The religious messianic idea was never as strong and exclusive as it became the moment the metaphysic interpretation of Judaism turned into historicist, secular, political interpretation by mid 19th century, with the help of few Jewish thinkers like Krochmal Graetz and Hess. It was then that the Judaic religion and history becamefor the European Jewry not only an important but fossilized chapter of the theater of history of mankind, but the spiritual spinal bone of the mankind and its progress, with the chosen people being the only real Volk, and the rest of national "contributors" merely the carriers of Hellenistic, fleeting de. At no other period Jews and even less other politically marginalized ethnic communities had such powerful and engaging political ideology at hand. Couple decades later it served as the foundation for all the countless streams and factions of Zionism, even if the proto-Zionists and their ontological suprematism are strangely absent in present day textbooks. Later on, the national messianism of proto-Zionists gave way to social messianism of Jews which survived until the end of WWI, and is still very appealing to secular thinkers including C. Strenger himself. Shabbtai Zvi or the national-religious fanatics of the 1970x are worlds away from the proto-Zionists' mobilizing impact. Settler youth are just an off-center segment, however violent and dangerous. But the real scandal is the normal educated, secular Jewish Israeli who, somewhere very deep cherish the compensatory idea of being in some still inexplicable way the teacher, the light onto nations. This gap in national self-perception often produces tragicomic episodes, like the former Israeli vice PM Silvan Shalom opening his speech in Durban's Human Rights conference by declaring that the concept of global peace, among the other things, was invented by Jewish people.
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from the article: Decline and fall of Israel’s Messianic politics