It is my understanding that Religious Zionism is part of the Modern Orthodox spectrum. What is your assessment of it?
Thanks ZA and same here!
Yes, the ones who they call “National Religious Zionists” are Modern-Orthodox, but used to be very different from American “Modern-Orthodox,” albeit turning a blind eye to the lack of religious standards. Now they’re unfortunately in an open war against religious Jews.
Netanyahu can’t stand them either (with their American leader, Hershel Schachter, having called for his death, Heaven Forfend, it’s not hard to see why). But in addition to trying to draft Torah students by force, they’ve declared war on basically all of traditional Orthodoxy and Chasidim. (While those who aren’t learning should serve and defend their country, they can accomplish this easily by working with rabbinical seminaries and by keeping a better eye on the current system.)
The defamation of the religious parties is nothing new. Their philosophy (usually morally conservative and socially moderate, although open to both sides which is not something that I wholeheartedly agree with), is just as much a valid philosophy as their socially liberally fiscally fake-conservative one. But now they’re working with Lapid to preclude them from government and are pretty open about wanting to blot them out, Heaven Forfend. Even secular Israelis lambasted the treatment they gave to Yaakov Litzman, one of the most sincere as well as one of the keenest financial minds in the country. The best was when they attempted to put up a modernist liberal zealot David Stav as their Chief Rabbi (which is also a political elected and sometimes the opposite of Torah position. He’s fortunately done himself for good with his dressing up in a yellow wig for Purim).
Israel was saved miraculously in many wars partly because of Torah learning. For those students who learn full time, the spiritual protection that it gives has always been recognized among all spectrums of religious Jews, as well as by many Gentiles. Even Pharaoh left the Tribe of Levi alone to study Torah and they remained exempt from slavery. The Torah students give up everything else. They don’t sit around and watch TV and have little spare time because they take this sacred tradition seriously and even many secular Israelis recognize that this is key in upholding the transmission of true Torah.
They’ve also made a new religion out of a geopolitical entity. I also believe strongly in Israel’s security (as well as in every non-aggressive country’s security) and do believe in the holiness of the land, but don’t make the mistake of attaching religious significance to any government. Most religious Jews accept this line of reasoning. We’ve just always differed on attaching religious significance to a government, which is a dangerous thing to do.
Still, they’re not generally as vigilant on pitting men against women and cheering on divorce. To be fair, if they did, the so-called Chief Rabbinate would be disbanded within a day amidst public outcry.
Everyone agrees that no one should withhold a divorce out of spite. But when one insists on taking the proper steps (won’t say more to protect someone else’s privacy) with professionals and activists demand that “everyone has a right to a get at will” (which is not found in Jewish law at all, makes marriage irrelevant and even many secular countries secular courts insist on a year’s worth of reflection) and turn it into a women’s rights issue (all the while hurting the women the most), then the only words that can be said are those of Torah commentators on Deuteronomy 24:6 (the prohibition of taking away utensils needed to sustain life as collateral on a loan). The Targum Yerushalmi (colloquially/mistakenly called Targum Yonasan) explains that if we are forbidden to take certain necessary food utensils then one who ch”v comes between a husband and wife forfeits their share in the World to Come, Heaven Forfend. They’ve rightly been excoriated by right thinking rabbis, but many lesser ones don’t know enough or care enough to take a stand.
The same group (their Modern-Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America) that gives Schachter a pass just issued a condemnation of a few Israeli rabbis for going after John Kerry. They’re the same as any other part of the Democrat social activist machine and just as dangerous, except they’re messing with Torah and attacking Judaism at its core. A lot of their followers are fine people who’ve been misled and it’s a shame and it should probably be everyone’s mission to educate people as to what Torah actually stands for.