The public Jewish identity

From the BESA Center publication:
It is not alleged “religionization” that threatens Israeli identity and deepens the cleavages in Israeli society but the absence of a mutually accepted contemporary Jewish common ground.
The millenarian exilic experience has deprived the Jewish People of the cultural wholeness underpinning the national existence, while the religious component that maintained it during these exacting times has failed to replace the intricate web of sociopolitical and intercommunal interrelationships that had formed the foundations of Jewish peoplehood. The reappearance of the Jewish People in the late 19th century as a national actor and the reestablishment of statehood in its ancestral homeland half a century later seemed to have redressed this anomaly. Yet as shown by the intensity of the ongoing debate about the desired nature of Israel’s Jewish identity, this issue remains a major challenge for both Israelis and Diaspora Jews.
In the BESA statement above, something is true, and something is not. That is true that “the millenarian exilic experience has deprived the Jewish People of the cultural wholeness underpinning the national existence” and that is not true that “the religious component that maintained it during these exacting times has failed to replace the intricate web of sociopolitical and intercommunal interrelationships that had formed the foundations of Jewish peoplehood.”
Let’s address this issue.
There are two Jewish identities. One of them, let’s call it Jewish ritual identity, influences only the life of the Jews themselves. The other one, let’s call it Jewish public identity, influences the life of both the Jews and the gentiles and therefore is of great Gentiles’ interest.
The Jewish ritual identity is defined by the Jewish religion of Judaism but in its application only to the Jewish lives when there are no interactions with the Gentiles – in the synagogue, at the Jewish home, in the Jewish school, with the rabbi. This Jewish identity is being practiced within the strictly Jewish realm and does not influence the public life of both the Jews and the Gentiles.
The Jewish public identity is defined by the same Judaism but in its application to the Jewish lives in the public arena where the Jews act together with the Gentiles in all national institutions. The Jewish public identity is of the extensive public interest since it defines what is GOOD in public life and should be supported, and what is EVIL/BAD in public life and should be suppressed. Since what are GOOD and BAD is frequently defined differently by Jews and Gentiles, the Jewish public identity is the source of both the Gentiles’ appreciation (for those who appreciate the Jewish influence into the shaping of the public life),


and the Gentiles’ detestation/anti-Semitism (for those who hate this influence and prefer constancy).

Although the Jews are split religiously, politically and socially in many rival camps, two identity traits are characteristic for all rival traits from the Left to the Right, from the strictly religious to the proclaimed atheists. The traits are engrained in the in-Bible-rooted belief that God (whatever it may mean) created everybody “in His image and likeness” with the two major traits of the image being “God the Unique Creator” and “God the Unique Individual.”
Those two traits are as follows.
“God the Unique Creator” in the Jewish identity
The Jewish nation is a creator. This nation creates and test everything to find out what is GOOD and should be supported and what is BAD and should be suppressed – it has been done while being together in one land and while in the exile. Below are just two examples to illuminate this thought.
Rothschild family created the foundation of the capitalistic public realm
The Rothschild family is a wealthy Jewish family descending from Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a court factor to the German Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel in the Free City of Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire, who established his banking business in the 1760s. Unlike most previous court factors, Rothschild managed to bequeath his wealth and established an international banking family through his five sons, who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples. The family was elevated to noble rank in the Holy Roman Empire and the United Kingdom.
Karl Marx created the foundation of the socialistic public realm
Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, and the three-volume Das Kapital. His political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history and his name has been used as an adjective, a noun and a school of social theory.
Although the capitalistic and socialistic public realms are still fighting each other, it looks like the first one is winning.
“God the Unique Individual” in the Jewish identity
A unique individual Abraham, not his tribe, had discovered One God; a unique individual Moses, not the tribe, had searched and found the God’s moral guidance (the Torah); a unique individual David, not the tribe, had established a unifying state for the disunited tribe; a unique individual Herzl, not the tribe, had revitalized the idea of the unifying Jewish state … – the great Jewish individuals – not the “masses” – are guiding the creation of a better world for everybody. The great individuals are easily recognizable and therefore are easy targets for blaming for somebody’s misfortunes.
The two Jewish traits described in the above are the religious components which were making in exile and are making the Jewish nation now a powerful spiritual force in the public arena everywhere.
And that is why the Jewish immigrants were calling the USA the “Goldene Medina” since they realized the USA were guided by the same Torah/Bible moral principles.
For the people who are trying to explain everything by the Torah, it is well might be that God selected the Jews to be the Chosen because they had the genetics that were enabling them to be closest to “His image and likeness.”

About the Author
Vladimir Minkov graduated from the Naval Engineering Academy in the former Soviet Union, served in the Soviet Navy and there received his Ph.D. At the end of 1970s he immigrated to America where democracy and the Judeo-Christian spirituality of this country made it possible for him to actively defend both his scientific and spiritual ideas. In the USA he has found the place for his scientific public work in the spiritual realm of One God and Torah.