Friday, March 10, 2006

The Lessons of Exile

To introduce my general theories about Israeli politics I will first present my religious ideals. I am assuming we believe that G-d has a message for us in Jewish history, and that this message is discernable - as opposed to the causation of events and reasons for them etc.

So for the last 2000 years G-d decided to have us thrown out of most countries in existence, subjected to pogroms, dhimmi status, book-burnings, blood libels, Inquisitions, you name it we had it, even if we didn't expect it, because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, we have two main weapons .....

Barring a few lucky years in one or two locations (Bavel, Golden Spain) we had it pretty bad, as a minority amongst a ruling majority who didn't like us very much. Walled up in our ghettoes, extremely restricted in the kind of profession we could do, subject to heavy taxation, we know what it is like to live as a minority. I would imagine this point to be self-evident.

After this inordinately long exile, G-d decided to grant us the gift of the state, to see how we will perform. Have we learned the lessons of the Exile, have we sufficiently internalized what it means to live in the minority? I believe we have failed in this.

It is also self-evident to me that in Israel that minorities do not get sufficient recognition and respect. Whether it be Sefardim, Ethiopians, Russians, Arabs, settlers, the disabled and others. It doesn't seem to me that those responsible with the running on the state really show large amounts of compassion to the minorities living amongst them.

It also disturbs me that the large majority of religious leaders do not speak up about this. They are not my leaders if they haven't yet learned the lesson that the Jewish people suffered so much in order for us to learn. I am not trying to present a political platform, rather a moral imperative that all Jews must have, especially those of us who believe that G-d has been trying to tell us lessons in history.

Israel has done a great job in absorbtion, but so much more needs to be done, and religious Jews worldwide should be leading the march and fighting the fight to show that Israel can truly be a succesful experiment, where the morality of the Jews shines through for all to see.



At 3/10/2006 9:59 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

Idealistic, not realistic. Even jews are all too human. However, we can continue dreaming and hoping for the best.

It is easy to sit back and ponder then list all the failings you percieve... so what you gonna do about it, huh?

At 3/11/2006 1:18 PM, Blogger Jak Black said...


A dissappointly superficial post. You name Arabs among the minorities, forgetting that Pan-Arab armies tried to wipe Israel off the face of the map a few times. How much respect would Cubans get in the US under similar circumstances?

Also, while you say that Russins, etc. are not treated equally, at least their fair-treatment is enshrined in law. We could make a strong case that in the US, minorities also aren't treated equally. It always takes decades for the praxis to catch up to the jurisprudence. Give Israel some time.

Regarding leaders of the Frum parties speaking up, give me a break. They have much more pressing issues that concern their constituencies.

At 3/12/2006 2:59 AM, Blogger Jak Black said...

As I type these words one of the headlines on Ha'aretz is:

Gov`t okays measures to counter discrimination against three minority groups (Haaretz)

See? I'm no fan of the government (or the State for that matter.) But calling Israel a racist state is simply incorrect.

At 3/14/2006 5:13 AM, Blogger Chai18 said...

while what you wrote is a nice idea, with all israel's problems i dont think affirmitve action is on the top of the list of most politicians.

chag sameach

At 3/16/2006 9:27 PM, Blogger TwennyTwo said...


you better GET IT, trk! (lol that's a southern expression used to show admiration and agreement in my crowd, by the by...)

keep talking. this idea is one I have yet to read on a large-enough scale. keep talking. masha'Allah, this is good thinking.

hug a friend and let them know you're glad to know them.


At 3/19/2006 11:34 AM, Blogger yakki said...

Its an interesting fact for me as a pre-med student that when a suicide bomber in Israel remains alive...the Israeli doctors rush to try to save this SOB's life. How's that for ethical norms! Its upon all of us to view humans as humans and not anything else.

At 3/19/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Soferet said...

Oh, yeah TRK. There was a Black Panther movement in Israel too, you know. Good for you for bringing this topic up. It deserves furhter discussion.
There is still the matter that we have been abused consistently for millenia - which makes us able to empathuze with others abused, but are we still too traumatized to see the abuses we ourselves (as a tribe) are guilty of? Have we recovered sufficiently to really see?

At 3/20/2006 5:52 AM, Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

come over and vote: Should I post pictures of my wifes breasts

At 3/23/2006 6:04 AM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...


I am speaking up, that's what I am doing about it.


Thanks for your comments. I never called Israel a racist state. In fact, your comment blaming all Arabs is bordering on the racist and disturbs me greatly.


I'm not sure if I am talking about affirmative action, but just saying a gov has more important things to worry about doesn't allow us to ignore the problem.


Thanks for the support. Keep fighting the good fight.


Yes, Israel is sometimes too moral!


not sure if I agree with the black panthers extremism, but I can understand their pain.


You are a sick sick man, please never comment here again.


At 3/23/2006 11:16 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

Somehow I knew that was the extent.

At 3/30/2006 8:27 PM, Blogger Ittay said...

Dr. David Marcus on Parashat Mishpatim in 5758

"You shall not wrong a stranger (ger) or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:20) and, when it is repeated, the phrase "you know the mind of a stranger [for you were strangers in the land of Egypt]" is added (23:9). The reason given for not wronging the stranger is only an ethical one, the Israelites were once strangers in a foreign land and so can empathize with the experience of foreigners in their own land. This is borne out by the language which is used in the verse where the Hebrew verb lahats ("to oppress") alludes to the situation of the Israelites in Egypt. Their treatment there was described with the same verb: "I have seen the oppression (lahats) with which the Egyptians oppress (lohatsim) them" (Exodus 3:9).

At 4/02/2006 11:37 AM, Blogger HashkaficallyLost said...

Your "history lesson" is exactly why I want(ed) to make Aaliyah. But after living here for 7 months, I'm not quite convinced that living completely seperate from the Non-Jews is the ideal. Maybe we ARE supposed to live in Israel, with the Non-Jews (Be they Arab, Christian, or Muslim) amoung us.

Now that I think about it, the logic makes perfect sense. G-d has given us the great gift of Eretz Yisrael, but we are STILL IN GALUS, and as such, are meant to live amoung the nations of the world.

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