The 13 principles of Zionism

After reading about the recently released survey conducted on behalf of Masa Israeli which found that 27% of the Jewish population of Israel would leave the country if they could, I began thinking about the very reasons why I chose to do the complete opposite. As an 18 year old teenager fresh out of high school in Australia, I decided to leave behind opportunities and comfort in order to make Aliyah, immigrate to Israel, and work towards defending the State and building the land.

This week I pondered over the very values that inspired me to come Israel, to build my home here and which continue to animate and inform my decision to remain and build my future here. Therefore, as a tribute to the Rambam – Maimonides, and his 13 Principles of Faith, I present below the 13 basic tenets that guide and inform my Zionism:

  1. I believe that the Jews are not a cultural, religious or ethnic group, but a nation and a civilization unto themselves.
  2. I believe that the Land of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and that there exists an everlasting historical, religious and spiritual connection between the Jews and entire land from the river and the sea – include the Temple Mount and Judea and Samaria.
  3. I believe that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
  4. I believe that Hebrew is the national language of the Jewish people.
  5. I believe that the State of Israel has a basic right to defend itself and its residents from any individual, group or state that arises or threatens to destroy it.
  6. I believe that the Jews living in the diaspora have a basic right to immigrate to Israel and acquire citizenship.
  7. I believe that the Israeli government has the moral responsibility to pursue justice and peace, and to guide the nation within the framework of Jewish and democratic ideals.
  8. I believe that the people of Israel are responsible for one another, and therefore it is incumbent upon us to create a model society based on helping the Other, mutual respect, mutual accountability and a shared sense of purpose and destiny.
  9. I believe that just as we were once strangers in the Land of Egypt, and all other countries on the face of the Earth, we have the responsibility to behave with tolerance and respect to every man, woman and child that lives within our borders.
  10. I believe that the concept of “Chosen People” is not a privilege, but rather a duty: a mandate to set a personal example before the eyes of the world and to be a “light unto the nations” — whether through coming to the aid of other countries and peoples in need, initiating the development of technologies that will assist mankind, or by living up to the moral yardstick of Jewish ethics that we set for ourselves.
  11. I believe that that a full and complete Jewish life can only be lived in the Land of Israel — both from a religious and national perspective, and that Zion is the natural and proper location to exercise Jewish sovereignty.
  12. I believe that the Jewish people will take responsibility for themselves, defend themselves and successfully keep themselves alive well into the future only if they are autonomous and independent and free to choose their own fate. Moreover, only through sovereignty will the Jews rise beyond their status as the subjects of history and finally become the objects of history.
  13. I believe that miraculous history of the Jews – from destruction to rebirth, from slavery to freedom, from the killing fields of Babi Yar and the gas chambers of Auschwitz to Jerusalem rebuilt within a strong, proud and unwavering Jewish state – is testimony to the strong hand and outstretched arm of the Rock of Israel.

This post originally appeared in Hebrew on Facebook.

About the Author
Searching for some sanity in the midst of chaos, Avi Lewis is a Liberal Arts/Computer Science student a the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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