Thoughts on the haredi anti-IDF rally in New York

The recycling of ideas that have been proven to be mistaken blocks the chance of accepting reality.

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Rabbi Berel Wein,

Rabbi Berel Wein
Rabbi Berel Wein
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Ideologies and long-held beliefs die hard, even when they have long been surpassed by events and circumstances. Those who believed in them and promulgated them find it difficult, if not impossible, to adjust to the reality of the current actual situation. There are many examples of this present in today's world. 

There still are anarchists and Marxists in academia and in other influential positions. The events of the past century are ignored by them and they continue to hold onto the fantasy of some sort of perfect world built upon utopian Marxist philosophy. Ignoring facts is often a bad habit that affects the intelligentsia and elite amongst us. 

After twenty years, a strong case can be made that the Oslo agreements were not such a good idea after all. An even stronger case can be made regarding the withdrawal from Gaza, which was a really very bad idea. Yet the ideologues who foisted these very questionable policies upon us stubbornly refuse to admit that perhaps they were mistaken. Those who desire an illusory peace at almost any price still abound and gain great media coverage while continuing to promote ideas that have long since become irrelevant and really unimportant. 

But in the world of the doctrinaire Left (and the doctrinaire Right as well,) once a believer will always remain a believer. The recycling of past ideas and policies that have been proven by events to have been mistaken, only serves to prevent the creation of new ideas and new policies that perhaps could help further the current welfare of our country and the world at large.

In the United States we are witness to the fact that the Democratic Party simply cannot accept the fact that it was defeated in the last presidential election. Mrs. Clinton continues to campaign and to blame her defeat upon everyone besides herself. Time and effort are being spent on issues that are not relevant to the welfare and future of the United States but rather, are purely political in nature and partisan in their presentation. 


Donald Trump was not elected by Vladimir Putin. He was elected by the disgruntled voters of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Florida.
Donald Trump was not elected by Vladimir Putin. He was elected by the disgruntled voters of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Recognizing this and internalizing these results will allow the Democrats to move forward and be a constructive force in the American political process. But the idea that Mrs. Clinton was entitled to win and should have won dies very hard. 

Events must somehow be wrong and reversible if they do not fit into the preconceived notions of the pundits and experts. After all, how can it be that all of the smart and beautiful people amongst us should been mistaken on such an important issue as electing a president of the United States of America? The unwillingness to let go creates enormous problems for a country that is already beset with major difficulties. The public interest would seem to demand that the election results of November 2016 already be laid to rest. But the losers just can't let go.

There was a rally recently in Barclay Center in Brooklyn – it is the home arena of the Brooklyn Nets professional basketball team – regarding the drafting of haredim into the IDF. The rally was sponsored by certain extremist groups in the camp of Orthodox Jewry both in Israel and the United States. It costs a lot of money to lease the Barclay Center for such an event, but money is no object when religious ideology is being promoted. 

The rally turned into an anti-Zionist forum and predictably became an anti-Israel gathering as well. The struggle of Zionism and the Jewish world was perhaps a valid and understandable one a century ago. It has no validity or reality in today's world. Opposing the Jewish state today is tantamount to opposing the survival and welfare of the Jewish people as a whole. 

The mainstream of haredi Judaism here in Israel participates in the state, in its government and its political and social life. It is slowly undergoing a change that will eventually bring it into the economic cycle of Israeli society. Accompanying this is a small, gradual trickle of haredi participation in registering and accepting service in the IDF. This is a very complicated and sensitive issue and both sides are aware of the difficulties involved. Nevertheless, the issue is being addressed in different ways and mainly under the radar of public media. 

Those who cannot relinquish the ideologies of a century ago and have made them religious principles, do themselves and the Jewish people as a whole a great disservice. They also have to learn to just let go.