avineri : a good hegelian view

extract from The believers & the kingdom of evil, Haaretz

[…] I read two reports published in Haaretz on December 2. The first was about Arye Leib Teitelbaum, one of the Israelis killed in Mumbai, whose family asked not to cover his coffin with the state flag before flying it to Israel. Teitelbaum was a Satmar Hasid and his family are Neturei Karta people, who see the very establishment of the Israeli state as fundamental heresy and a refusal to accept the Kingdom of Heaven. The second was a short story about Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, whom the writer Nadav Shragai called “one of the heads of Chabad’s Messianic faction.” Since the disengagement from Gaza, Wolpe has regarded Israel and its government “as though it were British rule” and its leaders as “a king as harsh as Haman.” Wolpe and his supporters call on religious soldiers to disobey orders and proclaim that “we are in exile.” An overdose of messianic Zionism has led Wolpe and his men to see the tangible historic product of Zionism — the State of Israel — as the kingdom of evil.

The fact that two opposite interpretations to religious tradition could lead to a radical delegitimization of Israel’s existence should raise a number of thoughts. First, it appears that at least as far as the Jewish public is concerned, the deepest undermining of Zionism and Israel’s legitimacy does not come from the extreme left wingers dubbed “post Zionists,” but from religious groups with deep faith. It is possible to be both a believing Jew and a meticulous enemy of Israel. Traditional religious Zionism of the Mizrahi school of thought, which sought the middle way between loyalty to tradition and avoiding the path to possible false messianism, is being eroded between the contradictory interpretations of Neturei Karta and Rabbi Wolpe. This moderate religious Zionism was one of Zionism and Israel’s cornerstones and now, with the disappearance of the historic National Religious Party, one component has dropped out of the pluralistic Zionist building. […]

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