for the tenets of Judaism (i.e., respect for the Sabbath, the maintenance of certain dietary restrictions and the like), they are not at all willing to be governed in their personal lives by these traditions.

In short, they do not want to be defined in religious terms. They are - like their brethren in the Diaspora (and most particularly in the United States and Western Europe) - children of the "Enlightenment" - at least those who emigrated to Israel from out of the West. "Science and rationalism" - not "religion" - is the language most Jews (at least most influential Jews) understand. As a result, despite the growing presence of the Orthodox community in Israel, it's not to the Bible or the Rabbinical tradition that most Jews look for guidance, but to the "liberal" tradition of the Enlightenment - the tradition of Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Condorcet, Bayle, Hume, Diderot, D'Alembert, Kant, etc., which is to say, the tradition that Diasporic Jews have pushed in the West for the past 250 years.

While Jews of the liberal or "secularized" tradition are not necessarily atheists and are not necessarily in favor of abolishing religion as such, they do believe that religion should not be forced on others. Jews from this tradition believe that religion - if it is worn at all - should be worn lightly, without the impulse to force others to accept their particular religious views. Religion is best left as a private matter; it should be kept out of the public arena. To those passionately moved by faith, the kind of religion that liberal Jews find acceptable is an indifferent and dispassionate faith. When such people meditate upon God, they do not dwell on "God's Plan and Purpose in the Ages," Israel's part in God's plan, their need for salvation, or any other such thing; to the extent that they think at all on such matters, they envision the "Supreme Being," the "natural laws of society," the "rational nature of man," and the ethics of the harmony of enlightened self-interest and social well-being.

That God might have a purpose in them as a people; that by choosing to live in Israel they might be playing a vital role in "God's Plan and Purpose in the Ages;" that the end of the age is close at hand; that their Messiah may be coming in their life-time (or that there is even such a thing as the Messiah); etc. - these things do not much cross their minds.

Still, for whatever reason, even the most "secularized" Jews find it difficult to give up their own Jewishness. It seems to be written in their genetic code - something God has placed deep in their hearts. They may run from it, they may sublimate it, they may suppress it, they may even be enraged at it - but it's still there: the gnawing feeling that they are Jewish, and there is a purpose in their being Jewish. Nonetheless, most Jews find it convenient to deny all this - i.e., what's written on their hearts. After all, it would seem that all that their Jewishness has done for them is to separate them irretrievably from their fellow man, and bring them an untold amount of grief. It would seem that nothing good has ever come of it. No, better to forget about it - or at least sublimate it - and that's what "Enlightenment Thinking" has enabled them to do over the centuries. It has helped them to forget! It has given them a way to live at peace in the Diaspora.

But now God is bringing the Diaspora to an end - whether they want it to end or not. They are being driven home, and as they return home from the Diaspora, they are being forced to face the fact of their own Jewishness. And how is God making them face this fact? By confronting them with the loss of their precious Jerusalem ["If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning ..." (Ps. 137:5)], the "secularization" of Israel (and, ipso facto, the loss or Israel as a Jewish homeland), the loss of the Temple Mount and all those other things that shouldn't matter to them at all - after all, all these things are nothing more than religious symbols, and such things should be of no consequence to men of "Science" and "Rationalism."

But as the reality of having to give up these things begins to sink in, most Jews - even "secularized" ones - are finding it hard to do so. Moreover, as the new Intifada progresses, even those "secularized" Jews who still may be willing to consider the "secularization" of Israel (and, ipso facto, the loss of Israel as a "Jewish homeland"), the loss of Jerusalem, the loss of the Temple Mount, etc. are finding that that's only the beginning of what they will have to give up. Ultimately, what the world wants is their eradication! That's what the world really wants! And for the first time, Jews - at least Jews of this generation - are having to face up to this stark reality. So what does being a Jew really mean? WITHOUT THE INTIFADA AND THE SO-CALLED "PEACE PROCESS," MOST JEWS WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN FORCED TO FACE THIS QUESTION. Most would still be hiding their heads in the false illumination of the Enlightenment. God knows what He is doing!! Eetta Prince-Gibson, a freelance writer in Jerusalem, a "secularist," and someone who has been active on the Left in Israel and has worked for many years with feminist peace organizations around the world, writes:

"I am not comfortable talking to my Palestinian friends and colleagues anymore. Suddenly, we do not seem to have anything to say to each other. Each conversation seems to end in misunderstandings, and we seem incapable of comprehending each other's fears, convictions, or aspirations. Trust has collapsed, everyday life has been disrupted, and our political options seem limited."

Eetta - perhaps for the first time in her life - is being forced to confront her heritage, and on a RELIGIOUS basis. She is being forced to confront what being a Jew is really all about - not because she wants to, but because she has to. She is passing through a metamorphosis, so to speak. God is calling her back to her "roots" - not to the "Enlightenment" which has permitted her and others like her to hide from God for so long, but to her own Jewish heritage and ultimately to the Bible (or at least the Old Testament). She may not want to go, but she will have to go anyway. Let's all pray for Eetta, and all those like her - not only in Israel, but in the Diaspora as well - as they prepare to meet their God in the "Valley of Dry Bones!" (Ezek. 37:1-14)

More next time! God bless all of you!

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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