For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

Excerpt

In recent years, Americans have become accustomed to the idea that Muslim fundamentalism can impel masses of believers to employ war, revolution, and terrorism to meet their religious and political obligations. What still seems strange to most Americans is that the same fundamentalist phenomenon-- defined here as political action to radically transform society according to cosmically ordained imperatives--exists among Jews and is a key element on the Israeli side of the Middle Eastern equation. As among fundamentalist Muslims, so among fundamentalist Jews, actions that Americans and even most Israelis might consider "crazy" must be understood for the profoundly political acts they represent.

Consider first the case of an Israeli named Ami Popper. In May 1990, two years after the original publication of this book, Popper put on his army uniform and asked men waiting at a bus stop in a southern Israeli town for their identity cards. After confirming they were Arabs he lined them up and opened fire, killing seven. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir immediately declared that the killings had no political significance, but were instead the act of a "deranged individual." Popper, however, was found sane and fit to stand trial. He is now serving a long prison sentence for murder and recently married the adopted daughter of Rabbi Meir Kahane's son, Benjamin Kahane, leader of the Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives) movement. Popper's sentence is the subject of regular appeals by settlers and other Jewish fundamentalists who demand his release as a "political prisoner. . . ."

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