Monday, October 09, 2017

The Age of Identity

By Moshe Feiglin

What do these things have in common?
• The dissolution of the Soviet Union,
• The Arab Spring,
• The English Brexit,
• The rise of right-wing parties in Europe,
• "Make America Great Again" - i.e., the Trump phenomenon.
• The referendum in Catalonia

And the list goes on ...

The common denominator of all these phenomena can be reduced to a single word - identity. World wars made national identity, and later identity in general, a dirty word. Seventy years later, humanity once again seeks its identity.

John Lennon's "Imagine" is, in my opinion, the anthem of the post-war world. A vision of a world without states, without religions, without reward and punishment, without values ​​worth dying for (and thus without meaning to live for) a vision of a world without identity, a world in which erasure of identity will bring man and mankind to their ultimate happiness. It began with the blurring of national identities, but quickly spread to a war against all identities. Family identity (everything is a family), sexual identity (whatever you choose), and even human identity (meat is murder) - all fell victim in the era of loss of all identities.

But it seems that the process has exhausted itself, that the pendulum that was pushed with such tremendous force in response to the horrors of the world wars (which were motivated by national identities), that pendulum has reached the end of its swing and has begun to move back into the balance point - and in a very dangerous way also beyond it.

States and societies seek to return to their national identity and self-definition. People are returning to embrace their religion, their national ethos, their flag - they are returning to their identity.

The process is inevitable and when it is led by irresponsible people it is also very dangerous. Too many lunatics are now at the helm of organizations and countries - some of which are armed with nuclear weapons and others of which will be so armed within the next decade. Our world now looks like a barrel of fuel surrounded by children who are playing with matchboxes in their hands. The return to national identity, when not restrained by a culture that condemns aggression, translates into a desire for conquest and expansion that brings us quickly to the threshold of World War III.

Where will that part of mankind that moves between the extremes find a road map for a restrained and refined return to a healthy identity, one that builds society on the foundations of freedom and the sanctity of life?

The need for such a map and guides was recognized and expressed by Lord Balfour, the 100th anniversary of whose eponymous declaration which led to the establishment of the State of Israel we are celebrating this year. In the wake of the despair from the results of the First World War, Balfour and his friends explained that the return of the descendants of the prophets to the Holy Land and their ancient culture would grant mankind a message of perfection (described extensively in Barbara Tuchman's book The Bible and the Sword).

There is no doubt that the return to identity is a widespread global phenomenon which the Zehut Party is a part of. However, unlike the unrestrained reactions that have led to the return of identity around the world, the Israeli Zehut Party is based on an ancient and rich Jewish culture that softens and restrains the process of return to ourselves, a culture that entails a universal message.

Sukkot is the time of this message. This is the holiday in which all the nations of the world brought their sacrifices to the Temple, "for My House shall be called a house of prayer for all nations".

To an Israeliness that is returning to its identity, a universal message of freedom and peace under the wings of the One Creator, the Master of the World whom most of humanity that has adopted the Bible believes in.

Happy holidays.

No comments: