Monday, May 01, 2006

Yom Ha'atzmaut and the Hitnatkut

With Yom Ha'atzmaut just around the bend I am curious how the Hitnatkut will change the way Israelis celebrate their Independence. Does the disengagement from Gaza change the way that Israelis relate to their state? On a political level, Israel is a democracy and citizens must accept the decisions of the state, even the ones they hate and move on. What about on a religious level? How does it feel to say reishit smichat geulateinu after being evicted from your home by the Israeli Army? Did the Hitnatkut change anything? For Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen (Chief Rabbi of Haifa) has already started to publicly say: "Bless the State of Israel, so it will be the beginning of the flowering of our redemption."

This little semantic change has major implications, this isn't just a statement about Gush Katif, this is Israel has never been the "dawn of the redemption". Nothing Israel has done up till now, for R' Shear-Yashuv, has been part of the redemptive process. That a major theological statement. One that I don't think is shared by many of the Da'ati Leumi.

I think R' Shlomo Aviner's statement here sums it up:
But Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Beit-El refuses to give up. He addressed these teenagers in a brief article entitled: "I say a prayer for the state's wellbeing." Aviner wrote that despite the state's desecration of the Sabbath and the sanctity of the land, he would never stop praying for its wellbeing, "because this is my state. I have no other, and I love it the way it is." And though the government causes him great distress, it is his government and he will "continue to pray for it with all my heart," and take pride in the fact that the Jewish people governs itself and is no longer subject to others.

The vast majority of religious Zionists are still of Aviner's mind. Even the Yesha rabbis' committee has called for celebrating Independence Day, adding that the state's very existence is a central pillar in the redemption process. But for many the celebrations will not be wholehearted.
I hope that last sentence is wrong. This is still Israel, still the reishit smichat geulateinu, if Gush Katif was supposed to be part of the State then sometime in the future it will become re-inhabited when the time is right. So, enjoy your Yom Ha'atzmaut (but please don't forget about Yom HaZikaron either).

1 comment:

AlanLaz said...

Quoting Moshe Feiglin (head of Manhigut Yehudit, and received 15% in the latest Likud vote): "How do Israelis feel on their Independence Day? For the past number of years, the most apt comparison would be to the feeling of a birthday party celebrated at the bedside of a terminally ill patient. You can't not attend, you can't not express your good wishes and you can't not celebrate -- at least for outward appearances."

Full article: