Look at your TV. Watch the internet. There is revolution in the air: the Arab Spring, the Greek streets, the Eurozone drama , maybe even the protesters in the USA. Now, there is a revolution coming to Israel. We have seen pictures and stories. There will be change. Life will be different. But the change coming to Israel has nothing to do with lower rents or more free education, two-state solutions or ‘democracy’, national debt or financial abuses. The Israeli revolution will be different—and some who see it are afraid--and angry.
Gideon Levy sees it. Do you know Gideon Levy? He is an entrenched, Left-soaked journalist who feels nothing but loathing for the Religious Right. As quoted in a recent Arutz Sheva story (Haaretz Journalist fears ‘settler takeover’, by Tzvi Gedalyahu, October 31, 2011), Levy feels that ‘settlers’ are taking over. They’re taking control. Religious soldiers are in the IDF. Religious settlers are in the West Bank. Religious Jews are in seats of power. Religious Jews are aiming to join the judiciary. ‘Every settler has this mark of Cain on their [sic] brow’, he asserts, and we must stop their hostile take-over before they change the character of the State.
Ilan Ben Zion (The question of Israel as a Jewish democracy, Haaretz, October 31, 2011) writes that rabbinic fiat threatens Israel’s democracy. The mullahs [sic] of Mea Shearim aim to ‘take over’ all of Israel. Like Gideon Levy, Ben Zion sees the handwriting on the wall. Neither likes what he sees.
Both Levy and Ben Zion have reason to fear. As Ben Zion suggests, there is an unstoppable religious movement here. He—and all Leftists—want Israel to ‘divest itself of its religious trappings’ now, immediately, before it is too late. But it might already be too late. The demographics speak for themselves: a recent poll shows that 58% of Israelis today count themselves as mildly-strongly religious. Already, more than 50% of Israeli students are orthodox (Reb Akiva, Mysticalpaths.blogspot, May 12, 2010). Already, a growing number of IDF officers are ‘kippa sruga’. For years, we have known that birth rates among religious nationalists are greater than the secular sector.
The religious are coming! The religious are coming!
For the Left, the prospect of yielding power is horrifying. They have controlled Israel—and, often, the lives of religious Jews in Israel—since the birth of the State. The problem for them now is, the tide has turned. They see it. They know it. But we do not yet see it—and that’s the problem. We are fighting battles as if we are still the minority. We are not.
The Left is talking to us. They fear us. They fear our numbers. They fear our influence. They fear our Torah. They are telling us that they see the future and they will fight for what has passed. They will demonize us. They join with the enemies of this Jewish land because they can no longer compete with us. We outnumber them. They know they will lose ground against us. The only place they have to turn now is to our enemy. For the Left, the only chance to survive is to sleep with those who would kill us. This is an interesting concept. But it is not a healthy concept—for the Left or for Israel.
We, the religious, have yet to understand what the Left already sees: the future is ours. But while we still live in a ‘minority’ past, the Left understands their future. They will not yield quietly or courteously. They will fight and so must we. We must assert ourselves. We must talk openly about Jewish land, Jewish heritage and Jewish leadership—because if we do not do that, the Left will take advantage of our negligence.
Each day, we grow stronger. Each day, we see yet another police officer, soldier or civil servant with a kippa. Almost every day, the Left tells us we must defend democracy against the religious; so every day, we must defend our religion against the Left’s fictitious ‘democracy’. Almost every day, we see social protesters seeking social justice against a ‘swinish’ capitalism. Almost every day, we see the Left calling the religious ‘fascists’. What do we say?
The Left wants change. They want a social revolution. They want justice and they see religion as the source of injustice (see Ben Zion, ibid). They talk of justice, democracy, solidarity and mutual responsibility. They seek an open society (The real reason Soviet immigrants are cynical about Israel, Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz, October 31, 2011), and they are cynical indeed about Israel’s future.We also want change. But the change we want is not dependent on man’s ideologies. We have seen those ideologies. We declare them to be bankrupt. We choose G-d. We choose G-d’s land. We choose G-d’s traditions. What we still have to decide is, when do we declare that we are on the threshold of our own revolution—a religious revolution. We have seen crowds of thousands shouting, ‘we want reform in Government!’ Perhaps it is time now to see crowds of thousands shouting, ‘we want G-d in Government!’