Dear Rabbi Melchior, It is always a pleasure to hear from a moderate rabbi and a decent man. You are trying to write a "balanced" article, where the Religious Zionists and Secularists appear in parallel positions, both shouldering an equal measure of blame for the present situation. This seems to me far fetched. You cannot demand of the Secularists to study a religion so full of medieval and pre-modern false ideas. Today's settlement movement is based on messisanic and kabbalistic ideas, as developed by Rabbi Kook and his school, both of which are patently false. Kabbalah is an attempt to explain the structure of the world, including GOD. Thanks, but modern physics and the social sciences do the job much better. Messianisn, while giving hope to a persecuted people until the Emancipation, is now causing real harm by leading people to rely on irrational effects while rational one are available; see for example the destruction of the Hasidic community in Nazi Europe (they were waiting for the messiah instead of making Aliyah), and the upheaval in Chabad and their inability to select a new leader because the previous one "is still alive". It seems to me that Religious Zionists need to clean up their act first. Why not proclaim some basic truths: There is no messiah to Israel (as in Sanhedrin 98b, a position of R. Hillel); The book of Zohar was written in the 13th century and is not a tanaitic work (as shown by G. Shalom); and non-Jews are as fully human as Jews and deserving of equal rights (despite of what the Talmud says). Such positions will not only undermine the ideology and evil beliefs of the settlers, but will also enable modern secularists to re-engage with its biblical-Judeo past.
Israeli tanks return fire in response to mortar shells fired from southern Gaza (Haaretz)
from the article: The deep abyss of Israeli discourse
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