SCHIZOPHRENIA IN THE
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)
[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 Olive Tree)
"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)
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."
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
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
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
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
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,
"... (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.
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,"
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.]
"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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!
We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the
eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR
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