The World is in Exile

The modern state of Israel came into existence to negate the Jewish exile from the Land of Israel, or the Galut in Hebrew.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz,

Arutz-7 Logo.JPG
Arutz-7 Logo.JPG
Arutz 7
The modern state of Israel came into existence to negate the Jewish exile from the Land of Israel, or the Galut in Hebrew. In particular, many modern political Zionists were motivated by Jewish helplessness in the face of violent manifestations of that unstable existence at caprice of non-Jewish leaders and peoples. In short, Zionism, in all of its varieties, aimed to return the Jews' honor and self-respect, through national self-determination.

Among the manifestations of exile that Zionism struggled against were pogroms, in which Jews were slaughtered in order for the Czar to distract his minions from their true problems, religious holy wars called Crusades, racially motivated and absolutist genocide - such as the Holocaust - as well as ongoing cycles of relentless humiliation and degradation in non-Jewish countries. Often, such degradation led some Jews to live in abnegation, denying their identity, or to attempt to avoid "provoking" the non-Jews by their existence, insofar as possible.

One form of such legalized degradation is the Muslim concept of the dhimmi status. A dhimmi is a protected member of the Jewish or Christian faith community under Islamic rule. Briefly, the dhimmi must pay a special tax - jizya - in order to earn the protection of the Muslim lords of the land in which he lives. Without such protection money, which must be paid in humility and sometimes accompanied by a humiliating ceremony, the life of the Christian or Jew is forfeit - like that of any other non-Muslim infidel.

Even after paying the jizya, however, the Jew or Christian in Muslim lands lived a life of varying degrees of degradation, depending on the religious fervor of the ruler. The houses of worship of the Ahl Al-Kitaab, or People of the Book, had to be non-descript relative to mosques and could not be repaired. Jews and Christians were required to wear distinctive clothing or patches. They were not allowed to strike a Muslim, but they could be struck. They were not allowed to ride horses, as Muslims were, but only donkeys. In certain lands, at certain times - Iran and Yemen, for example - Jewish girls were considered forfeit by their parents for a Muslim man to kidnap and marry, if she were not already married to a Jew. That is what led to many preemptive child marriages in Jewish communities in Iran and Yemen in past years.

Certainly, any Muslim court would consider the rights and convenience of a Muslim before the needs or desires of a Jewish or Christian complainant, no matter how basic the non-Muslim's requirements were.

It is said that it is easier to take the Jew out of the exile than it is to take the exile out of the Jew.

Thus, a dhimmi mentality seems to have taken hold of Israel after all these years of independence and self-determination. And, as in the years of Islamic imperial expansion and conquest, the Muslim tool for creating the dhimmi is intimidation and violence.

Two very recent manifestations of this exilic contagion, both of which took place in the Jewish capital city, will suffice for illustration.

In the first case, the Jerusalem police issued orders this month to some 30 Jewish families and students of a yeshiva and pre-military academy residing in the Old City's Muslim Quarter that they must not leave their homes without prior coordination during the evening hours. The reason for this is the large number of Muslim worshippers in the streets of the Old City at the conclusion of Ramadan prayers and daily fasting.

But why? Are Muslims warned to stay off the streets at the conclusion of Yom Kippur? Are Muslims or Jews warned to stay out of the Christian Quarter when it is Christmas? Are Muslims even warned to stay away from the Armenian Quarter of the Old City on April 24th, when the Turkish Muslim genocide of Armenian Christians is commemorated?

Why are Jews warned to stay indoors when Arab Muslims celebrate? Because it would be unsafe for them to be in the streets with so many Muslims passing by. The Muslims might feel like killing a Jew. Best not to incite them by flaunting Jewish existence. Just like a wise and good dhimmi should.

In the second case, a Jew was arrested by Jerusalem police on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, for blowing a shofar - the traditional ram's horn instrument - during prayers at a Jewish holy site in the Old City. The reason for the arrest was allegedly a complaint filed by an Arab Muslim woman that the noise was disturbing her children.

So, like good exilic Jews, rather than informing the benighted woman that she is living in a Jewish country and that she should quickly learn to display some "multicultural understanding" or leave Jerusalem for a place with no shofar blowing, the police interceded and shut down the Jewish prayers. Better not to "disturb" the Muslims with the radical thought that Jews have rights, too. Better to keep a low profile. Just like a wise and good dhimmi should.

Suffice it to say that no one in Israel ever arrested Muslim muezzin in order to stop their pre-dawn calls to prayer because they disturb the sleep of Jews and Christians in Jerusalem or elsewhere.

With all of that, however, the curse of the exile mentality and, in the pithy terminology coined by Bat Yeor, "dhimmitude", is no longer exclusively a Jewish phenomenon. Examples of the Western world's capitulation to intimidation by Muslim fanatics are sadly plentiful. Again, a recent example serves as a useful illustration.

A Berlin opera house, the Deutsche Oper, announced this month that it was canceling performances of Mozart's Idomeneo due to fears of attacks on the theater or staff that may be prompted by a scene in which King Idomeneo staggers on stage next to the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus, Poseidon and Muhammad. What in this scene could have prompted such fear among the opera's directors?

Might enraged Buddhists storm the theater, or perhaps riot throughout the "Little Asias" of American or European cities, over the depiction of the decapitated head of their religion's founder? Did the directors of the German opera house fear that religious leaders might incite followers to burn the place down in the wake of the display of the severed head of Jesus, who Christians believe to be God Himself? Did they fear for the lives of opera singers in every Christian- or Buddhist-majority state worldwide?

Well, no. Every single reader of this article already knows what the German opera directors feared and why. And that they thought it best to keep a low profile rather than "provoke" violent behavior.

Just like a wise and good dhimmi should.

More Arutz Sheva videos: