The Contemporary Israeli Pursuit of the Millennium by Janet Aviad

The Contemporary Israeli Pursuit of the Millennium


by


Janet Aviad






from

Religion

published by
Academic Press
Volume 14
1984
pp. 199-222
ISSN 0048-721X







Gush Emunim is an autochthonous Israeli religious movement. Its emergence is a direct response to the peculiar and sometimes painful experience of religious Zionism within Israel society. The unease and disarticulation which characterized the relationship of religious Zionists to the Zionist idea and to the state itself forms the context within which the fundamentalistic messianism and messianic politics of Gush Emunim must be understood. An analysis of this unique Israeli phenomenon must be conducted on two levels: the ideological, that is the dynamic of a fundamentalistic messianic ideology which propels itself towards fulfilment through militant right-wing politics; the sociological, the effort to overcome the threat of secular Zionist reality by appropriating its symbolic universe and identifying religious values with secular ones, again through militant right-wing politics.

The formation and growth of Gush Emunim is a product of the interaction of raw materials provided by the Jewish tradition and the singular conditions of Israeli society. The following analysis will focus upon the withdrawal from Sinai, which was the most serious crisis in the history of the movement, and to which the war in Lebanon must be linked. The self-examination which occurred within Gush Emunim in the wake of this crisis, sheds light upon the religious and sociological elements which press the movement forward and make it of central significance in current Israeli politics.

Gush Emunim reveals in an exaggerated way responses found in less active, less concrete, and less extreme forms among religious Zionists who occupy a more modal position in the religious and political spectrum. An analysis of the radical phenomenon, however, sheds light upon problems which exist for the mainstream. Before turning to the specific issues which arose during the Camp David-Sinai crisis, the basic problematic for religious Zionism which modern Zionism and the state of Israel present must be outlined.

Religious Zionism was that segment of orthodoxy which accorded a religious value to modern Zionism and which advocated participation in the institutions of the Zionist movement.1 This implied co-operation with those who sought to establish a Jewish state and reconstruct a Jewish society based upon secular, rational, and liberal democratic ideals. Religious Zionism could appropriate modern nationalist ideals and values only by transforming them into a religious context. Theological interpretations emerged which permitted and legitimated this transformation and integration.

However, an abiding tension marked the relationship of religious Zionism to the reality of the Zionist enterprise. Eliezar Goldman has described this tension clearly: "In principle, no religious Jew can concede the legitimacy of the secular basis for Jewish nationhood. Those religious Jews in Israel, and they are the vast majority, who participate in the political life of the state as presently constituted, cannot avoid the uneasy feeling that in its present form, the State of Israel is hardly an authentic embodiment of Jewish national life. It is acceptable only as a transitional phenomenon. . ." 2

No theological interpretation could overcome the fundamental unease and sense of disarticulation experienced on the level of everyday cultural and social life. Religious Zionists found themselves outside the secular socialist establishment which controlled the central positions in key social, economic, and political institutions in the developing society and which set its stamp upon the cultural ethos and institutions of that society. The response of the religious Zionists to the disarticulation was relative withdrawal corresponding to the sense of relative alienation, concentrating upon building separate religious institutions, and a focus in politics upon legislation which would insure public religious practices and the control of marriage and divorce by religious authorities. The vision and hope of religious Zionists remained broad and far-reaching—changing the shape of Israeli society and culture according to the imperatives of the Torah. However, in reality, religious Zionists constituted a defensive minority, exhibiting recalcitrance towards the progress of the secular state in many areas and feeling themselves impotent in actually influencing this progress. While individuals developed ways to adapt empirically to this situation, the community found itself socially and culturally askew.

Gush Emunim is a revolt against the posture of disarticulation and askewness in relationship to Zionist ideology and to the central institutions of the state.3 Its young leaders and activists rejected the self-imposed constraints of the older religious-Zionist leadership and assigned to themselves a central role in determining the political future of the country. Moreover, Gush Emunim is an adament triumphant assertion of religious values and a religious conception of nationhood, viewed by its advocates as replacing a vapid and defeated secular Zionism.

Thus, settlement for Gush Emunim implies the appropriation of true and traditional Zionist values and norms at a time when, these very values and norms had been abandoned by Labour Zionism. The sense of inferiority inherited from an earlier historical period was overcome by a certainty that in post-'67 Israel the vanguard of religious Zionism carried the Zionist flag, transfigured and thereby renewed within the religious framework.

When Gush Emunim lays claim to true Zionism it lays claim to a full stake in Israeli society and demands recognition of its now decisive role in maintaining the values and revolutionary momentum of Zionism. As latter-day pioneers, Gush Emunim consciously attempts to represent the commitment and idealism identified with socialist Zionism. The wall and guard tower, which are signs of new settlements, the readiness to live in difficult and dangerous conditions in order to establish the right borders of the country—these are the credentials of the religious settlers. In their own eyes, they have become more than full members in the Zionist enterprise. They have not only re-enacted principled and recognized modes of Zionist realization at a critical point in Israel's history, but they have accorded them a specifically religious content, rescuing them thereby from former profanation and present degeneration.

On the one hand, Gush Emunim pioneering activity must be seen as an affirmation of secular Zionist values transmogrified by a religious orientation. The religious Zionist who lives on the West Bank issues a statement to the guardians of pioneering labour Zionism regarding the pristine nature of Jewish nationalism, thereby vindicating his own framework and struggle. In his strident assertion of Jewish national rights, pride, and Jewish sovereignty he overcomes the hurt of earlier disenfranchisement and gains compensation.

On the other hand, and equally important, Gush Emunim pioneering activity must be understood as an attempt to negate exilic consciousness and exilic forms of religious life. The strength of the anti-Zionist or non-Zionist orthodox camp is an ever-present challenge to Gush Emunim, and one which demands a response. The act of settlement is a statement to this non- or anti-Zionist camp regarding the condition of contemporary Jewish existence. The statement begins with a fundamental claim that a new aeon has dawned with the modern movement of return to Palestine. The dust of the exile has been shaken off and the marks of exilic life, namely passivity and dependence, are rejected. The keys of the kingdom have passed to those who participate in the mighty process of redemption. Militant sovereignty and the power of independence are affirmed in this context because they constitute the anti-thesis of exile.

In recent years Gush Emunim spokesmen have resorted to hyperbolic rhetoric in advancing a conception of unbounded sovereignty. The tone and the language reveal the tension which the movement feels pressing upon it since the period of the Camp David agreements. Petulance and spitefulness bear witness to fear and confusion. Recourse to fundamentalistic attitudes and ideology bears witness to the same sentiments. The reaction of Gush Emunim to Camp David and the War in Lebanon, ironically reveals attitudes and modes of response characteristic of that very exilic existence which Gush Emunim aspires to negate, and contradicts those Zionist principles and values which the movement seeks to appropriate. Before examining this irony however, it is necessary to consider briefly the ideological and historical background of the radical religious nationalist movement.

At the heart of the ideology of Gush Emunim is the religious claim that the return of the Jews to Palestine, the renewal of settlement and agriculture, and the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the State of Israel mark the initiation of the messianic process. This eschatological view of modern Zionism was developed by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kuk and was taught in religious Zionist yeshivot throughout the country. The young people who founded and supported Gush Emunim, activists and intellectuals, had studied in these yeshivot and had been influenced by the teachings of Rabbi Kuk, especially through the interpretation elaborated and taught by his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk.

The war of June 1967 ignited messianic material latent in religious Zionist circles. A sense of the impact of the war in reviving messianic teachings may be gleaned from a major work, The Great Period, which appeared in 1972. Its author, Rabbi M. Kasher, was regarded highly as a scholar and rabbinic authority, and while his book was one among many which appeared during the years immediately following the war, its impact upon those who formed both the core and periphery of Gush Emunim was great.4

Kasher's application of messianic categories to historical events begins with the Holocaust, which is identified with the "birth pangs of the Messiah." The sufferings of the Holocaust outweigh the cumulation of Jewish sufferings since the destruction of the Temple and open the way for redemption. Signs that the process is indeed occurring are evident: the ingathering of the exiles, the conquest of the land, settlement of Jews upon the land (Kasher claims that it is not accidental that the Holy Land did not absorb any other people and remained desolate during the years of Jewish exile but waited for Jewish residents to return). War, according to Kasher, is at the heart of the messianic process. The war of 1948 is described as a "war which is the beginning of the messianic process," a miraculous victory accompanied by the equally miraculous flight of six million Arabs which made room for incoming Jews.5 The greatest miracle cited by Kasher is, of course, the Six Day war which is compared in magnitude and sublimity to the victories of the Hasmonean period.

Kasher thus summarizes his application of messianic concepts to contemporary events: "On the basis of all this I cannot understand those who do not see this period as redemption. What can be the meaning of these events otherwise? What other name can we give to this period?" 6

The Great Period is intended to dispel any doubts which might remain among orthodox Jews as to the reality of the advent of the messianic period. To add strength to his own interpretations Rabbi Kasher refers to a messianic text written by Rabbi Hillel Shkolover, devoted student of the renowned rabbinic authority, the Vilna Gaon. This text, Kol Ha-Tur, describes in great detail the period of the "beginning of the redemption" and focuses upon the role of the Messiah the Son of Joseph, themes which assume great significance in the writings of contemporary religious Zionist rabbis. In the opinion of Rabbi Kasher, Kol Ha-Tur anticipates the messianic developments of the present era. "One who reads this book carefully sees that the Vilna Gaon referred, in his Holy Spirit, to many things which occurred in our days before our eyes." 7

Other works emanating from religious Zionist circles reveal the same purposes as The Great Period, giving expression to messianic enthusiasm and messianic claims, defending the latter on the basis of biblical and rabbinic sources, and interpreting contemporary events in the messianic context for all to hear and understand. Signs are offered to demonstrate that the first period of redemption, characterized by natural changes, has begun. Literary sources describing events which mark the "beginning of the messianic period" are mustered and assigned to real events to demonstrate the presence of these signs in our era. References to the Messiah the Son of Joseph are made to support the same attribution of messianic reality to the present. Thus, "It is said in Kol Ha-Tur: All the deeds demanded by the hour at the 'beginning of redemption' are within the realm of the Messiah, Son of Joseph. His task is to pave the way for full and miraculous redemption through Israel's will now and in natural ways." 8

For the entire religious Zionist camp, but especially for the ideologies of the activist messianic settlement movement, the Six Day war was experienced as the peak moment in the progressive realization of natural redemption. The war is presented as an inevitable and welcome event, although one which was forced upon Israel. "In the upper spheres of divine providence there were plans for additional steps in the process of redemption . . . While the government was prepared to accept partition, God was not. For there is no power in the world which can stop the wheels of redemption. And redemption cannot be completed without all of the Land of Israel." 9 As part of the suggestion that the war was forced upon Israel to redeem the land, it is claimed that "while the government of Israel tried to dissuade Hussein from entering the conflict, God hardened his heart so that the West Bank could be liberated." 10

In explicating the relationship of historical events to redemption, the Yom Kippur war presented specific problems. A volume of essays written by the well known rabbi, Yehuda Amital, provides a moving resolution of the difficulties incurred by the war for Israel as a whole and for the messianic activists particularly. Amital begins with the problem: "The question asked everywhere is what is the meaning of this war? It is asked against the background of our certain belief that we live in the period of the beginning of the messianic process . . . against this background and that of the Six Day war which taught us that war has a real goal—namely that of the conquest of the land—two questions may be posed. First, what is the meaning of this war, since we already possess the land; second, could this war signal a reversal of the divine plan?" 11 The assumption is that "It is forbidden to view this war as we viewed our troubles when we lived in Exile. We must see the greatness of the hour through its biblical dimension and through the messianic prism. If we have returned to breathe biblical air after two thousand years of exile it is only because we live in the light of the messiah." 12

The rationalization of the war demonstrates the strength of the messianic motif and is an example of the capacity of religious Zionist thinkers to overcome historical reversals. Min Ha-Maamakim may be taken as a model, powerful and poignant, of the attempt to deal with this war in messianic categories. Amital affirms the process of redemption as one which cannot be reversed but which can be delayed and blocked. And he recalls the Vilna Gaon's statement that "Armageddon in our day will be made up of little wars." 13

The first explanation of the Yom Kippur war from a religious perspective, offered by Amital, is its purification function. The war was necessary in order to educate people. It shocked Israel into asking fundamental questions about the meaning and vocation of the State. It forced the conclusion that Israel is essentially different than the nations of the world—a conclusion which had to have been reached if the spiritual ascent of the nation were to continue. 14 An earthquake, such as the war, was necessary, in the view of Amital, to uproot the secular Zionist conviction that Israel could achieve normalization. The Yom Kippur war dealt a death blow to the notion that Jewish sovereignty resolved the problem of Jewish existence.

Thus, Amital believes that after the war it became clear that the archetype of Israel as a "nation which dwells alone" holds today and forever. Further, he claims that it is becoming clear that the Zionism of redemption is the only true ideological foundation of the Jewish state. The Yom Kippur war revealed the crisis of secular Zionism and of the political establishment. "What is being revealed before our eyes is the beginning of the realization of the prophetic vision of the return to Zion. The steps are the steps of the Messiah. Although they are accompanied by tribulations, progress is certain and the direction is clear because God has redeemed Jacob and saved him from the hands of those stronger than him. The hour has arrived when (political—JA) Zionism will be replaced by redemptive Zionism in the consciousness of all." One student of the Vilna Gaon wrote, "Joseph recognized his brothers but they failed to recognize him (Gen. 42:8). This is one of the qualities of Joseph not only in his own generation but in every generation. The Messiah the Son of Joseph recognizes his brothers but they do not recognize him."' 15 Again, the reference to the Messiah the Son of Joseph relates past messianic statements to the existential order of the present. Amital asserts that Israel now exists within the messianic order of history, the natural stage, which does not involve a total transfiguration and is not final salvation.

Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk, the son of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kuk and the spiritual father of Gush Emunim, enunciated the messianic certainty which became pervasive among his students following the Six Day war thus: ." . . (People) speak of the beginning of the redemption . . . In my opinion this is already the middle of the redemption . . . We are in the parlour and not in the vestibule." 16 The fervour accompanying this certainty was translated into a determination to plant Jewish settlements in the newly acquired territories and to work for the establishment of Jewish sovereignty over them. Settlement was viewed as the path to further the process of redemption in the period of natural action and natural change. For the religious activists, the acquisition of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights presented the possibility of fulfilling a religious commandment which bears messianic weight through activities recognized as heroic in the national mythology of Israel and therefore according increased status and stake in the national order.

Further, the religious settlers, having participated in the conquest and now in the settlement of the sacred land, were reliving the victories of Joshua, and realizing absolute religious imperatives.17 Biblical verses regarding the promise of the land, the covenant between Israel and the land, conquest and settlement, as well as the rabbinic commentary of Nahmanides upon such verses were relied upon to legitimate the settlement policy initiated after the '67 war. Thus: "We are commanded to take possession of the land . . . we should not leave it in the hands of any other people or allow it to lay waste as it says, 'And you shall take possession of the land and settle it, for I have given the land to you to possess it (Num: 33:53)' . . . Behold conquest is a commandment for all generations . . ." 18

Accepting the teaching of Zvi Yehuda Kuk that conquest and settlement are commandments incumbent upon every individual today, the religious settlers organized and acted to fulfill the words of the charismatic sage. Gush Emunim was founded officially only in January 1974 in order to defend the "greater Israel" against possible concessions of territories on the part of the Rabin government during the negotiations between Israel and Egypt conducted by Dr Henry Kissinger. However, the seeds of the movement had been germinating since 1967. The take-over of the Park Hotel in Hebron in 1968 may be seen as the first significant action of the religious settlers and as a model for the policy followed until the Likud victory in 1977. 19 Since then, in alliance with the Israeli governemnt, the settlement arm of Gush Emunim [known as Amana—web editor], has filled the West Bank with "starters" and has developed several large and well-based areas of settlement.

Only in light of the successes in the field and in light of the messianic framework within which they were understood by Gush Emunim can the meaning of the Camp David agreements for the settlers be grasped. Zealous dedication had overcome government obstacles in the pre-'77 period, and the momentum of settlement activity had been established. Suddenly a major blockade was thrown up in the path of forward movement which threatened to destroy what had been achieved in Sinai and to set a precedent for what could happen on the West Bank. Conviction was challenged and patience strained. The strength of the messianic dynamic is revealed by the actual overcoming of Camp David by the settlers and by the necessity to push forward, expressed in the enthusiastic response of Gush Emunim to the war in Lebanon, and the increased attention accorded to changing the status of the Temple Mt.20

Descriptions of the Camp David crisis within Gush Emunim and reflections upon it by members and supporters of the movement are recorded in the journal of the West Bank settlements called Nekuda.21 Two types of articles appeared in the period from the signing of the agreements until today; those which witness the struggle and suffering of the settlers; those which record reflections upon the theological and political meaning of the threatened and then actual withdrawal. Because no other event has shaken Gush Emunim,(This article was written prior to the disclosure of the Jewish underground, whose existence represents a crisis within Gush Emunim as grave as the Sinai crisis.—JA) it is not surprising that its narration and interpretation should occupy a prominent place in the thinking and sentiments of the movement.

Stories of the last days of the settlements describe the movement of large numbers of settlers from the West Bank who came to reinforce Sinai settlements. Students left yeshivot to establish new schools in Sinai just a few months before the stipulated withdrawal date. Rabbis joined the students and settlers in a final exhibition of devotion. Tension mounted and was fuelled in order to threaten the government and involve the entire country in the drama being acted out in the sands of Sinai.

Several articles in Nekuda focus upon one issue which arose as the climax neared and as the extent of physical opposition to which the Sinai defenders would resort against Israeli troops charged with removing settlements was questioned.22 This matter is linked to the religious value attributed to Sinai and to the messianic problem which relinquishing the land presented. Activists and religious leaders had established the status of Sinai. Thus, Hanan Porat, leader of Gush Emunim and MK from the Tehiyah party introduced a motion into the Knesset to stop the withdrawal. His argument rested upon the biblical promise. "Sinai is part of Eretz Yisrael . . . And both your borders from the Dead Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, from the desert to the great river." And according to all opinions in Jewish law and tradition Sinai is included as an inseparable part of Eretz Yisrael . . . "Open a Bible and look in the Talmudic or Hebrew Encyclopedia under the item Eretz Yisrael and you shall be completely convinced." 23 In Porat's eyes the question of Sinai should be dealt with no differently than would be the question of Jerusalem.

For Gush Emunim, however, despite the status assigned to Sinai, the extent of opposition had to be considered within the framework of Jewish law which places severe restraints upon self-sacrifice. Defending the Holy Land is not one of the three commandments which cannot be trespassed and for which martyrdom is demanded. "The land of Israel is acquired through suffering but not through death." 24 Further, in the eyes of one interpreter, although conquest of the land is a commandment, it is not to be attempted unless there is a reasonable chance of victory. One ought not endanger oneself needlessly or recklessly. According to estimates of the settlers, conflict with the Israeli army over Sinai was unwise and harmful both to Gush Emunim and to the State. And the commandment to conquer refers to conquest from the hands of non-Jews and not Jews.

If martyrdom is not an option and violence against the IDF is also eliminated, then the question of the purpose of active opposition to the withdrawal arises. Several responses to this question emerged among the settlers. There were those who believed that noisy, albeit passive resistance on a major scale would lead to a reversal in Israeli government policy. Others hoped for a change in Egyptian policy which might lead to Israeli reconsideration. Others anticipated divine intervention. And still others assigned an educational value to the great display of opposition to withdrawal. Demonstration of devotion to the land and of the pain caused by uprooting would indicate not only the value of the land of Israel for Jews but would signal in a moderate form what could be expected in relationship to the West Bank. Sinai must be presented as a dress rehearsal which would be so traumatic that the possibility of repeating the performance in Judea and Samaria would be intolerable to the Israeli public.

When the final moment arrived, and neither miracle nor government intervened, rabbis and leaders of the movement to block the withdrawal composed an oath which reflects a renewed determination to return to Sinai.

"In the name of the God of Israel, this day, the l2th of Iyar, 5742 after the creation of the world, on the ruins of the monument dedicated to the soldiers who fell in Sinai (1967—JA), in the holy city of Yamit, which shall be rebuilt, We hereby swear, before God and Israel, that we have not left and will not leave. We have not forgotten and will not forget Yamit, Sadot, . . . This piece of land is part of the land of Israel about which it is said in the Torah that we shall not leave it in the hands of the nations and not to desolation. And the biblical commandment will be fulfilled: And I shall return the remnant of my people Israel, and they will build cities and will dwell therein and will plant vineyards and drink their wine and will make gardens and eat their fruits, and I will plant them upon their land and they will not be removed therefrom—thus saith the Lord, God." 25

The rhetoric employed to describe the evacuation was heavy with references to the suffering of the religious minority at the hands of the erring majority. The picture of women and children, students and farmers, defending the Holy Land against Jewish profaners, reinforced the self-image of Gush Emunim as the forces of light combating those of darkness. Yet, the fight was lost, and settlers were afflicted by anger, disappointment, and confusion.

The hope and trust which resound from this oath must not betray the actual pain and distress caused by the events of March 1982. The words of Rabbi Yehoshua Zuckerman, a respected teacher from Merkaz Harav Yeshivah, the school where the leadership of the settlement movement studied, testify to the shock, sorrow, and self-questioning caused by the withdrawal.

A great tragedy has been carried out. In a momentary glance at the map of Israel one sees enough to be shocked, the Southern border now cuts through the living flesh of our land. In Sinai the wound still bleeds into our own cruel hands, and the soul of Israel cries out bitterly. Those among our people who writhe with pain and clench teeth in order not to curse are lost souls. Why did God do this to us? Did we err? We struggled to save Yamit. Did we err? Have we revealed our own weakness? Have we hurt the cause of Eretz Yisrael by taking a position of weakness? In these difficult hours we must return to our sources, to our rabbis who set out our course. Only on the ground of these sources can we stand firmly in the struggle over the future of Zionism which now rages within our people.26

The events of the Spring of 1982 challenged the fundamental principles of Gush Emunim and required explanation. One direction of response was to explain the catastrophe of Sinai as a result of the inherent weakness of both secular socialist and political Zionism. Older accounts of religious Zionism with both secular Zionist perspectives were taken up on this occasion. The attack upon Prime Minister Begin as representative of the political position is vehement, reflecting the high expectations held by the "men of faith" and their great disappointment even with the secular right. Begin, despite his flirtation with Jewish traditions, is now put in the same category as Herzl and Ben Gurion—those unable to grasp the meaning of the national revival. Only an ideology which had distanced itself from the real sources ofJudaism and only people who no longer lived according to the imperatives of Judaism could agree to sacrifice sacred land and uproot settlements.

The cause of the political error is viewed as rooted in the reliance upon international law and international political considerations in place of internal Jewish ideals and modes.

Mr. Begin, as a political Zionist, thinks that the Land of Israel is defined by internationally recognized borders—the borders of the Mandate, whereas men of faith hold that the border is determined by the Torah, at least those areas in our hands and settled by Jews. Therefore, this is a struggle of the deaf—between those who view the Bible as a source of general inspiration and as an historical document, but whose world-view is determined by international law, and that movement which nurses upon the spirit of Judaism, its concepts, outlooks, and law.27

The fact that the Begin government ordered the blockade of Sinai on the Sabbath, thereby causing a mass profanation of the sanctity of the day, is taken as a sign of the distance separating government leaders and Jewish values, a distance which permitted the concession of Sinai itself. That government ideologically committed to "greater Israel" had violated its own ideological commitment. And that government which sported loyalty to Jewish tradition had evinced alienation from the sources.

The depth of the disappointment with the Begin government and the Knesset, which approved the treaty, experienced by "men of faith" may be measured by the image invoked by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a respected student of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk, to account for the grave mistakes and sins of the government. This is the image of the Messiah, the Son of Joseph, whose coming, failure, and death, according to Jewish tradition, will precede the full redemption to be initiated by the Messiah, the Son of David.28 Aviner used the image to symbolize the weakness and inevitable doom of political Zionism, which is viewed as a stage to be transcended by religious Zionism. "God builds and God destroys worlds," all in the process of redemption.

The critique of Labour is more nuanced than the straightforward attack upon political Zionism. Labour, after all, had once demonstrated an understanding of the value of the land, of pioneering and self-sacrifice, all of which are high in the Gush Emunim hierarchy. However, Labour had gone astray. In the eyes of one Gush Emunim intellectual the derailment and error is symbolized by the biography of Moshe Dayan. The transition from Nahalal to Zahala, from pioneering collective to urban suburb, represents the process of the emptying out of Zionist values. Labour has lost the sense that the needs of the collective have priority over the needs of the individual.29 It has been penetrated by materialism, losing its dedication to idealist and spiritual matters. Further Labour has lost ideological conviction and certainty, resulting in a questioning of fundamental principles and a weakening of basic self-respect.

Through the criticism of Labour, Gush Emunim spokesmen express their deep dissatisfaction with processes of change which have occurred in Israel as it has developed into a complex modern and pluralistic society. In the face of new responses to new challenges, they yearn for the "old-time" pioneering society and the revolutionary fervour associated with the early period of state-making. The goal is to restore that earlier period, constructing a unified and self-certain society, protected from troubling processes like individuation. The dissatisfaction and yearning is evident.

The Labour movement, which is continued to a certain extent by Gush Emunim, has lost its direction. This did not occur overnight. Something happened to the value of this movement even before the Yom Kippur war. A book like "The Seventh Day," which was received with great enthusiasm by certain sectors of the public, aroused doubts in my mind—did these young people know why they had fought? . . . The Labour movement has been transformed into a movement of individualism, a movement which has lost the dimension of sovereignty. These people suddenly want to be beautiful and magnanimous, and indicate that the war was not justified. Yes, they even speak of an unjust war . . . I will never be able to forgive the leadership of that period: Golda, Dayan, and Sapir for the light-headedness with which they related to the problem. I felt the disgrace latent in their wish to concede territories without pain . . . To my sorrow what is lacking in Labour is what is present in Gush Emunim: a sense of self-respect. . . . The Labour party has experienced a clash between the individual and the collective. The result is extreme individualism, even if the individuals involved live in kibbutzim . . . Gush Emunim is a homogeneous society.30

The Camp David agreements demonstrated most clearly the fatal weakness of secular Zionism, in all its forms, and the spiritual weakness of the majority of Israel's citizens, who assented to the agreements. In light of these developments what would be the continuation of the process of redemption? This question had to arise among the faithful for whom politics was to be guided by meta-historical imperatives and transcendental intentions. Could the reality which permitted the fulfillment of Camp David be a reality which permits the advance of redemption? Sinai dampened self-confidence and aroused doubts even among the faithful. "The things heard among us in these days about the slowing down of the process of redemption and the form of our hold and settlement in Eretz Yisrael constitute a serious retreat from the policy upon which both our vision and actions have been based. This represents a weakness in our faith in the full redemption." 31

A debate developed within Gush Emunim circles in response to the events of the spring of 1982 regarding future activities of the movement and its role in Israeli society. One position which emerged claimed that the primary factor underlying Sinai concessions was the lack of proper understanding in the nation as to the value of land and the meaning of Zionism. Hence, the primary task for Gush Emunim was re-education of the nation. Another position emerged which negated any change in definition or direction, insisted upon a reaffirmation of the role of the movement in settlement, and pressed for heightened activity in the field precisely and especially after the Sinai uprooting. The conflict between the two positions indicates the strength of the Gush Emunim conviction in the reality of the messianic process and the role of the settlers in its advance. While differences of opinion arose in the wake of the Sinai crisis as to tactics for the future, no differences were evident regarding the fundamental claims upon which Gush Emunim as a movement is based.

The self-questioning which led to a new focus upon education may be seen in the writings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner. A former student in Merkaz Harav Yeshivah, who had first settled in the Golan Heights and then moved to Beit-El, having demonstrated thereby impeccable credentials as an activist settler. In two major articles in Nekuda Aviner suggested that the priorities of Gush Emunim be changed at this critical moment. He began where there was no argument: the experience of Sinai revealed a total lack of understanding among the Israeli people of the "eternal ties of the people of Israel with the land of its inheritance and the claim of the people to this land." 32 Further, he stated that the majority does not grasp the inter-relationship between settling and redemption.

Aviner suggested that the minority, which does grasp the relationship and significance of the land for the people, cannot coerce the majority to adopt its positions. Nor can that minority deny and attempt to overthrow the political decisions taken democratically by the majority. "As we do not throw stones upon those who violate the Sabbath, so we do not throw stones upon those who remove settlements." 33

According to Aviner, the path of Gush Emunim must be the path of convincing rather than that of coercing. The primary task of the movement in light of the experience of Sinai is to enlighten and uplift the soul of Israel. Only after an inner transformalion would the nation be capable of understanding the religious ideas and their political translation which Gush Emunim represents. Because this transformation can occur only through education, it is to this task that the efforts of the settlement movement must be dedicated at present.

Aviner expressed confidence that the nation would undergo an inner transformation. He viewed Sinai as a temporary setback in the process which cannot but move forward. He was not simply giving lip service to beliefs accepted in Gush Emunim circles when he stated that "Our work for the Land of Israel is not done out of bitterness or disappointment but out of a certain faith in the absolute historic divine imperative regarding the renewal of Israel upon its inheritance. Our people is great and strong and marches towards its redemption with the strength of the divine truth of our period, our state, and our sovereignty. Therefore, we shall overcome the shame of concessions and retreats, as we have shaken off the impurities of the exile, which block revelation of the strength of our Jewish soul." 34

Within Gush Emunim circles, Aviner was understood to have challenged the hierarchy which posits settlement as the highest value, and thereby as having challenged the basic constellation of values upon which Gush Emunim activity was grounded. Reactions were intense and negative. Critics attacked his focus upon education as a restoration of the split between the physical and the spiritual in Jewish life characteristic of exilic existence and therefore as a regression to passive messianism. This is the real rub and the cause of the agitated response to Aviner on the part of the activist settlers. "It would seem that Rabbi Aviner . . . returns us to the rabbinic worldview—let it be understood that no one doubts the greatness of the rabbis in Torah learning—which actually prevented Jewish communities from returning to Israel in recent generations on the very basis of faith in messianic redemption. This faith freed the rabbis from responsibility for an analysis of reality." 35

The threat of a return of the "rabbinic outlook" in the guise of a Gush Emunim rabbi who suggests a temporary reallignment of priorities caused great alarm and elicited a determined response. Gush Emunim ideologues argued with him by repeating fixed formulae regarding the evidency of the messianic process, the role of Gush Emunim in it, and the value of settlement. They reenunciated the messianic credo, quoting Rabbi A.I. Kuk. "There is no exile after redemption, which is proceeding before our eyes . . . the generation will witness redemption soon." 36

In contending with the possibility of changing priorities and in seeking to deal with the disappointment of Sinai and the questions it aroused, Gush Emunim thinkers turned to a distinction between two aeons of redemption spelled out most clearly by Moses Maimonides. Polemicising against apocalyptic tendencies in Jewish messianic interpretation, Maimonides had described a non-supernatural change which would initiate the "days of the messiah." This is a period in which the natural and historical glories of Israel would be restored, in which the Halachah, Jewish Law, would be observed fully, and in which men would live natural lives while being pre-occupied with the study of Torah and the pursuit of knowledge of God.

The "days of the messiah" are not initiated by a cosmic breakthrough and change of order but occur through natural changes. While the Messiah is indeed sent by God, he is not a supernatural being with divine powers but a natural creature who achieves an historical change through human powers. "Let no one think that in the days of the Messiah anything of the natural course of the world will cease or that any innovation will be introduced into creation. Rather the world will continue in its accustomed course." 37

The second aeon which Maimonides described, The "world to come," is characterized by cosmic changes and a new order of being. However it is the first period, which is the basis confined to natural activity, that interests Gush Emunim. In an article entitled "Not Fire from the Heavens" which appeared a year before the actual evacuation of Sinai, Yoel Bin-Nun described the natural process of redemption. His hero is Rabbi Akiba. "The view of Rabbi Akiba is well known to us from the record of that wonderful rebellion which, although it did not succeed, taught us its ways." 38 Akiba had trusted in the messianic leader Bar Kochba and had supported the rebellion which eventually failed. According to Bin-Nun this is the basis of Maimonides' evaluation and appreciation of natural redemption. The Gush Emunim writer poses a question to his generation: is this generation, like that of Akiba, prepared to act in natural ways to achieve redemption and not wait for miracles? "We must ask what we must do today so that the redemption of Israel will come in our day and so that it does not come through the terrible tribulations which are part of that redemption to be forced upon us through divine intervention." 39

The Akiba image and its importance for Maimonides is recalled again by Yohanon ben-Yaakov. He quotes Maimonides as stating: "And let no man imagine that the king messiah need perform signs and wonders . . . it is not so. Behold Rabbi Akiba, among the wise men of the Mishnah, followed Bar Kochba the king acclaiming him the messiah." 40 For Gush Emunim the significance of the Akiba model as central in the drama of natural messianism is clear. The messianic faith which religious Zionists inherited from Rabbi A.I. Kuk, translated after 1967 into conquest and settlement of the West Bank, must be reaffirmed and advanced through human action. The eschaton, understood as a natural process which has begun and which the generation must advance, defines tasks. Gush Emunim assumes responsibility for fulfilling those tasks because large parts of the nation, even the majority, have not yet come to understand the processes, through which the generation is passing, and their ultimate meaning.

"Our act of settlement is for the entire nation and as its representative we had wished that the nation would wake and join us. But it slept—that nation which has returned to its land out of an exalted inner faith while lacking almost all awareness of that faith. The nation draws close to realizing its yearnings, and then succumbs to American pressure. The conflict (over Sinai—JA) was between two minorities: the leaders of the country and the settlers. Those who opposed withdrawal spoke in the name of far-reaching ideals and faith. They thereby became the representatives of the entire nation and took upon themselves the eternal strength of the people. They expressed the truth of history and protested against the profanation of the principles of the Torah and of Zionism." 41

The sense of standing surrogate for the nation and for the government is reflected in another statement which offers a retrospective analysis of post-'67 events.

The Six Day war aroused once again the ancient love for the Land of Israel. The war and its results placed us before those same challenges which had been faced by Degania, Tirat Zvi, and Petah Tikva. We were confronted by the commandment which outweighs all others—the imperative to settle the land of Israel. If a government movement had arisen to resettle the redeemed land, no doubt that tens of thousands of young people from all circles would have arisen to settle. . . 42

In this view politicians hinder movement and have slowed down the process of redemption. The daring and conviction which inspired the settlement of the earliest kibbutzim are now the possession of the religious settlers, who alone truly grasp the meaning of the hour.

The certainty and sense of righteousness which are the elan of self-designated elites stood the test of the disappointment of Sinai. The experience reinforced the resolve of the minority to pursue its mission. Sinai shook and confused but only momentarily. Gush Emunim reaffirmed its historic religious vision and resolved to fulfil its role as an activist vanguard in a sacred messianic process. In the course of reaffirmation, the words of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk, the revered teacher who had died shortly before the withdrawal, were recalled repeatedly. The Rabbi's statements over the past decade were used in setting out guidelines for the future and in rehearsing fundamental principles of the movement: settlement of the Holy Land as an absolute obligation; the imperative of conquest; and the use of the instrumentalities of the State, principally the army, in this divine effort.

Most important for the self-understanding of Gush Emunim in troubled times, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda is cited in support of demonstrations and active opposition in the struggle for the Holy Land. Thus, years before when the settlement of Elon Moreh was threatened, Kuk declared: "The divine commandment that this land . . . will be under our rule . . . and any coercion against the commandment either by the Israeli government or a non-Jewish government requires us to rise up with all our strength . . . and all decisions which rob us of parts of this land are totally negated." 43 Five days later, in the heat of the Elon Moreh controversy when the new settlement was threatened with removal, the aged rabbi had stated that "as it is impossible to force us to eat pig and profane the Sabbath, so it is impossible to force us to leave this place." 44

Zvi Yehuda Kuk expressed full identification with the actions of the movement which opposed the withdrawal from Sinai. His words are cited when it is important to express firmness and confidence in the actions, taken during that critical period, by Gush Emunim and by the movement to resist withdrawal. "A Jewish government which creates a Pale of Settlement within its own land violates the commandments of the Creator. The value and right of this government to exist should be clarified." 45 Kuk wrote to the settlers attempting to hold Sinai: "To all our dear ones dedicated to preserving the wholeness of the land, the holy inheritance of our fathers I am with you in all your actions on behalf of the land to its full borders." 46

Driving Gush Emunim forward is the sense of the mission of the sacred few who stand surrogate for the chosen people. Zvi Yehuda Kuk had crowned the movement with the halo of total good, and his words were recalled in discussing the events of the withdrawal. "Gush Emunim is entirely positive and in no way negative. It is the negation of the negation of the abandonment of any part of Eretz Yisrael . . . and it is the negation of the negation out of love and mutual recognition, and is totally positive power." 47

At the same time reference to Zvi Yehuda Kuk was also made in order to negate radical sectarian tendencies within the movement. The possibility existed that the minority, inspired by a definition of sacred vocation, feeling very pressed and therefore highly defensive, would resort to non-democratic means against the majority. Gush Emunim thinkers found it necessary to state repeatedly that the movement must not break out of the established democratic norms and must not attempt to force the majority to capitulate under threats of civil war or martyrdom. Thus words of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk in favour of educating, convincing and influencing, on the one hand, and in support of the value of "love of all Israel," on the other, were mustered to affirm the non-sectarian approach. Gush Emunim sees itself as charged to remain within the main body of Israel in order to transform the whole. The movement must not only continue to settle and thereby guarantee the inner and outer continuation of the revitalization and redemption processes. It must also take upon itself the ideological task of defining meaning and guiding the lost people.

The State of Israel cannot survive, in my opinion, without the direction of Zionist ideology. The upcoming years will witness total public alienation from existing ideological forces. Agudat Yisrael continues to present a stubborn alternative outside Zionism and hence outside history. The only force which can define an alternative ideology is a force which unites the nation with its land and with the Torah. . . . 48

In the light of the nation's sickness, revealed by the willing evacuation of Sinai, Gush Emunim sees itself called upon to repair, to strengthen, and to guide the life of the nation on the ideological plane and through actions in the field towards the fulfillment of its God given destiny.

Indeed, the theme of national unity is advanced constantly by Gush Emunim as a vitalistic and revivalistic assertion in the face of what are seen as signs of present crisis. The renewal of the nation is depicted in romantic and even mystical language. It is the key to a cosmic process. The healing of Israel is the necessary condition for change in world order. The internal process must be completed first, however, and this requires an enormous exertion of national will to overcome the weakness and tendency towards self~destruction evidenced by the catastrophe in Yamit and Sinai. The fight over territories, as understood by Gush Emunim, is a fight to revive national being itself, and to prevent the inroads of exile.

The Jewish people arises and revives by divine command. Our people, scattered and divided among the nations and lacking independence and a homeland, now rises and throws off the dust of exile. It moves towards the fulfillment of its national being. This process began with the ingathering of the exiles and was strengthened by the rebuilding of the Land and the establishment of the State of Israel. The life of the nation, which had been frozen during the exile and which has come to full expression only in the distinct lives of individuals, is now flourishing. Our efforts are directed towards adding life to this nation, towards arousing the forces which slept, and towards adding strength and faith.49

In the eyes of leaders of Gush Emunim, the war in Lebanon was precisely that outburst of national will and force necessary to demonstrate that Israel would continue advancing in the process of revival and redemption. The war was launched on 6 June 1982, only three months after the final evacuation of Sinai. If the war did not wipe away the bitterness left by the withdrawal, it did deflect attention from it and did force a new confrontation with the meaning of Israel's politics in light of messianic theories. One tendency which emerged within Gush Emunim circles was an endorsement of the war because it returned to Israel territories included in the boundaries of the biblical promise, in this case the inheritance of Asher and Naphtali. Hanan Porat, well known Gush Emunim leader, declared:

There is no room for doubt here. Even according to the minimalists, Southern Lebanon is part of the Land of Israel, which is not only included in the biblical promise but in those areas which we were commanded to conquer and settle . . . The Land of Israel is an organic part of the essence and being of the people of Israel. The connection between the people and the land is analogous to the connection between the body and the soul . . .50

The negation of the territorial concessions of Sinai was transferred to a negation of concessions in Lebanon, at least in the South, which was claimed as sacred land, indeed as the heart of the Land of Israel.51 However, this fundamentalistic approval of the war because it restored biblical territory was not the only factor underlying the support of the Lebanese war among Gush Emunim leaders. More important in their eyes was the exhibition of sovereignty, national strength and the ability to withstand criticism, from within and without, which the war demonstrated. According to Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, "In the war for Peace in the Galilee our powers were revealed again, and our image as a military force was enhanced among the nations . . . We have proven that we can make autonomous decisions without considering what the 'goyim' think." 52

Waldman presents the clearest and most forthright statement of the identification of messianic religious nationalism with extremist right-wing politics. His presentation is the clearest symptom of the trend within Gush Emunim to blur the distinction between the sacred and the profane, to link religious values with secular goals and mundane needs, and to confer absolute legitimation upon a particular nationalist policy while abandoning the prophetic and ethical critique inherent in Judaism as a religion of transcendence. Finally, Waldman's presentation, which is an attempt to negate the exile and advance redemptive politics, reveals most clearly and ironically the force of the residues of exilic thinking and attitudes.

"We view the State of Israel as the beginning of our redemption, a beginning which has progressed quite far, especially in recent years, and in these most recent days." 53 By "these most recent days" Waldman refers to the summer months of 1982, when the war in Lebanon was being fought. Quoting Rabbi A.I. Kuk, Waldman states that "When there is a war in the world, the power of the messiah is aroused." 54 Armed struggle, heroism, national will and pride are crucial in his vision of Israel's role in contemporary history. Israel's vocation is to bring good and order into the world and to eliminate evil. This can be accomplished only through the assertive exercise of sovereignty and power.

The connection between war and Israel's mission is indicated briefly by Waldman's citation from the talmudic Tractate Megilla. "In the Tractate Megilla it is written that wars come in a messianic period. Our goal is to be the heart of the world . . . so that the world will recognize that it must draw its life blood from the heart . . . Israel wants to give blood to the world." 55 In order to be effective in contributing good to the world, in this view, one must be effective in eliminating evil through force. Jews in exile failed in their mission because they were powerless. The state provides the physical framework necessary for the success in the spiritual vocation.

In the process of redemption we must pass through these stages towards heroism and sovereignty, towards a readiness to fight for survival. We must not be slaves, not be those who capitulate and not be dependent. We cannot influence others and be guides when we are being trounced. For thousands of years in exile we were oppressed. In those years we maintained our purity, but we could not influence others and could not be a light unto the nation. We sent forth only the light of weakness. The wisdom of the victim is a wisdom which is despised. Light shines forth only from heroes, only from those who struggle, who do not submit to others, only this light possesses the powers to influence the nations. Thus, in the process of return we must ascend in stages and be ready to fight wars.56

Only when Israel achieves its maximum strength, and thereby maximum respect and honour, will the nations of the world be prepared to be influenced and changed. Even after several military victories, the nations seek to restrain Israel, to force it to concede territories, and to return it to a state of dependency. "I put the following words in their mouths: Why are you playing with states and wars? Go back to your study halls. That is your business." 57 Anti-semitism, in Waldman's view, is the desire of the world to preserve Israel's dependency and abnormality. Freedom is shaking off this condition, standing firm against international pressure, and operating according to one's inner clock, inner direction and imperatives.

The meaning of the war in Lebanon is clear. In Waldman's terms the war marks national ascendence after a long period of decline. Once again military forces revealed the power of the nation. They revealed Israel's independence, its ability to ignore international opinion, and to march according to its own drummer. Finally, the war revealed the spiritual force of Israel, that nation prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and not submit to intimidation.

The State remains the structure within which natural redemption occurs. Its vehicles, such as the army, are sacred and its force may be used for the fulfilment of God's will. This perspective is revealed clearly in the following evaluation of the meaning of the war: "We have claimed that our task is to create order in the world . . . Who else will create this order? If we do not, there will be none." 58 The war in Lebanon is thus a struggle to create world order. "We must remember that the goal is the destruction of evil. We will not rest until this is accomplished. This is the force of the national revival, and at least we have begun the work. Our enemies will not be able to rise up against us again and again. God gives us not only physical power but also the spiritual strength, heroism and decisiveness to finish the work." 59

Those who do not have the courage to "finish the work" are the greatest danger to Israel in Waldman's view. He attributes the existence of internal criticism to fear, fatigue, and value confusion. "There is no greater danger to our survival than the unwillingness to fight. This unwillingness to fight is expressed in the desire 'to eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow we die.' The essence of life has now become material existence. Ideals for which one ought to sacrifice the material, even sacrifice the life of the individual for the collective, have almost disappeared." 60

Waldman sees the individual as a segment of society, his dignity and rights subjugated to the needs of the group. "One must know that sacrifice is a necessary aspect of the soul of the nation. The courage and strength recently revealed revitalize the nation and disclose the essence of life. Only if we recognize and have faith that we are revealing the powers of redemption especially through the souls who act in the drama, those who are sacrificed an ascend. . . ." 61

The nexus of concepts and values, found in an unalloyed and extreme form in the writings of Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, is the intellectual and religious foundation of the activity of Gush Emunim. Redemptive politics, fundamentalism, mystical attachment to the unity of land and people, and pride in the exhibition of power drive forward the latter-day pioneers who carry the flag of national-religious vocation.

In a post-1967 revivalist fervour, those who later formed Gush Emunim staked all in redeeming the land through settlement. For the religious nationalist young people who built the first settlements and forced the government's hand, this activity demonstrated the legitimacy of the very basic commitment to Zionism of orthodox Jews because it was interpreted to be a clear sign of ongoing redemption. Those who had endorsed co-operation with the secularists in the Zionist movement in building the homeland and negating the exile, who believed that the aeon was that of the "beginning of the redemption" were proved correct in their judgement and investment by historical events which embodied meta-historical meaning.

The extreme reaction to opposition and the need to maintain the redemptive momentum is built into the dynamic of Gush Emunim. The movement is caught in the tension which afflicts all millenarians: living with hope while waiting. Withstanding this tension demands activity which seems to lead towards the anticipated end. The here and now must be filled with gains in the field, while those who challenged the process must be overcome. Camp David and the Sinai withdrawal introduced alarm and an element of dismay among the faithful. The events reminded Gush Emunim of the disonance between its vision and activities and those of the majority in Israel. The reaction was a fundamentalistic clinging to redemptive beliefs and an attack upon those who denied them.

The social and psychological ground for fundamentalism is fear and difficulty in coping with change. Christian fundamentalism of the nineteenth century was a sharp reaction to the breakdown of that cultural unity characteristic of earlier ages which had made the contents of faith seem self-evident because they were part of the lore and common knowledge of society. When breakthroughs in knowledge occurred, mainly through developments in science, the threat was not only to specific Christian beliefs but to basic cultural assumptions with which Christianity was identified. The "literal inerrency" of the Scriptures was a firm anchor to which those Christians frightened by cognitive and social changes could cling.

The biblical promise, the commandment to conquer and settle, and messianic certainty serve as anchors when social and psychological plausibility structures of belief are shaken. These concepts and the plan of action which derives from them define the meaning of collective and individual life clearly. They establish values and priorities closing off doubt and hesitation. In this sense, Gush Emunim is a fundamentalistic phenomenon which seeks to preserve fixed formulae and forms of action in the face of what are experienced as upsetting and confusing changes, such as that represented by the Camp David agreement.

The settlers are determined to preserve those Zionist values which they have chosen as essential-settlement, collectivism and self-sacrifice. They and their supporters yearn for a society in which duties and values were well-defined, clear, agreed upon by all, and closed. The sharp attacks upon individualism and materialism must be understood as resistance to those trends in modern society which seem to destroy compactness and collective meaning. Gush Emunim issues a fervent call for solidarity and total dedication to religious and national values which will restore unity, pride, and success in actions, which both prove superiority and advance redemption. The call mirrors the need to ward off the threat of openness, change and internal conflict.

Gush Emunim understands itself as embodying the spirit of the Jewish national revival and as standing in staunch opposition to those forces which weaken national being. These are the forces responsible for the failure of Sinai: secularized Israelis who fail to grasp the meaning of historical events and their relationship to the vocation of Israel. Further, Gush Emunim lines itself up against those orthodox Jews who have not yet come to recognize the reality of the messianic aeon. The irony embodied in the Gush Emunim stance is that while presenting itself as a negation of exile, it actually carries forward residues of exilic sensibility. Similarly, while claiming to be the continuators of the original vision of Zionism, Gush Emunim represents ideals and principles which stand in direct contradiction to essential aspects of the modern Zionism movement.

Both elements, the continuity of exile and the contradiction of Zionism are visible clearly in the meta-historical relationship of Gush Emunim to politics. When the footsteps of the messiah are the criterion, rational factors are ultimately irrelevant. Yet, the goal of Zionism was to return Jews to history and to end existence as "a people which dwells alone." Jewish life in all spheres was to be normalized or rationalized. The frame of reference was not to be Israel's relationship to God but a pragmatic relationship to the nations of the world, determined by rational considerations and interests.

The literal religious chiliasm of Gush Emunim precludes the possibility of a genuine confrontation with historical realities. Israel remains outside the ordinary rational categories of history locked in a conflict with the nations. Albeit, the existence of the state permits the conflict to be carried out with an army, and permits a release in activism of the energy and anger stored up during centuries of relative passivity. However, the perception of politics and the program for political action which emerges from the writings of Gush Emunim thinkers and activists is that of a people, determined by exilic archetypes of relationships between Jews and non-Jews, propelled to act out a biblically defined messianic drama.




back to top




Notes


1. Ben Halpern, The Idea of the Jewish State, Harvard University Press 1969, pp. 83-86.

2. Eliezer Goldman, Religion in Israeli Politics, Jerusalem, Jewish Agency 1964, p. 12.

3. Two books have appeared describing the ideology and history of Gush Emunim. Both are in Hebrew. Zvi Raanan, Gush Emunim, Tel Aviv, Sifriat Ha-Poalim 1980; Danny Rubenstein, Mi La-Shem Eli, Tel Aviv, Kibbutz Ha-Meuhad 1982.

4. Rabbi Menahem M. Kasher, Ha-Tekufa Ha-Hadasha (The Great Era), Jerusalem, Machon Torah Shlemah 1972.

5. Ibid., p. 40.

6. Ibid., p. 3.

7. Ibid., p.1 5.

8. Rabbi Yaakov Ha-Levi Filber, Ayelet Ha-Shahar, Jerusalem, Torah Le-Am Press 1975, p. 139.

9. Ibid., p. 170.

10. Ibid., p. 172.

11. Rabbi Yehuda Amital, Min Ha-Maamakim, Hebron, Hebron Press. n.d. pp. 11-12.

12. Ibid., p. 21.

13. Ibid., p. 30.

14. Ibid., p. 28.

15. Ibid., p. 43.

16. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk, quoted in Uriel Tal, "The Land and the State of Israel," in Rabbinical Assembly Proceedings 1976, vol. XXXVI11.

17. Rabbi Israel Shzipanski, Uriel Tal, p.9.

18. Nahmanides, Sefer Hamitzvot, (ed.) (trans. Charles Cavel) "Positive Commandments omitted by Maimonides," no. 4, pp. 244-246.

19. Danny Rubenstein, p.34.

20. Yisrael Medad, 3.2.82, pp. 4-5, in Nekuda, no.39.

21. Nekuda, edited by Yisrael Harel and published in Ofra, a West Bank Settlement.

22. Itamar Warhhaftig, Nekuda, no. 41, 19.3.82, pp.10-11.

23. Hanan Porat, Nekuda, no. 41, 19.3.82, p. 13.

24. Itamar Wahrhaftig, Nekuda, no. 41, 19.3.82, p. ll.

25. Nekuda, no. 43, 21.5.82, p. 19.

26. Rabbi Yehoshua Zuckerman, Nekuda, no. 43, 21.5.82, p. 18.

27. Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, Nekuda, no. 42, 2.4.82, p. 5.

28. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Nekuda, no. 11, 27.6.80, pp.10-11.

29. Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, Nekuda, no. 42, 2.4.82, p. 6.

30. Professor Rivka Schatz-Oppenheimer, Nekuda, no. 69, 3.2.84, p. 13.

31. Rabi Yisrael Ariel, Nekuda, no. 20, 5.12.80, p. 17.

32. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Nekuda, no. 11, 22.6.80, p. 10.

33. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Nekuda, no. 50, 11.12.82, p. 16.

34. Ibid., p.17.

35. Rabbi Yohanon ben Yaakov, Nekuda, no. 13, 1.8.80, p. 12.

36. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kuk, Orot, p.7, quoted in Nekuda, no. 43, 21.5.82, p. 20.

37. Maimonides, "Laws concerning the Installation of Kings," quoted in Gershom Scholem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism, New York, Schocken Books 1971, p. 28.

38. Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, Nekuda, no. 27, 17.4.81, p. 4.

39. Ibid., p. 5.

40. Rabbi Yohanon ben Yaakov, Nekuda, no. 13, 1.8.80, p. 12.

41. Rabbi Yehoshua Zuckerman, Nekuda, no. 43, 21.5.82, p. 22.

42. Rabbi Yaakov Ha-Levi Filber, Ayelet Hashahar, p.42.

43. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kuk, in Steiner and Kolonski, Nekuda, no. 45. 28.3.83, p. 22.

44. Ibid., p. 22.

45. Ibid.

46. Ibid.

47. Ibid., p. 22.

48. Rabbi Yoe1 Bin Nun, Nekuda, no. 42, 7.4.82, p. 6.

49. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Nekuda, no. 50, 12.11.82.

50. Hanan Porat, Nekuda, no. 50, 11.12.82, p. 6.

51. Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Ha-Har Ha-Tov Ha-Zeh ve Levanon, Jerusalem 1982, pp. 5-9.

52. Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Nekuda, no. 46, 6.8.82, p. 5.

53. Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Arzi, Jerusalem 1983, no. 3, p. 18.

54. Ibid., p. 18.

55. Ibid., p. 20.

56. Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Nekuda, no. 46, 6.8.82, p. 4.

57. Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Arzi, p. 27.

58. Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Nekuda, no. 46, 6.8.82, p. 6.

59. Ibid.

60. Ibid., p. 5.

61. Ibid.






DR. JANET AVIAD is Lecturer at the School of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of Return to Judaism: Religious Renewal in Israel (University of Chicago Press, 1983) and she has contributed articles to The Jerusalem Quarterly, Judaism, and Forum.

4 Smuts Street, Jerusalem, Israel






Web Editor's Note

This document has been edited slightly to conform to American stylistic, punctuation and hypertext conventions. No further changes to the text have been made.

This document is best viewed with 1024x768 pixel screen area.

Reprinted in accordance with U.S. copyright law.




Alabaster's Archive
Alabaster's Archive