Apr 28, 2009

Who is the true Zionist?

The most surprising thing I read in this past weeks Mishpacha newspaper, was an editorial column by Yerucham Landsman. The actual content of what he said is less important, and I do not want to debate whether the specific point he made is correct or not correct. What I find more important was the simple fact that such a column ran in a haredi newspaper.

The column, entitled, "Who is really best serving the concept upon which the Jewish State was founded?" goes on to argue about how the haredim are the real Zionists. The purpose of the State, as it was delineated in its early days, was to provide a home for the Jews, as they have no other home. A place where the continuance of the Jewish People would be "guaranteed".

He goes on to argue (I am presenting his argument very briefly because my point is not to debate his points) that the Haredim really ensure the continuity of the Jewish State more than anyone else, as they have more kids, the kids are encouraged to stay in Israel and travel abroad much less, etc.
The army, the government, the public community, institutions, etc. are all mediums for the functioning of the State. the State itself is for the continuity of the Jewish people. So haredim are really the ones who are most Zionist as they are the ones who are really best fulfilling the function of the State.

The fact that in the days before Yom Ha'atzmaut a haredi paper will run an article arguing the point that haredim are more Zionist than the secular, is mind blowing. Just the essence of the existence of the debate is an indication of the shifts in the haredi world. Debating who is more Zionist? A short while ago there never would have been such a discussion at all!


  1. I didn't read the article, so my comments are based on your paraphrasing.

    It's clear that haredim now comprise a sufficient percentage of the Israeli population such that they could now claim to be the "true" Israeli. This isn't an acceptance of Zionism -- rather, they are trying to co-opt the term to refer to Torah-true Judaism as practiced in Eretz Yisroel. Do not confuse this with any sort of tolerance for the other 80% of the country.

  2. I don't know about using the word zionist. But the theme -that haredim are the real jews who provide safety, build e"y, and etc - is certainly not new.

  3. it's just a different way of putting down chilonim; nothing new

  4. zionism is IMO dangerous for MidEast peace.

  5. Zionism is Judaism.There is no Israeli nationality. There is only a Jew. A Jew is an Israeli not the other way around. By definition, every Jew is a Zionist whether or not he affirms he is one.

  6. This does not haredim are adopting the term Zionism, it just means they are twisting a term to mean something other than its actual meaning.

    It is no different than when left wingers say that the true fulfillment of Zionism will be to give Palestinians the right of return and replace Israel with a binational state named Palestine.

  7. Somehow he forgot about the dati leumi community, which also has tons of kids and even more strongly encourages people to stay in Israel.

    For good measure, unlike the charedim they sustain the country by serving in the army, paying taxes, running public services, and so on.

    Sounds just a bit more Zionist to me.


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