A new alternative has arrived. Papa Bennett and Mama Shaked have given birth. The baby is to be called the New Right. Until this time, nothing was new. After all, even with an electron microscope it’s difficult to spot the differences between the “new right” and the old right.
And yet there was something novel about the moving duet performed by the new parents on the night of the birth. Little New Rightykins, they said, would be a hybrid, religious and secular. And to the glory of this innovation, its mother declared: “I am secular!”
Secular?? Ayelet Shaked? From Habayit Hayehudi? The justice minister who is endeavoring to turn the Justice Ministry into an earthly yeshiva??
By her lights, it seems, it’s enough to eat shrimp, go to the beach on Shabbat and be married to a kibbutznik to earn the coveted title of “secular.” It turns out that she understands secularism about as well as she understands democracy: Not at all.
Below, therefore, is a quiz to help Ms. Shaked define herself more precisely.
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1. If you believe that there is a God, you’re not secular. You’re religious.
2. If you believe that God Himself chose the people of Israel, you’re not secular. You’re religious.
3. If you believe that God gave the Land of Israel to the people of Israel, you’re religious.
4. If you believe that the Jews are better than members of other faiths, you’re really religious.
5. If you think God gave you the right to kill, steal, rob, exploit, abuse and expel others in order to keep his promise, you’re not just religious, you’re an ultra-Orthodox Zionist.
6. If you think there is a “commandment to settle the land," you’re religious. (The Rambam, Moses Maimonides, disagrees with you, by the way, but who is the Rambam compared to Rabbi Eli Sadan.)
7. If you oppose the separation of religion and the state, you’re religious. (Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid agrees with you, by the way. You’re both religious.)
8. If you didn’t raise a bitter cry over the stupid ruling by a rabbinical court, which was upheld by your justices in the High Court of Justice, according to which a woman’s “adultery” can be taken into consideration in the denial of her property rights in a divorce — you’re not just religious, you’re fundamentalist.
9. If you think a woman’s voice and hair are indecent, that the exclusion of women is permissible and matters of personal status should be solely in religious hands, that religious courts should exist, that chametz should not be publicly displayed during Passover, that only religious people have feelings (and secular people have only urges), that public transportation on Shabbat is prohibited and that the prayer for rain brings rain — you’re religious.
However, if you are against everything in question No. 9, please tell your target audience, so they’ll know. After all, it’s not nice to act like Benny Gantz in all these important matters. If you don’t do this, it will be another sign that you’re really, really religious. Or a hypocrite. Or a fraud. Or all of the above.
I’m sorry to say, Madam Minister, but it’s not so simple to be secular. Secularism is a whole, complex doctrine. No less complex than religious doctrine. A festive announcement and a few tasty sins are not enough.
So what are you really? Are you simply a slightly primitive religious woman, who has chosen to observe only the commandments that satisfy the urges for evil, for greed and for ruling over others, and to ignore all the rest? Or in other words, you’re about as secular as the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.