Monday, July 25, 2005

Religious Zionism -- the future

Yair Sheleg in Ha'aretz makes a point that neatly follows up on my post on religious Zionism, and the mistakes of its past, yesterday:
[W]hen religious Zionist leaders say they will begin to fight the liberal elite not only on the Land of Israel front, but on other fronts as well - this is, in principle, a blessing. The liberal elite is indeed overly and exclusively dominant and shapes a policy that is not sufficiently balanced, at least insofar as the boundaries of the law and the image of the Israeli public domain (commerce on the Sabbath, and the advertising market, for example) are concerned. On the contrary: If the result of the destruction of Gush Katif will be the direction of energies of religious Zionism not only at the Land of Israel, but also at a struggle for the image of society, perhaps we will be able to say that this dark cloud has a silver lining. It is vital that religious Zionism take a position at the forefront of the struggle over the character of the judicial system, Sabbath, education, the advertising market, and social justice and human dignity - including the issue of trafficking in women - which the liberal elite has forsaken over the years.
Yes, and which the religious Zionists have forsaken as well.
However, Sheleg warns that they should not try and advance the 'hardal' -- national-ultra-Orthodox -- worldview, as "the outcome will be only hatred and failure, similar to the results of the struggle over the Land of Israel... The temptation to react to liberal extremism with counter-extremism is understandable and natural, but we must not submit to it."
I would add that the return to seeing these areas as the priority must also not be conceived as a 'fight' for dominance or be done in anger against the 'secular elites' -- it should be done in the spirit of goodwill, of trying to shape the country, in which we are all partners, in the best possible way for everyone. It should be seen as a return to religious Zionism's roots and core mission, rather than as revenge.

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