by Moshe Feiglin
“Whoever travels on the Shabbat has forgotten what it is to be a Jew,” said Ultra-Orthodox Health Minister Litzman last week. I am very fond of Litzman and clearly, the Torah is the cornerstone of his identity. But the nation of Israel makes up all the other stones in the building, as well. It is no coincidence that Litzman needed an order from Israel’s High Court in order to become a minister (who recognizes the Zionist government) and not just a deputy minister, which is the position that the Ultra-Orthodox politicians usually take in order to sidestep the issue of recognizing the Zionist government.
Ultra-Orthodox ideology does not see the Nation of Israel without Torah as a nation. As they see it, the State of Israel does not really exist. It is a type of illusion. The British flag was exchanged for the Zionist flag and we remain nothing more than a community (and for that reason, for example, there is no need to enlist in the army).
We must admit that in many ways, that is how we look – like a confused and conflict-ridden community, bereft of identity and national pride.Are we nothing more than a community?Is there not a historical process taking place here, greater by far than the sum of its communities, disagreements, beliefs, heresies and ideologies? When the heretical Zionism defeated the Arab armies, liberated Jerusalem, amazed the world in Entebbe – wasn’t that a sanctification of G-d’s Name?
The Ultra-Orthodox touch upon a true problem. But those who have forgotten the intrinsic essence of the Nation of Israel, those who separate themselves from it – have also forgotten what it is to be a Jew.