Zionism and Judaism: Are they interdependent? – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on June 5, 2021

Although some people such as those in the Reform and Reconstruction movements, Progressives, and some left-wing Israelis claim to support Judaism and Zionism, in fact, they do not. For example, on May 15, 2021, a large group of students, mostly from Reform and Reconstructionist colleges, published a letter condemning Israel for apartheid and for violating human rights in its war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. This explains why some Jews in America have turned their backs on Zionism, Israel and Judaism.

Zionism is connected to Judaism because it provides a text, the Jewish Bible, or Tanach (The Five Books of Moses, Prophets, and other writings), as well as libraries of theological and philosophical writing that define and mandate the Land of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Judaism needs Zionism because it enabled Jews to return and to establish a state; this allows Jews to have a national identity and engage in fulfilling mitzvot (commandments) that can only be done in Eretz Yisrael. This is the basis for creating the Third Jewish Commonwealth/Civilization.

Although they need each other to become fulfilled, Zionism and Judaism can and do exist separately and independently in the Diaspora. One can practice Judaism without being a Zionist, just as one can be secular or a non-Jewish Zionist.

Without Judaism, however, Zionism is limited to its existence as a state; without Zionism, Judaism is a religion like many others in nation-states throughout the world. Although valid and important identity markers, they miss two essential ingredients: revelation and redemption. This is what defines the difference between galut (exile) and geulah (salvation) the parameters of Jewish historical consciousness.

Although the concept of God is central to Judaism, the interaction with human input is essential. This dynamic is in the everyday life of a Jew: prayer, Shabbat, celebrating the New Moon and holidays, especially Shavuot, which has no specific date and is totally dependent on human calculation.

Judaism and Zionism are not only rooted in commitment and continuity, they are also expressions of human creativity.

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Concerned with human rights and injustices to Palestinians, they support anti-Israeli and antisemitic organizations such as the Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, Human Rights Watch, and BTselem, oblivious to the dangers of a Palestinian state and Palestinianism that call for Israels destruction.

The vital link between Judaism and Zionism, therefore, represents the essence of the Jewish people. That is what is at stake.

The author is a PhD historian and journalist in Israel.

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Zionism and Judaism: Are they interdependent? - The Jerusalem Post

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