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A 'Pure' Jewish State, as Dictated by This Ultra-orthodox Lawmaker

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Yitzhak Pindrus at a Knesset meeting, two weeks ago.
Yitzhak Pindrus at a Knesset meeting, two weeks ago.Credit: Shmulik Grossman/Knesset
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

MK Yitzhak Pindrus, chairman of the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction, comes across as well-spoken and fairly up to date. Pindrus is also the only politician who has run in elections for three different municipalities. This is what Pindrus said this week at a conference on conversion sponsored by the Kipa website and Itim about a woman soldier who converted through the IDF:

“I’m not willing to compromise on a shiksa or other goy becoming part of the Jewish people. If she converted with an IDF conversion, she is a shiksa. She is a total goy. This is critical. If someone marries her, the father needs to sit shiva, to tear his clothing in mourning and recite kaddish. She is not the ‘seed of Israel.’”

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Leaving aside the style – Pindrus apologized for his use of the despicable term “shiksa”; leaving aside, too, that Ben-Zion Netanyahu should have sat shiva for his son Benjamin after he married the shiksa Fleur Cates, who underwent a Conservative conversion and only later an Orthodox one as well; leaving aside the revolting racist, almost Nazi-like implications of the term “seed of Israel” – what difference is there between that and measuring the length of a Jew’s nose, or preserving the purity of the Aryan race?

Here you have the Jewish state. Pindrus told it like it is. The day Israel decided that it is a Jewish state, it had to place its citizenship policy in the hands of rabbis. There is no other way. And thus Israel will forever be the Pindrus state.

As usual, the Zionist left found ways to get around this, illusions that are easier to swallow – Reform conversion, Conservative conversion, even an IDF conversion, and a Reform rabbi as a candidate on the Labor list for Knesset, but all of this is only to make the news easier to take. And the news is that if Israel wants to be a Jewish state – and boy, does it want to – then Pindrus is its gatekeeper. What difference does it make if a Reform rabbi, a Buddhist monk, the Iranian ayatollah or a Mormon priest decides on the immigration policy; the fact that the decision is in religious hands makes it a religious state.

If Israel is open to Jews only and Jewish supremacy is its cornerstone, then the question of who is a Jew must be defined. And this question can only be answered by men of religion because Judaism is a religion, above all. There is no fundamental difference between Pindrus and Reform Rabbi MK Gilad Kariv – both are men of religion, whether dressed in black or not.

Pindrus held up a mirror that reflected a grotesque but authentic sight. You wanted a Jewish state – you’ve got it. There is no such thing as a secular Jewish state, just as there is no such thing as secular conversion. Pindrus was right. A woman soldier whose mother is not Jewish, is not Jewish, even if she serves in Sayeret Matkal. What does service in the IDF have to do with Judaism? And what, for God’s sake, is an IDF conversion? What does the IDF have to do with theology? In a secular state, military service may grant citizenship. If Israel becomes secular, the entire Zionist structure will collapse and Jewish supremacy will come to an end. That’s why Pindrus is so vital for the state’s survival, even if he is so scary.

The right that Jews claim to the land is based on religious justifications. The divine promise, the holy places, the biblical stories and a supposed 2,000-year yearning for a rebuilt Jerusalem, which was more a religious ritual than an immigration plan. Take away the religious justification and the question arises in full force: Why here? Why at all? Zionism, which was essentially a secular movement, relied on religious justifications, in the absence of sufficient secular ones.

Pindrus reminds us of this. He shows us what Judaism looks like: aggressive, condescending, racist. This is how it maintained its existence for thousands of years, by preserving the purity of the seed. Only thus can it justify the establishment of the state specifically in Palestine. Thank you, MK Pindrus, for reminding us of all this. Whoever wants a Jewish state must accept your state, the Pindrus state.

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