Yom Yerushalayim: A day for Religious Zionism

During the 6-Day War the fate of the Jewish people changed forever.

For the first time since the state of Israel was declared Jewish people were able to walk up to the historic site where the Temple once stood.

The war ended with cries of miracles and the fulfilment of the prophecy of the coming of Mashiach.

Yom Yerushalayim is celebrated with those famous words announced by Mordechai Gur ‘Har HaBayit B’Yadeinu’ reverberating in our ear drums.

On Yom Yerushalayim we celebrate the long awaited time when our belief in Hashem and our love of the land finally joined together again and became one single unit.

When the holy city of Jerusalem, once again, rested in Jewish hands.

However, 49 years on we are plagued with more trouble and bloodshed in our holy city, perhaps since the end of the second intifada with calls for a third intifada, peace seems further off than ever before.

Yom Yerushalayim is a very special day in the calendar of a Religious Zionist.

At various points throughout the year different aspects of the Jewish persona are exemplified.

Sometimes it may be the ‘religious’ side that is being focused on and at other times it may be the ‘Zionist’ side.

Yom Yerushalayim, however, is almost unique, in the fact that the emphasis of the day is on both the Religious and Zionist aspects of being a Jew, hence becoming the ‘day of the Religious Zionist’.

Religious Zionism, different to being religious and Zionist, believes that supporting the State of Israel and it’s central role in Judaism is part and parcel of being Jewish.

It isn’t an added bonus to ‘everything else you do as a Jew’ but it is an intrinsic part of being Jewish.

I passionately believe that this ideology of Religion and Zionism existing as one complete entity is something worth shouting about.

From only a cursory look back at Jewish history it is clear that time and again people try to cloud their hatred for the Jewish people with backwards logic and made up reasoning.

Since 1948, and even more so after 1967, Israel has become a symbol of Judaism, along with the Magen David, the Tallit and many others.

The claim of Anti-Zionists is not one that aims to solve a dire situation that is occurring in Israel.

It is not a claim of people who sincerely care about the plight of the people living in Gaza and elsewhere or a call for two nations to live together in harmony.

If it was, these grave images that conjure up images from the Holocaust and before, and the disgusting and revolting chants that call for the destruction of a nation would not be seen and would not be heard. The rallies would be spent chanting political slogans and policy changes.

The claim of Anti-Zionists is one thing only and that is the destruction of the Jewish people. Being anti-establishment and disagreeing with Israeli government policy does not make you someone who hates Jews.

However, all ‘Anti-Zionists’ have done is found another manifestation of an age old problem. They have found another shroud to cover their hatred of Jews.

Anti-Zionism is without doubt Anti-Semitism.

Anti-Zionists have no better claim against the Jewish people than those who called for The Blood Libel.

They have no better claim against the Jewish people than those who say that Jews run the world and are big-nosed money grabbers.

Anti-Zionists hate Jews and use Israel to pull the wool over people’s eyes and its time we started calling them out for it.

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor wrote ‘when someone says they want to murder Jews, believe them.’ I think it is vitally important we recognise this fact and don’t shy away from calling Anti-Zionists exactly what they are, Jew haters.

However, hiding behind this curtain of Anti-Zionism does not give us cover to ignore our responsibility to drive for peace. We must use Yom Yerushalayim not as a day to further drive wedges between left wing and right wing, or Jew and non-Jew.

Rather we should use it as a day to promote peace in the holy land.

To call for an end to violence on all sides and to promote the dream of peace that was so real only 49 years ago.

We must find a way to bring Jews from all ends of the spectrum together and build bridges with our neighbours, within and beyond the borders of Israel, to ensure that Yerushalayim can once again be the epicenter of Judaism in the world and ‘a house of prayer for all peoples’.

About the Author
Joshua Pomerance is Executive Director of Mizrachi UK