Magazine article Tikkun

New Voices of Sanity and Deliberative Reason

Magazine article Tikkun

New Voices of Sanity and Deliberative Reason

Article excerpt

ONE COULD LOOK AT THE VERY FACT THAT Israel is alive and thriving and say, "Dayenu; is there a need to look much further?" But look we must, as Jews who have regard not only for our yesterdays but for our future and survival. Surely Israel is an essential element of our ethnic and cultural identity. The centrality of Israel to Jewish life in the Diaspora is quite properly of paramount importance to the world Jewish community; yet there are moral and political pitfalls.

Jews outside of Israel have been reluctant to differ publiclyand even privately-with the policies of the government of Israel as they relate to questions impinging on physical security and military strategy. This reluctance was rightfully bom of the feeling that the costs and consequences of any such policies would rest not on the shoulders of European, American, or Australian Jews, but on Israelis who have invested their lives in the creation and continuity of the state.

Yet it would be foolhardy to pretend that Jews the world over are not also profoundly affected by the choices any Israeli government makes. The meaning of our lives as Jews would surely be at risk, were Israel's continuity endangered-not merely its physical continuity but its moral and ideological underpinnings as well.

In public Jewish pronouncements there are frequent calls for unity. Yet I firmly maintain that our strength lies not in unity but in diversity. In our past, there has always been disunity in one way or another, friction between scholars, strife between Pharisees and Sadducees, or between Hassidim and Misnagdim. What kept us alive was the sharp discussion, mind pitted against mind and man wrestling with God. Dialogue keeps one alive; acquiescence, on the other hand, leads to apathy and apathy to resignation.

The peace process is in deep trouble, partly due to certain elements that desire a radical shift from rational and democratic principles of governance to one that is shaped by messianism, extreme nationalism and religious fundamentalism. Two sayings of the prophets come to mind: Shakm, shalom ve'eyn shalam (peace, peace, they mouth, yet there is no peace) and the other, an admonition not usually heeded by politicians in any country: Tzedek tzedek tirdof- Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue. …

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