A great deal of money is contributed each year to many worthwhile causes in Israel. People donate money to hospitals, and to the IDF, and to yeshivot, and to universities, and to soup kitchens, and to build new synagogues and nursery schools all over the country. This is true in in the religious Zionist world as well. Many wonderful and generous Zionists all over the world, with blue-and-white hearts, donate money to 'settlements', and Hesder yeshivot, and building projects in East Jerusalem, and to all kinds of new political platforms and candidates on the Right, and to Zionist think tanks, and the like. All of this is truly inspiring, and may a blessing from Heaven enrich the lives of all of these supporters of Israel.
We need rightist and religious-Zionist novels, and rightist and religious-Zionist movies, and rightist and religious-Zionist TV channels, and more right oriented and religious-Zionist news sites like Arutz 7.
These philanthropists are true lovers of Israel, but many of them share a common complaint – “Israel is controlled by the Left.” They find this very frustrating. After all, the last three decades have seen many rightest governments in Israel, but the situation remains the same. The “Lefties” control the country. They don’t control the government, but they control the country. How can this be?
Actually, the answer is quite simple. The Left controls the CULTURE in Israel. They control the media and the Arts. The culture of a country determines how a country thinks. For example, if democracy is championed as the epitome of enlightened culture, and if all of its writers and artists and media wizards herald the god of democracy, then the people of that country will be proud democrats. Or, in the case of Israel, if the writers and artists and media wizards promote the values of Western society, then Israel will have a national spirit dominated by Western ideology and values. Thus, instead of longing to be a Jewish and Zionist State, the country will long to be a democratic State which must respect the rights of all peoples, even if it means surrendering chunks of the country to enemies, and turning its back on Zionist aspirations and Torah values, the true foundations of the Nation of Israel.
If the culture of the State of Israel is to change from a Leftist orientation to a Rightest and religious-Zionist one, then a change must take place with its writers and artists and media people, for it is they who determine the culture. The great Sage of our time, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, understood this very clearly. He understood that for the Jewish People to return to its healthy Jewish and Zionist culture, the writers of the Nation, and its literature, must undergo a purification and spiritual renaissance. He writes:
“Out of the profane, holiness will also come forth, and out of the wanton freedom, the beloved yoke of Torah will blossom. Golden chains will be woven and rise out of the secular poetry, and a brilliant light of t’shuva will shine forth from secular literature. This will be the supreme wonder of the vision of Redemption. Let the bud sprout, let the flower blossom, let the fruit ripen, and the whole world will know that the spirit of G-d is speaking within the Nation of Israel, in its every expression. All of this will climax in a t’shuva which will bring healing and redemption to the world (Lights of T’shuva, 17:3.)
Rabbi Kook informs us that the great change which we all hope to see in Israel will not come about through politics, and not even through the proliferation of yeshivot. The change will come about through literature, through poetry and Art, for these are what shape the spirit and culture of the nation.
In other words, we need rightist and religious-Zionist novels, and rightist and religious-Zionist movies, and rightist and religious-Zionist TV channels, and more right oriented and religious-Zionist news sites like Arutz 7. We need rightist and religious-Zionist songs, and rightist and religious-Zionist stage plays, and rightist and religious-Zionist textbooks and poems. This is how to create a rightist and religious-Zionist culture.
Unfortunately, of all the money that gets donated to hospitals, and schools, and yeshivot, and synagogues, to rightest political parties and candidates, and think tanks for radical change, almost no money at all goes to create a religious-Zionist culture by supporting rightest and religious-Zionist novelists, and artists, and musicians, and poets, and movie makers, and media pros. Until this occurs, Israel will remain Leftist, with a leftist culture and media. So, to all of the wonderful benefactors of Israel, may G-d bless you for all of your truly outstanding gifts, but if it bothers you that Israel is too Leftist, then I have only one thing to say, “Brother, can you spare a rightist movie maker a dime?”
Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon.Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."