Fanning the Flame of Zionism

The answer to the problem of post-Zionism.

Dan Illouz,

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Dan Illouz.jpg
Arutz 7

The Imrei Emet (Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter), the third Rebbe of the Chassidic dynasty of Gur, was at once
One day, an emissary from the Zionist movement came to court the Rebbe's support.
friendly to and critical of the Zionist movement. He was known to have good relations with Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook. One day, an emissary from the Zionist movement came to court the Rebbe's support. The Imrei Emet told him:

I have no doubt that the Zionists are motivated by mitzvot, even if they consider themselves to be irreligious. Otherwise, why should they strive and fight for a poor, backward, malaria-ridden country like Palestine? The logical aim of secular Jews should be to go to places like the United States, or Canada or Argentina. By choosing the Land of Israel, they depart from secular ideology and cling to an irrational demand of their soul, the longing for the God-given land. And since they fulfill the obligation to the Land of Israel under harsh circumstances, this one obligation is counted as equal to the rest of the 613 commandments.

Still, he added:

There is nevertheless one shortcoming of secular Zionism. The present generation is unquestionably motivated by mitzvot and Jewish in its approach. But its estrangement from individual commandments will diminish its skill and strength in one vital way: the ability to transmit the same spirit to the next generation.

What the Imrei Emet had predicted decades ago has painfully become true in our generation. After a few generations of strong idealism, the Zionist movement has become weaker. There are still some Zionist individuals, but the public discourse in Israel has moved from a pro-Zionist discourse to a post-Zionist and anti-Zionist discourse. Zionism was unable to properly transmit itself to the next generation.

Here are a few examples:

During a necessary military operation in Gaza, hundreds of pro-Palestinian students gathered next to Hebrew University chanting slogans such as "With might and blood we'll redeem you, O Palestine" and "Hamas, go ahead and bomb Sderot". This happening in the university located in our nation's capital.

A recognized legal expert was hired by Tel Aviv University to teach international law. There were protests organized by post-Zionist and anti-Zionist elements at Tel Aviv University. What were they protesting? They were unhappy with the fact that someone who served as legal counsel to the IDF would now teach International Law. They accused her of war crimes.

A student of sociology in Hebrew University got a special award for a research paper she wrote. In the paper, she argued that the IDF was a racist army. What was her proof? The fact that Israeli soldiers did not rape Palestinian women.

All those events are examples of an unfortunate trend which has taken over the public and academic discourse in the State of Israel. In a recent study, the Im Tirtzu organization revealed that around eighty percent of the material used in political science faculties around Israel was either post-Zionist or anti-Zionist. Since we know that tomorrow's leadership is being trained in today's universities, this finding is incredibly worrying. It is even more unacceptable when it is clear that the majority of the general population is still very proud of its Zionist heritage. The majority of former IDF soldiers are very proud of their military service. The university's public discourse therefore does not even reflect the will of the majority.

So what caused this change in the public discourse? As the Imrei Emet explained, Zionism was unable to transmit itself on its own.

Still, with all the bad news, there is also some light at the end of the tunnel. The answer to the problem of post-Zionism is very simple. If Zionism is not able to transmit itself, and we want Zionism to overcome the challenges of post-Zionism and anti-Zionism, then we need to educate a new generation of Zionist idealists.

Every time a protest is organized against the holy Israeli soldiers defending their land and lives, we need to organize a protest in support of those very soldiers.

Every time a professor lectures from a perspective which is biased in favour of the post-Zionist or anti-Zionist point
Make sure that Zionist professors are not intimidated by the academic climate.
of view, we need to ensure he is held accountable and that the entire student body knows of the intentions of this educator. We also need to make sure that Zionist professors are not intimidated by the academic climate and feel free to lecture the way they wish.

It is only through a continued expression of our Zionist values that we will be able to combat and overcome the post-Zionist and anti-Zionist forces present in Israeli society. Through this expression we will be able to ensure the continued development of the State of Israel as a more just, more modern, more democratic and more Jewish state.

As the Imrei Emet said, Zionism cannot survive on its own eternally. We cannot count on its self-preservation. For it to survive, to keep the fire burning, we need to keep continuously feeding the flame of Zionism.





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