Shachaf Poran

They say there is a war

An orthodox Jew looking away from protestors while they root for the Israeli democracy in Ben Gurion Airport.
Credit: Voice of Liberty
An orthodox Jew looking away from protestors while they root for the Israeli democracy in Ben Gurion Airport. Credit: Voice of Liberty

In the past few days there were a few comments made by leading individuals of religious groups in Israel that caught my eye.

I feel the biggest one is MK Moshe Gafni saying “we’re in the midst of a religious war”.

This saying came out following rise in tension regarding several matters concerning the religious versus secular ways of life in the past few weeks: From the demand of the Orthodox parties to be completely absolved of the compulsory military service, to a provocative attempt to uphold a sex-segregated prayer in public in the heart of Tel-Aviv.

I would prefer to assume that MK Gafni thought this saying would be taken differently, however I might be able to help him out by explaining how his short sentence sounds to the usual bystander that actually lives in Israel, and is painfully aware of the currents and undercurrents that’s been pulling the country into the ongoing wave of resistance. It goes a little something like this:

For decades, we have been using our Judaism as a great tool of control.

Not only were we able to control the actions of our own people, but: using the lame liberal notion of pluralism we were able to control the lives of secular Jews and gain surplus rights, all the time claiming to be underprivileged.

Amongst our great achievements:

  • We prevent Israeli citizens from travelling freely within the country for approximately 20% of the time by stopping public transportation every Shabbat and on holy days.
  • We decide how Jews get married in Israel, and we decide whether they may divorce.
  • We cast away the responsibility of physically protecting Israel and its borders, claiming that our mere prayers are stronger than missiles.

The list goes on and on.

It is practically endless with our piling accomplishments over the years.

Every time anything in the country was not to our liking, we drew out our metaphoric sword of Judaism, and claimed our feelings are hurt by their actions, or quoting some sacred status quo that we breach.

It worked like magic.

We have recently became aware of some other groups who realized the power of Judaism, and we must not let them progress with this idea any farther.

So, we declare our weapon will now be used fully, not holding any of its power back.

We will prevail, at the cost of squashing the rights of anyone who’s not with us.


After this oh-so-important clarification, I would like to make a few more things understood.


The war MK Gafni has declared is the war that of the Orthodox wage against anything that resembles secularism.

They want to have full IP rights over Judaism as it is so useful.


I will not be participating in this war. I am a Jew.

I define my own Judaism to be one of peace, bringing hearts close together and love.

This Judaism gains strength from pluralism, democracy and razing the walls that separate us.

Third and final

I believe the saying I mentioned came from a position of fear and hate.

I would like to stress out that I do not fear and do not hate MK Gafni in return. Rather, I believe we will all benefit in our own ways from what’s happening in the country nowadays.

About the Author
I am a humble individual, here to share with Israel and with the world my own opinion about events we hear about daily in our small country.
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