May 27th
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Звезда не активнаЗвезда не активнаЗвезда не активнаЗвезда не активнаЗвезда не активна
A strange contraposition, isn't it? However, more and more frequently, at the meetings with the readers of the newspaper "The Jewish Israel" that I edit, or with supporters of the Yamin Israel party, whose chairperson I am, people ask one and the same question. It can be formulated as follows: "Why do you constantly write in your programmatic documents of the Jewish state, but never mention Zionism? Are you Zionists?"

Not so long ago it was deemed shameful in Israel not to be a Zionist. Zionists had created the state; all the most outstanding public and political figures called themselves Zionists; Zionist parties had always been holding political power in the country. It was being taken for granted that Zionism was the state ideology. That same ideology which, since the end of the 19th century, had been leading here Jews from all over the world, but first of all from Eastern Europe. They were going to the deserted, devastated, sun-scorched Palestine to buy out (for money collected kopeck by kopeck in the Jewish shtettles) the land on which they daydreamed to create a state for the Jews. Their idea was that one day all the Jews would be able to gather together in this state and thus hide away from all the pogroms, persecutions and victimization.

One cannot say they gave little thought to what kind of state this would be. There were ideologues, thinkers, and theoreticians among them. But it was the period of the rise of socialism in Europe, and one had to be an extremely free thinking person in order to avoid its influence. The vast majority of the theoreticians of Zionism failed to escape that influence. As a result, they visualized the future state as based on the ideology of social justice and egalitarianism. Religion was "out of fashion", the socialist ideology insisted that "religion is the opiate for the people". Hence, very few could brave uttering references to Tanakh as the only justification for the Jewish claim of the right to create a state of their own on the land promised to them by the Almighty. Such references were deemed "retrograde" in those learned times. Atheism was the call of the day, as well as complete faith in the unlimited possibilities of the Man.

It was not accidental, therefore, that at one of the first Zionist Congresses in Basle they quite seriously discussed an idea of creating a refuge-state for the Jews somewhere in Uganda. One has to pay due credit to the representatives of the Russian Jewry at that congress: their faithfulness to the Jewish tradition compelled them to rebel against this idea. They declared that the only place on the earth where the Jewish people can restore their statehood is that same place where the Jews have once had their state, i.e. the Land of Israel as described in the Tanakh. The Russian Zionists won by the majority vote. But their victory could not change the psychology of the majority of those who were going to Palestine to practically settle and cultivate the new land: they were determined to build a socialist state for the Jews, and in that state there would be no place for the "religious fanaticism". Instead, a place of honor was to be given to the workers' internationalism and political equality of all citizens. The founding fathers saw Zionism as a transition period ideology that was to give the Jews from all over the world an impulse to move to Zion. Further on, a state was supposed to be built, whose inhabitants, irrespective of their origin, religion or nationality, would all be entirely equal and therefore happy and grateful to the founders of such a state of universal prosperity. "Zionism, - used to say Ben-Gurion, - is only scaffolding that is needed so long as the building is under construction; when the construction is over the scaffolding is removed.

Thus a virus was introduced into the spiritual foundation of the would-be state. A virus that, gradually developing and unfolding, struck a huge portion of the Israeli society. We were not destined to participate in the construction of the state. Instead, we are destined to witness the destruction of the "scaffolding". Within the last two decades it gradually became quite acceptable to say, that "Zionism is dead". Finally, it was openly stated that we live in the era of "post-Zionism". Differently stated, Zionism is no longer the official ideology of the State of Israel. Israel's modern leaders pronounce with great satisfaction that Israel has finally reached maturity and is now a state "like any other". 

But a state cannot survive long without an ideology. Even less so a state whose territory - all of it, till the very last centimeter! - is claimed by its neighbors. The State of Israel has persistently ignored and neglected unpleasant facts for its entire history - and has grown within itself an enormous group of "equal citizens", the size of which is one fifth of the entire population. Today these "equal citizens" openly claim their rights for the entire Land of Israel and identify with our "peace partners" who crave for the distinctly and clearly expressed goal: to create an Arab state of Falystin on all the territory of the present State of Israel.

The ideological scissors that socialist Zionists originally created, now force their ideological heirs not only to shred the land of Israel in an attempt to soften our neighbors, but to publicly and loudly repent of the "crime of Zionism", that encroached upon the Arab territory, which the Jews, allegedly, "have no connection with". 

Indeed, if the Covenant of the Almighty with the Jewish people and His commandment to conquer and settle this Land are being brushed off as ridiculous prejudices of illiterate people, what other justification for their own presence on this land can be found by those who only nominally can be called Jews. Their one and only self-justification is that by having created here, in the previously destitute region, a modern and advance state, they have brought happiness and prosperity to the "lawful owners", i.e. to our Arab brethren. Our post-Zionists studiously ignore the fact that the Arab brethren feel no gratitude towards us at all and can hardly wait to clear this land of any Jewish presence. The socialists have historically developed bad terms with those facts that don't fit their conception. Hence today they are forced to admit that Israel is not a Jewish state but rather a state of its citizens. In the essence, this means the destruction of the Jewish State not in the future, but already today.

Thus, the Zionist state founded on foreign ideals has arrived to its logical end - self-destruction.

However the founding fathers did not take one more factor into account - the vitality of the Jewish people, which is based on Jews' faithfulness to God and His Tora. Even if in every given historical period not all the Jews remained faithful, there has always remained a critical mass that ensured the continuity of this eternal bond: the Almighty - the Jewish people - the Land of Israel.

In every generation there have been those who abandoned their fathers' faith and those who at the same time returned to it. Finally this historical chain has reached our days, and it turned out - unexpectedly and quite of a sudden - that the task of its continuation has been incumbent upon us, those who are living in Israel today. It is we and our stand vis-a-vis this Land and the state that has been created on it that the future existence of the Jewish people depends upon.

We must clearly realize that the dilemma we are facing is quite simple: the only possibility of the Jewish continuity exists here - in the Jewish State on our own Land. Not in a state for the Jews, but in the Jewish State, which has the right to exist on the Land that God promised to His people only in so far as the Jews recognize His authority and His will. All we must do is "choose life".

Here, to the best of my understanding, lies the difference between the Zionists and the champions of the Jewish State.