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Aug 28, 2008

how anti-zionist are we?

cross-posted to DB

My wife was looking for an activity to keep the kids busy and thought a train ride would be exciting. So they took the train to the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv the other day.

The diaspora Museum shows a film reviewing 4000 years of Jewish history, touching on pretty much every time period and its basic events.

My wife told me there were a few other haredi families there watching the film at the same time. She told me that when the film started talking about Zionism and Hertzl, the Haredi families walked out.

I was not aware that the anti-Zionist sentiments were so strong among the average Haredi. After all, we are not Neturei Karta. We participate in the dealings and workings of the State. We participate in government. Since when is the Haredi position so anti-Zionist that you cannot sit through 2 minutes of Hertzl, Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, and Begin?

Is sitting through the review of the Zionist leaders so much worse than sitting through the review of idolatrous nations, pagan nations, nations that murdered us and destroyed us? It is ok to here what they believed in but not what the Zionists believed in?

I guess because they are Jews, and if you consider them apikorsim (as perhaps some of them could possibly be considered, at least to some people), then perhaps their ideas, and thus the review of them, are worse. As we say in the Haggadah - Lavan was worse than Pharoah. Phaorah wanted to destroy our bodies, while Lavan wanted to destroy our souls. Maybe, to these people, the Zionists are worse, because their ideas, their apikorsus, will destroy our souls (if we expose ourselves and our children to them).


  1. Walking out is really disgusting. I hope those families don't accept any money from the government, including child allowances and unemployment. If they do, that is the ultimate lack of hakarat hatov.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Rafi,
    The more I read your blog, the more I am amazed that you write things like "how anti-zionist are we?".
    Why do you say "we". You are so so obviously not one of them?
    Why does anyone think that to be makpid on kala k'hamura has to include a political party line?

  4. "we" is being used in the general sense... the general Haredi community does not officialy consider itself anti-Zionist. While they do not agree with the Zionist ideology, they are not "anti-zionists". So for them to walk out, as if negating completely the ideas of Zionism as if they don't exist, is a bit fo a shock. If the people would have been neturei Karta or even Satmar, I would understand it. They are anti-Zionists. But regular Haredim? That is more of a surprise.

  5. I think you're giving this family too much credit.

  6. what do you mean? you think they are just mean and ignorant and not indicative of the average haredi opinion? it could be...

  7. rafi,

    why are you so surprised?
    all chareidi education (no matter which "group") is anti-zionist.
    or as a rebbe in one of the normative chareidi yeshivos once told me, "our haskafa (Agudah) regarding zionism is exactly the same as the neturei karta except for the fact that "we" play along with the zionists in the government in order to get money from them".

  8. y - so in other words, the people of the neturei karta have more integrity than the average haredi fellow?

  9. and the Hamas has more integrity than the Fatah.

  10. Aguda may be just as anti-Zionism as NK, but they certainly have a different view of Zionists.

  11. Also, it's harder to see how terrible it-zionism-is cuz it's cloaked in some good stuff.

    Gray areas are worse than black.

    Just saying.

  12. The real question is how "anti" are "we".
    Some people are more tolerant of ideas they disagree with, and some no matter how minor the issue is will always get worked up about it.

  13. THe truth is that most chareidy hashkafa is that the state and it's leaders are a bad thing for klal yisrael. The entire zionist thing went against the mainstream torah leaders of the early and mid ninteenth century.
    the reason why they partake in the government is not to get as much money as they can but rather to represent themselves and their interests as would be done in any other stage of the golus. hishtadluyos with the poritz as was the typical in european history.
    the chazon Ish, in defending the practice of voting and thereby taking part of the democratic (sort of) process of Israel said that even though it is bad to pick up a stick and hit people, however , if attacked it would be responsible to jit back in defense. so to it is okay to partake in the government to protect whatever we still can of yiddishkeit. (however anti- religious the government is nowadays is nothing compared to the original days of the medina when the zionists were attempting to set up a state with their own ideals and ideologies. (this is the reason why they were reluctant to have too many frum people make aliyah and sat by and even sabatoged plans to save jews in the holocaust (see perfidy andother books))
    the fact the cahadrim are able to exist independant of any government intervention is largely due to the representative in the kinesset (a seperate issue than the money issue - even without the money they would still need to be recognized as a fulfillment of the legal obligation of a parent to send their children to school.)
    also giyus banos has never been instated because of various coalition agreements from forty yearrs ago
    the list goes on eith many aspects of yiddishkeit that were "saved" due to involvement in politics

  14. anonymous - that is all very true. But then why walk out when discussing history of Israel, yet not when discussing history of other nations?

  15. I do not undersdtand your kashya. I wasn't there but I assume that zionsim was presented in a postive light while the pagans, yoshkoniks etc. were not. so why they would leave at the zionists davka seems obvious to me.

  16. but certainly 'Official' Charedi - litivsh and most of the Chasisdim hashkofa is anti-zionist - the only difference btwn the Steipler and the Satmar Rov on the issue is whther siting in a government trying to protect your interests is considered 'Hschabrus l'reshoim' or not you can read about his in Karyono d'Igresa also the Steipler holds the 3 shevous is not a kashya only becsue the state is here willy nilly and there is nothing we cannot do (aside from davening) to make it go away so our participatoin is not considred perpetuating all of the avlos the Satmar Rov discusses. But avada l'fi the Steipler (se also R' Reuven Grozosky, and R' Schwadron and R' Shach and this is realy just a sampling who express similar opn ions) avada the state is a problem of the 3 shevious - but I would think a few times before I called the Steipler the word used in a previous post people who participate in the state.

    This is further evidenced by Haredi non-participation in the army (males). Cuz everyone knows it is crud to say what the brilliant hardei politicians say that 'learning' is our contribution (true learnign adds protection, but it is crud to sat that this is a replacement for serving in the army) to our protection. Cuz is that what they said in Dovid Hamelechs army? c'mon. If you hold fromt eh goals raison d'etere etcv.etc. of an army - you participate. Finished.
    Nor vus. Haredim view Israel's army like Jews did the Czars.

  17. Now althoguh this is the official stance of the vast majority of Haredi Authorities, notable exception should be paid to Gur. It seems that the Gur Hasisdim, from Itchy Mayer Levin and his brother-in-law the Imrei Emes until today, to some degree - and how much - you would have to be an insider to know - hold very much from the state.

    I am personally not sure if they 'b'etzem' hold of the medina or they saw it as a way to become a powerful group. (nuch like much of the early secular leftist leaders like ben-gurion, sharett and the rest ofthe mapai cabal who expertly manipulkated public opnion until the 73 war.

    But whatever the exact details are - Gur is definitrly more 'pro-zionist' that other haredim.

  18. And of course, with the passage of time I think the average Haredi is less and less aware of allof these issues anyway. most people are not aware of "where we came from" and "why we are here" History is not taught in any fromal way is Haredi schools. From any standpoint. Maybe by the girls.

    The average Hardi just knows that he is 'different' than "them".

    But the "official" Hashkofa remains what it always was even if circumstances and specicifc tactics change.

  19. Just the other day I was drving past machlaf hasira with some hardei kids 13 and 14 years old and they all asked me - who is that bearded guy when we passed the picture of Herzl shr"y (for whom a Jewish state was second place to his fisrt love of mass baptism for the entire Jewish people).

  20. anon of 1:59 - that reminds me of this post from two years ago

  21. anon - thanks for the background and explanation

  22. y - so in other words, the people of the neturei karta have more integrity than the average haredi fellow?
    Joel Rich

  23. i believe that the firsty gerrer rebbe to come to israel - the imrey emmes - had positive leanings towards the state mostly out of hakaras hatov because they assisted in his rescue. that might have been misunderstood to be pro-zionest or maybe was pro-zionist.
    he also made the taught language in the schools hebrew so that his chassisim would have a common ground with the street Jew

  24. Rafi,
    Think about the Greeks and the attempt to Hellenize the Jews in the time of Hanukah. Many of the leaders back then were also Jewish, just that their explicit goal was to rob the Jews of their religion and thier "antiquated" laws. Secualar Zionism was and continues to be about "Am KeKol HaAmim": this is frightfully central to the secural Israeli Weltanschaung. And this is the polar opposite of what the Am HaNivchar is supposed to be. It was Herzl who pined for a Jewish prostitute, Rachmanah Latzlan, in contrast to "Lo Tiyeh Kedesha".
    At least they didn't stone him


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